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Ohio FF-EMT accused of failing to report procedure violation loses appeal

Allen-Clay Joint Fire District Battalion Chief Mark Stahl responded to a call where an unqualified EMT reportedly performed an IO

By Laura French

OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio — An Ohio court has upheld a misconduct count against a firefighter-EMT whom fire officials found guilty of failing to report a procedure violation.

Allen-Clay Joint Fire District Battalion Chief Mark Stahl responded to a medical call in 2018 where a coworker with EMT-basic certification reportedly performed an intraosseous infusion (IO) on a patient in cardiac arrest, according to the Port Clinton News Herald. Stahl, who has an EMT-intermediate certification, and a paramedic at the scene were the only two out of the eight first responders on the call who were qualified to perform the procedure, officials said.

Following the incident, the paramedic prepared a patient care report and listed herself as the person who performed the IO, officials say. A fire captain noticed this and reported it to his supervisor.

The Allen-Clay Joint Fire District Board of Trustees found Stahl, the other EMT and the paramedic guilty of misconduct in the incident, with trustees saying Stahl, as a battalion chief, should have been aware of who was performing the medical procedure and that he should have reported the violation as soon as he knew about it. However, he was found not guilty of directly ordering the unqualified EMT to perform the IO. Stahl argued that he might have assumed that the paramedic performed the IO because he was focused on starting an IV amidst the “chaotic” scene, according to the Port Clinton Herald News.

Stahl appealed the case in Ohio’s Sixth District Court of Appeals, where the judgement was upheld Friday.

According to the Sandusky Register, Stahl was given a 60-day unpaid suspension with a one-year probation period and ordered to complete a leadership course for the count he was found guilty of.

Although the IO administration was successful, the patient who was treated during the incident later died. Officials said there is no suggestion the death was attributable to first responders’ actions.