2 Denver paramedics honored for helping rescue human trafficking victim

On their first shift together, Paramedic Laura Gehm and Paramedic Field Training Officer Julia Drahn noticed disconcerting signs

By Leila Merrill

DENVER — Paramedic Laura Gehm and Paramedic Field Training Officer Julia Drahn were honored Tuesday for helping rescue a victim of human trafficking during a routine medical call, the Denver Channel reported.

They received the Distinguished Service Cross at the Denver Health Foundation’s 4th Annual Paramedics Awards Celebration to Honor Community Heroes.

On their first and only shift together, Drahn and Gehm got a typical call to an apartment they had been to previously. A woman there complained of abdominal pain.

“When I was trying to talk to her and figure out the story, just nothing seemed to make sense,” Gehm said. “And the answers that she was giving us were very one-worded.”

The two spotted several red flags. A man was answering questions for the patient. He did not want her to go with them to a hospital. The patient’s answer to their question about what drugs she was taking was that the man had been giving her medication daily.

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“The dynamic between her and the man on scene really kind of gave me – the hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” added Drahn.

The two have been trained to notice signs of human trafficking.

“I think it’s awesome that this is being recognized and that she has gotten the care she deserves,” Gehm said. 

Drahn has been a paramedic for 12 years, and Gehm joined Denver Health in September, they said.

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