Emergency Medical Response professionals are set apart from any other healthcare professional because they not only make extremely difficult medical decisions, but they administer care to some of the most at-risk patients and in the most high-stress situations. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics must go through a lot of training, hands-on experience, education, and build mental toughness to get a license. EMTs put themselves through physical and mental challenges each and every day because other people’s lives are on the line. EMTs must treat people when they are in the worst conditions of their lives and unfortunately, they can always be at risk for losing their license because of complaints and allegations.
Becoming an Emergency Medical Responder
EMTs and first responders have a unique journey toward becoming professionals in the field. There is a complex licensing system that is different from other healthcare professions. There are different types of certifications such as EMT-basic, EMT-intermediate, EMT-Paramedic, Licensed Paramedic, and basic Emergency Care Attendant. Each type has different requirements set by the Department of Public Health, but the training is usually intense both physical and mentally. No matter the certification level, there are also strict standards that these license holders must adhere to including: refraining from drugs and alcohol while on duty, following all protocols while on duty, refraining from unethical or illegal activity, meeting a minimum duty of care for patients, and properly documenting all treatments and administration of medication to patients. When EMTs make mistakes, even with the best intentions, they could face disciplinary action as severe as permanent license revocation.
Within the Department of Public Health, an agency in Connecticut, there is the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS). This Public Health Code is a code of laws in Connecticut that specifically pertain to the OEMS and professionals that work in emergency medical care. Some of the sections that pertain to the OEMS include:
The Office of Emergency Medical Services
Statewide Trauma System
Equipment Grants for EMS
Need for EMS
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders
OEMS Personnel Licensing Services
Mandatory Reporting for Suspected Child & Elder Abuse
Mandatory Reporting Regarding the Inability of Healthcare Professionals to Practice With Reasonable Skill and Safety
The OEMS has the authority to conduct investigations of EMTs and paramedics and the investigation could include both on-duty and off-duty activities. The Office receives complaints from the public and then investigates the allegations made in the complaint. There are different types of allegations that could lead to the Office to investigate. These allegations could include:
Repeated Negligence of Patient Care
Fraud, Dishonesty, and Corrupt Acts that are Substantially Related to Emergency Response Duties and Qualifications
Convictions of Crimes that are Substantially Related to Emergency Response Duties and Qualifications
Violating Regulations that Pertain to Prehospital Care
Violating State or Federal Statutes or Regulations that Pertain to Narcotics and Controlled Substances
Treating Patients While Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Impairment or Irrational Behavior that Inhibits the Ability to Perform Duties.
Failing to Adhere to Patient Confidentiality
It is important to note that allegations that warrant investigation include personal, off-duty actions as well as actions that did not have bad intentions. Because of this, even the most ethical, competent, and professional EMS and paramedic professionals could face investigation and ultimately, disciplinary action. If you are an EMS or paramedic in Connecticut and are facing a license suspension, revocation, or other sanction, call our office today to speak with someone that can advise you.