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‘How does this happen?’ Wolfberg and Wirth weigh in on EMT murder charges

EMS providers and leaders have a “duty to act” to ensure patients are treated with dignity and compassion

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In the first episode of the 10th year in EMS, Cohost Chris Cebollero is joined by the legal powerhouse of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth’s EMS Attorneys Doug Wolfberg, Esq.; and Steve Wirth, Esq. to discuss the case everyone is talking about.

An Illinois prosecutor has filed virtually unprecedented first-degree murder charges against two EMS providers over the death of a patient in their care. Wolfberg and Wirth broke down the points of the case and the lessons for EMS in an EMS1 article, “Malpractice or murder: When do EMS providers cross the line from negligence to a crime?”

In this episode, Wolfberg and Wirth share their first impressions of the case and the body camera footage of the incident.

Wolfberg noted what hit him was the “callous, cold, very detached, aggressive demeanor of the providers.” “You get into EMS because you care for people – how do you get to the point to what we saw in the video – that’s really where I keep coming back to,” Wolfberg said.

Wirth added, “it wasn’t until I looked at the video that I felt outraged – outraged is the word that comes to my mind – how could a human being deal with another human being in this fashion – basically treat another human being as an inanimate object.” He asked, “how does this happen … because we can’t allow this to happen; we can’t.”

Are first-degree murder charges warranted in this case? See how EMS1 listeners are weighing in.

The Inside EMS podcast is a regular expert discussion of hot topics, clinical issues, operational and leadership lessons for EMTs, paramedics and chiefs