A Florida paramedic has been accused of dumping a hospice patient off a stretcher and onto the hospital floor.
The incident occurred on Feb. 25, 2015. The patient had been brought to the triage department of the hospital. There was a conversation between the paramedic and the patient in which the paramedic told the patient to get off the stretcher. The paramedic had brought a chair for the patient to sit on. However, the patient refused to leave the stretcher because no beds were available and there was nowhere else he could lie down. The paramedic then apparently lost his temper, started screaming, and picked up one end of the stretcher causing the cancer patient to be dumped on the floor. The worker at the desk then said to the paramedic, “You need to go call your boss; I have to call the police department.”
Following a police investigation Brevard County firefighter and paramedic Kenneth Hallenbeck, 35 years old, was charged with felony abuse of an elderly or disabled person. However, since it could not be established that the patient met the legal criteria of a disabled adult (his medical records are confidential) the charge was later dropped from a felony to misdemeanor culpable negligence. The case was also reviewed by the state attorney’s office.
A disciplinary hearing found Hallenbeck was in violation of several policies including “fighting, threatening, intimidating other persons and displaying conduct that raises questions about an employee’s ability to maintain public trust.” He was suspended with pay prior to the hearing and following the hearing he was fired from his paramedic position.
In court, Hallenbeck, an 11-year veteran with the Fire-Rescue Department, entered a plea of “No Contest” and accepted a plea deal in which he serves one year probation and also surrenders his paramedic license.