A Boston paramedic no longer has a job after being accused of tampering with patient’s painkillers.
The report from Boston Public Health Commission doesn’t explain how the paramedic tampered with the medications, but experts have contacted 64 patients that were cared for by the paramedic. The patients were offered free medical tests including HIV and Hepatitis screenings, according to CBS News.
Health officials say these tests are a precaution, stating they have no reason to believe patients were infected with any such disease.
“We have no evidence this paramedic has any such infections,” says Dr. Anita Barry with the Boston Public Health Commission. “Besides, the risk of infection is tiny in this scenario.”
There is an investigation into this case, but officials aren’t saying much about it.
“I’m not going to answer any specific questions about it,” says Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “It might jeopardize the criminal investigation.”
Seven people who were treated by that paramedic have passed away, but officials believe the deaths were unrelated to the possible drug contamination.
No charges, yet
The paramedic was fired from his job last September and, so far, isn’t facing any charges.
Health officials say it took awhile to narrow down the patients that came in contact with this paramedic over a six week period last summer, plus testing of the tampered vials of drugs took some time to complete, according to a statement from Boston EMS.
The fallout continues
Boston health officials and the city’s mayor commented on this case, hoping that one former employee doesn’t taint public opinion of the city’s ambulance service.
“Some people might lose confidence in a service that saves lives,” says Dr. Ferrer. “That would be beyond a shame.”
Meanwhile, Boston EMS says they have put new safeguards in place to keep an incident like this from happening again.