Right or Wrong is irrelevant. In these videos, the real question is… are they “reasonable”?

Kip Teitsort, Founder DT4EMS     Staff_will_respond2

One thing is for sure take social media add the mainstream media and you are sure to find that public servants will be found guilty until proven innocent in the court of public opinion.

This is the very reason providers must prepare to act in such a way we begin to gain the support of the “court of public opinion”. We do that by preparing before the incident occurs.

This “Collection” will be updated on a regular basis as reports allow. Below you will see various videos and news reports regarding the way Fire/EMS or ED staff have used force on the job. It is up to you to decide how the actions are to be perceived. Also you must decide if what you witness is a recognized form of medical treatment.



Watch this video first. Then browse the ones below.


Paramedic charged for kicking handcuffed Georgia man in groin

The paramedic is on administrative leave after a violent encounter with a driver at a vehicle collision

LEE COUNTY, Ga. — A paramedic was placed on paid, administrative leave and is under investigation for allegedly kicking a handcuffed man in the groin.

EMS and police were called to the scene of a rear-end collision.

WALB reported Amelia Warrington, 19, rear-ended David Smith, who was stopped at a light.

The situation quickly escalated as Smith started yelling at Warrington and threw his phone at her.

When police and medics arrived, Warrington’s father and Smith were in a shoving match.

Paramedic John Eckard took Smith to the ground by putting his arm around his neck.

Paramedic Robert Patton then got on top of Smith, put his hand around his throat, and told him, “I’ll kill you if you ever put your hand on a public officer again.”

Deputies then handcuffed Smith, but as he was getting up, Patton kicked him in the groin.

At that point, a deputy grabbed Patton, who continued to yell and curse, and told the paramedic, “You are done here.”

Patton and Smith were both cited for disorderly conduct and the incident is under investigation.  SOURCE: EMS1


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Right or Wrong is irrelevant. The real question is are they “reasonable”? 

SAN DIEGO — A member of the San Diego Fire Rescue Department angrily confronted and allegedly grabbed the arm of a photojournalist and pushed him backward as he was filming an ambulance crew wheeling a patient out of the 2015 Comic Con. SOURCE

Florida Paramedic Accused of aggressively flipping stretcher



  • “Battalion Chief Gary Metzbower showed them a video showing 31-year-old Shaun W. White aggressively strapping an intoxicated woman into a stretcher.The incident occurred on Sept. 8 at 4 a.m. in the 1800 block of Spence St., in Morrell Park. In the video, police say, “it is clearly shown that White is upset with the victim, who is not being combative.” It shows him lift the woman by her neck and “smash” her body into the headrest, “where he straps her in violently,” police say.” READ THE FULL STORY HERE and the video is below.


  • An ambulance paramedic was sentenced to 12 years in prison for severely beating a patient while transporting him to the Denver Health Medical Center emergency room. Read more: Denver paramedic gets 12 years in beating – The Denver
  • Paramedics may be liable for forcibly hospitalizing a man who refused medical attention, a federal judge ruled, recounting an undisputed record showing emergency responders put their patient in a headlock, rammed his head 20 times into an ambulance wall and taped him up “like a mummy.”…
    …Travis said there was nothing wrong with him and that he did not need help.
    Nevertheless, the paramedics picked him up by his arms and legs and forced him into the ambulance. Many of the facts of the case are undisputed, according to the court.
    Travis screamed at the paramedics to let him out, whereupon one of the paramedics choked him, put him in a headlock and rammed his head into the wall of the ambulance 20 times.



“Woman Choked by FDNY EMT, Melee Ensues”  


  • Oklahoma City police investigate death of man who fought EMSA workers

Jason Marshall, 42, died Aug. 8, two days after he was allegedly choked and punched during struggle with EMSA first responders in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City police are investigating the death. READ MORE AT THE SOURCE

  • SAGINAW, MI — A normal day at work turned violent for dollar store employee Gregory Barnett when he stepped into the parking lot to lend a hand to emergency responders and an ambulance worker pinned him to the ground. (CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH THE VIDEO)


Here firefighters “help” a robbery suspect who was struck with a bat. Is what you see a recognized form of medical treatment (care) or is it taking “custody” of someone? Were they “compelled” to help in a situation they had no training for?

For more proof… read the comments on the image HERE how some staff believe they should respond to use-of-force situations.

Having 23 years on the street serving both roles as a medic and a police officer, I understand getting hacked off. I also understand how the dynamics change quickly in a use-of-force situation. That said, law enforcement has been under microscope for years when it comes to use-of-force. Guess what medical staff, welcome to our new reality.

It is vital staff understand the use-of-force in emergency medicine is unique. Unlike any other profession, when it comes to the application of any use of force, we have to decide in a split second- patient or attacker. We treat one, we flee the other.

We are not the police who are trying to take “custody” of someone. We are not there to fight. We are supposed to be offering a recognized from of medical treatment based upon some form of “consent”.


When there is no formal training on a subject, people rely on what they have learned based upon their own past training and experience.

Think about it… what if you or your staff member was a former military member, an amateur or professional MMA fighter, a former bouncer in a bar?

The previous training or experience obtained was great for what it was designed for. But what if some of their skills were used inappropriately while on the job in medicine- with no recognition of the difference between a patient an an attacker?



Paramedic Arrested for Flipping Stretcher on Hospice Patient – 

It all started after investigators say the 48-year-old disabled patient refused to get off of the ambulance stretcher he was being transported in.

Kenneth Hallenbeck and the patient then got into a verbal altercation before the BCFR paramedic flipped the stretcher over, causing the victim to fall to the floor, police say.


Use-of-force incidents occur on the job period. It can be in the ED, or on the EMS or fire scene. If staff are not prepared for how  to deal with it, they will do what they think is right, at that moment. If there is no thought process, they will respond with primal instincts.




We have done our best over the years to tell people in EMS/Fire and ED Nursing that violence against them was an issue. Since many didn’t believe us and since there has been such little training in the use-of-force for on the job in emergency medicine, the pendulum has swung very far to the opposite direction for some.

Now acts like the ones captured in these videos skew not only the public’s opinion of us, but they only serve to fuel the “jaded” culture that exists in emergency medicine.

We have created this monster.

Emergency Medicine, Welcome to Your New Reality Use-of-force captured on camera (law enforcement has had to deal with it for years) Be very weary of the “court of public opinion”.

This breaks my heart to even have to post something like this. The reality is use-of-force incidents happen daily in emergency medicine (EMS/Fire and ED). The stress of the job, the way we are treated…it can change even the kindest, caring and giving people. Sometimes to a point of using excessive force.

These videos and news reports contained in this blog post should upset you, regardless of what you see/read. They should upset you because staff are being faced with use-of-force decisions that most people (not in emergency medicine) believe don’t exist. These reports flat out piss me off because without being told right from wrong… people will respond with what they “felt” was right at that moment.

Front line staff to admin… I have said it for years… when faced with a violent encounter, staff will respond. How they respond will be based upon their training or lack of it.

We must train in 4 areas,seamlessly, when it comes to the use-of-force in medicine (Mind, Street, Media and Courtroom). When you read the “related” posts above, it will help make sense of the videos and news reports contained within this post.

More than survive

Simply ignoring the fact use-of-force incidents actually happen does not help anyone involved- not the staff member, aggressor, bystander or agency.

Sometimes in our classes I say, we are here to teach providers to protect themselves. Sometimes that means we are teaching them how to protect themselves…from themselves.


So this image says it again…