Former paramedic: 'I have fallen asleep at a stoplight'

The anonymous paramedic said he quit because he feared he may hurt someone due to his fatigue from being overworked

By EMS1 Staff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former paramedic said he quit his job because he fell asleep behind the wheel of an ambulance several times due to being overworked.

WCNC reported that the former paramedic, who chose to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation, said he thinks EMS providers work too many hours to be fully alert while driving an ambulance.

“There were times that I have fallen asleep at a stoplight,” the paramedic said. "I've run calls that I don't remember, there was one instance where I fell asleep for a moment with a patient in my care.”

Director of Chester County EMS Britton Lineberger said they prefer their EMS providers to work no more than 48 hours per shift, and that they are encouraged to sleep during that time.

“We don't regulate when they get naps or when they don't get naps, we give them as much downtime as possible,” Lineberger said.

State officials said a study is in the works that could limit the amount of time EMS providers can spend behind the wheel.

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