Tenn. paramedic accused of purposely hurting patient, bragging on Facebook

Gordon Stokes is accused of intentionally drilling into an overdose patient’s bone without anesthesia and then calling it a “teachable moment”

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A paramedic’s license was revoked after allegations that he purposely hurt a patient and then bragged about it on Facebook.

The Tennessean reported that the Tennessee Board of Emergency Medical Services revoked Gordon Stokes’ license last month after allegations were brought forward that he intentionally drilled into an opioid overdose patient’s bone in 2016 without anesthesia.

Stokes, a 14-year veteran paramedic, also allegedly instructed an AEMT to coat a plastic breathing tube for the patient’s nose with hand sanitizer instead of lubricant.

The AEMT inserted the tube into the patient’s nose, only for Stokes to remove it and tell the AEMT that it was a “teachable moment on how to deal with belligerent patients,” according to the records.


“If you should ever find yourself drunk in my ambulance, do not become belligerent,” Stokes allegedly wrote on Facebook during or after? the incident. “I have a drill and I ain’t scared for a second to use it.”

Stokes said he plans to sue the state for his license to be reinstated, calling the case a “witch hunt.”

He said state officials inflated the case by twisting his intentions, and claimed he was trying to inject drugs into the bone marrow of the patient and clear his airway.  He also said he was“backstabbed” by a colleague who reported him.

“It’s ridiculous. This was all a little witch hunt they did off a stupid Facebook post," Stokes said. "I was trying to teach them something. I don’t know if they weren’t interested in learning or trying to save their own skin, but needless to say the whole thing came back and bit me in the a--.”

The state also said that Stokes posted a photo of the patient during the incident, and someone commented and said the patient was an obvious drug user.

“Naaa I actually like the drill and ‘forgot’ the lidocaine bolus for this (expletive). Lubed his (nasopharyngeal airway) with alcohol hand sanitizer too. :-),” Stokes allegedly responded.

Stokes admitted to the post and said he was using “ridiculous bravado.”

State records added that Stokes should have also rushed the patient to the hospital instead of conducting a training drill with two less-experienced AEMTs.

Stokes defended his actions, saying he guided the hands of the AEMTs through what he said was a necessary injection of naloxone through the “intraosseous line.”

“At this point, this guy was not going to die," Stokes said. "So I thought it was a great training opportunity for these guys."

The state disagreed and said the procedure was not appropriate because AEMTs are not permitted to make such injections, which are only justified if a patient is in a much deeper state of unconsciousness.

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