Colo. union: EMS providers object to new sedative while McClain trials go unresolved

Aurora Local 1290 union president: "If they’re going to give us a sedative, we need some sort of protections for our membership for legal aspects"


By Leila Merrill

DENVER — The union president for Aurora, Colo. firefighters and paramedics says his members do not want to administer droperidol, the Denver Channel reported.

Dr. Eric Hill, medical director for the Aurora Medical Center, recommended the sedative three years after Elijah McClain’s death, and said earlier this month that the drug would soon be added to paramedics’ toolkits. Hill said droperidol is safe when used in the appropriate context.

The drug carries a 2001 black box warning. Some patients suffered cardiac issues, but those cases mostly stemmed from instances in which patients were given higher doses than were commonly given, said Dr. Chris Colwell, chief of medicine at San Francisco General Hospital.

Aurora Fire Rescue said other area departments carry droperidol and that adding it to the kits would align the department with standards of care across the country. He called the drug “one of the best options … to care for some of our patients.”

But Travis Pulliam, president of Aurora Fire Fighters Local 1290, said he and the union members are concerned about the new drug being put into use while two paramedics still face manslaughter charges in McClain’s death. He also said the union was not consulted on the changes.

“It’s almost like déjà vu now," Pulliam said. "They’re rolling out a new sedative that they’re saying is safe. It’s safe to give, and this will be good for the public and for firefighters. And we still haven’t got through the first trial."

He continued: "Our stance, too, is if they’re going to give us a sedative, we need some sort of protections for our membership for legal aspects.”

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