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Kan. lawmaker warns of ‘mass exodus’ of personnel amid calls for EMS director to resign

Sedgwick County EMS Director/Medical Director Dr. John Gallagher also came under scrutiny after 7 EMS providers were cited last month

The case of the seven Kansas EMS providers facing discipline after withholding treatment for a self-inflicted gunshot to the head is as troubling as it is frustrating. It is one of those cases that proves conclusively that, sometimes, EMS providers simply cannot win. Read more as EMS Attorney David Givot, Esq., analyzes the paramedics’ actions in this case, “A no-win situation: When medical director orders violate policy.”

By Laura French

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. — A Kansas EMS director and medical director is being called on to resign amid a staffing shortage and potential probe by state licensing officials.

Sedgwick County EMS Director/Medical Director Dr. John Gallagher is at the center of what state Rep. Blake Carpenter called a “mass exodus” of EMS providers, according to KAKE. Carpenter recently sent a letter to Sedgwick County commissioners raising some of the concerns brought to him by Sedgwick County EMS members, including several officers, who said they would also leave if things did not change.

Former Sedgwick County Paramedic Jake Masterson, who now works in Texas, told KAKE he left the agency after 10 years due to a lack of leadership. He also said that staffing shortages are driving many to leave, causing the situation to “snowball” as staffing levels continually lower. Currently, there are 20 open, unfilled positions at the department.

Gallagher also came under scrutiny last month after three Sedgwick County EMS providers and four Wichita Fire Department members were cited by the Kansas Board of EMS in relation to a 2019 suicide call. The EMS providers, under Gallagher’s direction, stopped treating a man who had shot himself in the head and did not transport him to the hospital. Instead, the man was taken to hospice care more than three hours after EMS crews arrived, where he died about 10 1/2 hours after the shooting. Gallagher was not disciplined in the case but the Kansas Board of EMS called for him to be investigated by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which is in charge of licensing physicians in the state.