Ripping off the public’s trust
How crooked medics can affect our ability to do our jobs
By Art Hsieh
If you follow this column with regularity, you know I get kinda anxious when stories like this one crop up. It’s a small, insignificant blip in the 24 hour news cycle, even for EMS folks.
There’s probably more to this, though. The suspect is a paramedic, which provides him a unique way to evaluate which residences to strike, but what drove him to do so? Are there any underlying issues that made burglary a side job?
Did the behavior start after he entered the career, or was he already performing criminal activity prior to becoming an EMS provider? Based on the scant details in the article, it sounds like he had been certified some time ago, perhaps when the state was not performing background checks. I’d imagine there would have been efforts to retroactively conduct checks on existing providers at the time of implementation. However, if he had not been arrested it would not have made a difference.
I wonder if there were any odd behaviors that coworkers might have noticed. I know we’re a profession of odd ducks, but odder ones do appear. Could there have been signs of criminal behavior that went unnoticed?
Bottom line: there is probably some doubt cast upon EMS providers in the region where these burglaries occurred. In smaller communities, news of this type of behavior can get around quickly. It’s not like people aren’t going to call 911 when they need it, but it might mean a little more scrutiny by the community when contract renewals or requests for funding come up. A good public relations campaign will be needed to keep fallout from the story in check.