Oregon Woman Seeks $2 Million Alleging Negligent Management of Controlled Substances

An Oregon woman who claims she was sexually abused and given stolen drugs by a fire department paramedic has filed suit against the department and an area hospital. The plaintiff, identified as AH, is seeking $2 million in damages from the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department, PeaceHealth, the City of Eugene and the City of Springfield.

AH alleges that a ESFD paramedic, Edward Augustus Blake, stole Ketamine, Fentanyl, Midazolam, and Morphine from the fire department and/or Peacehealth, and exchanged the drugs for sex. The suit alleges Blake was able to accomplish the theft due to the negligent failure of the defendants to secure its inventory. Blake is not named as a defendant in the suit.

Quoting from the complaint:

  • In the course of their employment, ESFD paramedics had access to controlled substances to be used for patients while providing emergency medical services.
  • Defendants City of Eugene, City of Springfield and ESFD had a contractual relationship with PeaceHealth in which PeaceHealth supplied ESFD’s paramedics with such controlled substances.
  • ESFD paramedics were instructed by ESFD to record the name and amount of controlled substances they obtained from PeaceHealth in physical logbooks kept inside ESFD ambulances.
  • Defendants never confirmed that the dispensed medication matched the number of controlled substances needed to restock the ambulance or to confirm that the dispensed medications matched the amount that was written into the ambulance logbook.
  • Defendants never routinely audited the Pyxis dispensations to check that the amount dispensed matched the number of controlled substances actually provided to patients in the course of the paramedic’s work and/or recorded in the logbook.
  • ESFD failed to cross-check the physical logbook maintained on their ambulances against the electronic log maintained by the Pyxis system for discrepancies to uncover potential drug conversion by paramedics.
  • PeaceHealth failed to compare electronic logs kept by the Pyxis system with the records kept by ESFD on their ambulances to identify discrepancies.
  • BLAKE had access to controlled substances including but not limited to Ketamine, Fentanyl, Midazolam, and Morphine from PeaceHealth’s Pyxis machine pursuant to his employment as a ESFD paramedic.
  • Between 2016 to the end of 2019, BLAKE victimized and sexually battered numerous women after administering controlled substances to them.
  • He obtained the controlled substances through PeaceHealth’s Pyxis machine and his employment with ESFD.
  • BLAKE used these substances, especially Midazolam which is known to induce amnesia, to incapacitate his victims and subject them to nonconsensual sexual activity.
  • From July 2017 to May 2019, Plaintiff and BLAKE met many times, sometimes once a week or twice a week depending on BLAKE’s ability to get away from his wife.
  • At each of these encounters, BLAKE would administer drugs intravenously to Plaintiff in exchange for various sexual acts.
  • BLAKE told plaintiff that he was obtaining the controlled substances from his employment with ESFD as a paramedic.
  • The controlled substances that BLAKE procured from ESFD and PeaceHealth included but is not limited to: Morphine, Ketamine, Fentanyl, and Midazolam.

The suit alleges negligence, sexual battery, physical abuse of a vulnerable person, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Here is a copy of the complaint:

Here is more about the medic’s criminal problems.

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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