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Keller @ Large: EMTs Allegedly Skip Out On Training

BOSTON (CBS) — When the story first broke this summer, it might have slipped under your radar. But now that a Suffolk County grand jury has indicted five EMT’s and paramedics for defrauding taxpayers by faking the participation of hundreds of their colleagues in legally-required training courses, this has become a situation we need to talk about whether we want to or not.

There aren’t too many professionals I admire more than EMTs. They perform some very difficult tasks, and if you’ve ever needed their help, you know that they usually do so with a high level of competence and sensitivity.
But while the estimated two-to-three-hundred public safety workers who allegedly participated in or benefited from the scam is a fraction of the total number of EMTs and paramedics, it’s a large enough fraction to raise some serious questions about the culture that fostered it.

For starters – did these people even care about the health of their patients? If they did, you would think they would want the information about cardiac care, resuscitation and the other techniques taught in the courses they are accused of being so eager to avoid.

Did their alleged negligence cost anyone their life or their health? Officials say they don’t think so, but how would they know?

The prosecutors claim some of the accused fakers got together for drinks at the same time they were supposed to be in class. Was their fraudulence so amusing to them that it was cause for celebration as well?

If you risk your life driving around here, or see cretins dumping their trash out the window, you are already well-acquainted with the frame of mind that says, “Hey, I’m number one, and I could care less about anyone else.”

It strikes me as a major, demoralizing scandal that one of our most trusted care-giving occupations might prove to be infected with the same virus.

Listen to Jon Keller’s commentary here:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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