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Home > Topics > EMS Management

Ky. medic accused of incorrect death call to face review board

The EMS director was off-duty when he responded to the call; he cancelled responders who were en-route, but officials later noticed the woman was breathing

The Interior Journal

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A complaint against a Lincoln County paramedic who allegedly incorrectly reported that an unresponsive woman was dead has been referred for further action by a preliminary review board.

The board could have dismissed the case, suspended Lincoln paramedic Troy Cain’s license, or revoked his license, but instead opted to "refer the case to legal counsel for further action,” said Kristi Middleton, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS).

Cain is accused of failing to properly determine whether 46-year-old Crystal Tygart was dead before canceling other EMS responders who were en route to Tygart’s home on April 17.

Read full storyIncorrect-Death-Call Case Against Lincoln Paramedic Moves Forward

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Tammy L Field Tammy L Field Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:57:55 PM Surely counselling and extra training would be a far more efficient option. Why go the legal route? I realise that we're held to higher standards than Joe Public but we're also human. We're fallible and we make mistakes - but we need the chance to learn from those mistakes - not be punished for them.
Annie Lincoln Annie Lincoln Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:18:57 PM It was a Para medic told me I had 'a bit of cramp' and deserted me in the hospital car park and told me to go book myself in. Ron found me crying in a corner and everything is a blur after that. He would have created merry hell but was too busy praying I wouldn't die!!
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:25:11 PM It depends on what the Board finds about the "mistake." If it was a knowledge gap, then perhaps re-training is in order. If it was culpable or willful negligence (such as, "too lazy to attach a monitor") then that should be punished.
Tammy L Field Tammy L Field Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:28:42 PM Skip Kirkwood Agreed. It would be best to know the background first. It used to worry me years ago when I was in nursing school that such a culture of blame and punishment existed - it doesn't encourage people to own up to mistakes. Maybe we should consider something like the CHIRP reporting that pilots have - confidential reporting of human factor incidents - it gives pilots the opportunities to share their mistakes and/or near misses with others so that everyone can learn. it would obviously have to be adapted somewhat to cover medical errors and near misses and there will always be cases that demand punitive action but for genuine errors, it may be a way forward.
Archangel Winters Archangel Winters Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:33:46 PM "Lowe noted that Cain did not follow the protocols of KBEMS or West Lincoln EMS for determining death, which require use of equipment such as a cardiac monitor. Lowe added that when Cain cancelled the approaching EMS units the first time, those units were “only minutes away” from the scene." So yeah, either too lazy to attach a monitor or didn't have one on him and decided to cancel an incoming unit that may have had one. Either way, this was negligence on his part and really does deserve a higher level of punishment.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:34:57 PM Tammy L Field - that's what I meant by what the Board "finds" - as the facts. I'm all about CHIRP and Just Culture, but neither are relevant when someone starts out with bad intent and their actions demonstrate that. In law school they taught me about "callous indifference to human suffering" when looking at enhancement or mitigation. Mistakes of the head and mistakes of the hands can be fixed with training. Mistakes of the heart (dishonesty, crass indifference to the patient, etc.) go to the character of the person and can't be fixed by training - or probably by anything short of divine intervention.
Archangel Winters Archangel Winters Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:35:45 PM “(Cain) didn’t have a truck and he didn’t have a monitor,” Floro said. “She had no pulse and she had extremely faint breath sounds and she was over in between a bed and a wall. … I couldn’t tell she was alive until we pulled her out from the bed and I could see her and I heard breath sounds. “(Cain) didn’t touch her, which he shouldn’t have done, but you know — I don’t know.” Even further damning.
Missy Stokes Missy Stokes Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:43:16 PM How & Why is he on the phone with med Command b4 a unit even arrives ??
Drew Croy Drew Croy Wednesday, August 13, 2014 4:12:46 PM No duty to act but acted anyway. Cancelled the assigned crew who had the equipment to "Double Check". He is guilty of negligence at the very least. The fault needs to be assigned correctly though. I don't know about their area but in my area you can't "Un-Ring" a bell. If 911 is called and a crew is assigned they do not cancel unless the local authority cancels it. If nothing else, they show up and confer with on site medical to make a determination. Once activated the EMS crew must respond.
Roger Godbehere Roger Godbehere Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:42:48 PM if she had faint breath sounds, she had a pulse, it may have been weak and non-detectable, but she had one
David Newton David Newton Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:21:54 PM Skip Kirkwood I'm with Skip.
Pamela Erford Pamela Erford Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:37:15 PM Absolutely correct! The crew should have still responded.
John Overton Lewis III John Overton Lewis III Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:38:14 PM I don't know if taking his lively hood is the answer. Definitely some reeducation and a review on who and how emergency calls can be cancelled is in order. If the woman didn't die educate and punish. If she died a possible revocation may be due. But that's a decision that should be left up to the medical director, not a lawyer.
Jonathan NonYa Jonathan NonYa Thursday, August 14, 2014 2:22:20 AM One of the worst things humans do or rather don't do is recognized your limitations; since there were no signs of obvious death (decapitation, lividity, overwhelming blood loss) why not step back let the responding crew do their job and above all else cover your backside. Just my opinion; not sure he should warrant legal recourse but he needs some more or better edumacation.
Jonathan NonYa Jonathan NonYa Thursday, August 14, 2014 2:25:31 AM Oh how can a medic not called to a scene cancelled the call seems they need to look at how their 911 calls are handled also and make some changes.
William Patrick Denham William Patrick Denham Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:22:07 AM What it doenst tell u was he was director of the area and responded as such. The service he canceled was another service responding as aid.
Melinda Teaster Williams Melinda Teaster Williams Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:20:35 AM See unless this Medic was on a QRV that carried a Monitor to confirm DOA, Why did the Responding Crew Cancel? I beleive that more than 1 person should be questioned here, and the Director of the service need to reevaluate his operations/protocals
Melinda Teaster Williams Melinda Teaster Williams Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:25:02 AM Counselling is not the answer here, however 3 not 1 should be in trouble if not the service its self for piss poor Operations in this situation. It is time for Paramedic to be held at a higher Standard. The want to become a Paramedic never should trump the Ability to be able to be one.
Melinda Teaster Williams Melinda Teaster Williams Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:26:59 AM plus a Monitor should always be place on a PT to confirm DOA, a 4 lead tracing show 3 Rhythms. This would have taken the MISTAKE out of the equation

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