Paramedic Involved In Mistaken Death Case Wants Credentials Reinstated
Posted June 27, 2005 6:36 a.m. EDT
FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.C. — A former Franklin County paramedic, who mistakenly determined a man to be dead, is fighting to get his EMS license reinstated.
In court Monday, attorneys for Randy Kearney claimed their client acted as a first responder on the night that Larry Donnell Green was struck by a vehicle. Kearney, who was off-duty, and another paramedic, Paul Kilmer, originally declared him dead, but it was not until he arrived at the morgue in a body bag that medical examiners realized Green was still alive.
Kearney's attorneys said the state does not have the right to take away their client's credentials. Officials with the state said he did not act properly in his role as paramedic.
"It's an undisputed fact that (Kearney) acted as a volunteer," said Kearney's attorney, Angela Long. "He acted as a first responder. He was off-duty from his work as an EMS paramedic that evening."
According to a written statement, Kearney did check for a pulse on Green and tried to determine if he was breathing. He found no pulse and no breath, the statement shows. Kearney told paramedics that he believed Green was dead.
Kilmer, whose license is also suspended, relied on Kearney's basic assessment that Green was dead. When witnesses saw Green's chest and abdomen move in and out, they said they relied on the medical examiner's opinion that it was natural "air escaping."
The state argued, however, that on duty or not, anyone who holds credentials as a licensed EMS worker is held to that standard anytime, anywhere.
"They don't look to whether he's on the clock or off," said Assistant Attorney General June Farrell. "They don't look to whether he wants to call himself a first responder or not. They're looking to the care he provided because he's credentialed as a paramedic."
Green's family stood in the small hearing room as attorneys for both sides argued their cases.
"I think the responsibility fell on him," said Green's father, Larry, who is opposed to Kearney getting his license reinstated. "It don't make me feel good at all if he gets his license back. I wouldn't be happy at all."
Green is now out of the hospital and is continuing to recover at a rehabilitation center. Family members said he can speak a little and is trying to walk.