Kansas EMS Board Cites Seven Responders Over Non-Transport of Suicide Patient

Seven EMS personnel from two Kansas agencies are facing discipline by the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services over a 2019 incident in which a suicide victim with fatal injuries was not transported to an emergency room despite having a pulse and labored breathing for over 10 hours.

The incident occurred in Wichita on June 19, 2019. Firefighters from the city of Wichita and EMS from Sedgwick County responded to a man who shot himself in the head. After one round of CPR a pulse was restored. However, after conferring with medical control it was determined that since the man’s injuries were incompatible with survival, transport to the hospital would not be necessary.

Medical control authorized medics on scene to administer ketamine to address the man’s moaning, and authorized his transfer to the Harry Hynes Hospice Center where he died 10 hours and 39 minutes after the initial 911 call.

The penalties proposed by the state for EMS personnel include a $200 fine, several 60-day suspensions, a 90-day suspension and the revocation of one medic’s license. The EMS Board is also asking the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to launch an investigation into the doctor serving as medical control during the incident.

Both Wichita and Sedwick County have publicly announced plans to appeal the citations. A local medical review by the Sedgwick County Medical Society cleared the responders of any wrongdoing. The Wichita Eagle quoted Sedgwick County spokesperson Kate Flavin as saying that “competent and appropriate care was provided to this patient.”

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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