Attack on 2 Hawaii EMS providers prompts safety discussion

Officials are considering the use of body cameras and ballistic vests after the most recent attack on an EMT and paramedic


By Laura French

HONOLULU — Officials are seeking solutions to keep EMS providers safe after an attack on an EMT and a paramedic in an ambulance last week.

Police said a 46-year-old woman bit an EMT and punched a paramedic in the face while being transported to the hospital after being found unresponsive, HawaiiNewsNow reported.

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services is considering the use of body cameras and ballistic vests after an attack on two EMS providers last week. (Photo/Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Facebook)
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services is considering the use of body cameras and ballistic vests after an attack on two EMS providers last week. (Photo/Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Facebook)

The EMT was left bleeding from the bite wound, and the paramedic, who tried to intervene in the assault, was left with a busted lip, police said.

“It’s concerning. We need to protect our people,” Honolulu Emergency Services Acting Chief Christopher Sloman said.

There were eight cases of attacks on EMS providers in the city last year requiring medical treatment or leading to worker’s compensation claims, but most attacks are not reported, according to HawaiiNewsNow.

The agency is considering body cameras and ballistic vests as possible solutions to help improve the safety of its personnel.

“We have to make sure whatever we do is compliant with privacy laws,” Sloman said, referring to the possible implementation of body cameras. “And then there’s the other side of it – where people might not be as forthcoming with a healthcare provider if they’re on camera.”

The two EMS providers who were attacked last week are recovering from their injuries, and the ambulance involved was reportedly taken out of service for seven hours following the incident.

The suspect, Bobbi Lonjell Ballhorn, was arrested and charged with two counts of second degree assault and two counts of criminal contempt, according to Honolulu Police Department records.

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