“Shocked that somebody that is that close to helping people with medical conditions to be able to go in and invade your property."
- Joseph Pula, 79 of Chili, NYSad but true. Here we are (once again) talking about a responder who defiles the public trust. Once again, we see that Rochester, NY is not immune from this behavior. Video below, full story here.
In this latest situation, Derek Carstairs (formerly an EMT with Monroe Ambulance) returned to the home of a respiratory patient and attempted burglarize the patients home for prescription medication. While the local media attention to this has been scant, it has rippled (but not shocked) the emergency response community here in Rochester.
Prescription medications are at the top of the list of abused drugs. Addictions drive otherwise good people to do terrible things; mostly impacting family and friends. In this case, the addiction/crime has cost many responders the trust of the public.
Its not the first time.
In November, 2005 I wrote about an EMS director who accused of using the internet to arrange sex from the girl who is actually an undercover Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy.
Also in November, 2005, we talked about California, not to be out done by NY, seems to have trouble with EMS providers and internet solicited, under-age sex crimes.
December, 2006 we found out about a forty-year-old volunteer firefighter has been arrested for sexual abuse of a minor.
More recently, in January, 2009, I got upset about six paid-on call firefighters have been setting fires to get work...at the rate of $10.00 an hour.
Its not just crimes that fail the public trust. January, 2006, a paramedic who has been fired as a result of her blogging activities, reminded us that public trust exists outside of the clinical arena. Just as the paramedics who responded to Jett Travolta defaulted on the public trust and gave the "inside scoop" about John Travolta's son to the media.
These are the cases I've written about...there have been many, many more.
This is obviously not a problem unique to Rochester or to EMS. The damage to responders is also not limited to any one agency, service, or location.
Back to the Carstairs situation. The patient turned burglary victim makes a very poignant statement:
"I have to be very, very careful of the people that come and help me that they don't rob me."Don't you forget that this statement will be going through the mind of each and every person you try to help. Think about this when your service lowers its standards because of a lack of personnel...just to get a warm body.