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Dozens of Boston EMS Patients May Have Received Compromised Medications

Fifty-seven former patients of Boston Emergency Medical Services have been notified.

More than 60 patients received doses of controlled medications that a former Boston Emergency Medical Service employee may have tampered with during the summer of 2011, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. 

A Boston EMS paramedic reportedly administered compromised medications to 64 patients during a six-week period in the summer of 2011. Seven patients died soon thereafter as a result of their initial trauma or illness, leaving 57 patients to be notified of the misconduct. 

Boston EMS’s review of transport records for these patients showed no indication of adverse health outcomes as a result of the medication they received, they said.  

All 57 patients have been offered free screening for infectious diseases, and the Boston Public Health Commission is running an incident hotline staffed by trained clinicians to answer questions and provide information to these individuals. However, the department is not aware of the suspect having or transmitting an infectious disease to any patients, they said. 

The paramedic in question has been relieved of all duties since the alleged misconduct was discovered. EMS cannot comment on any details pertaining to the employee’s activities because of an ongoing criminal investigation. 

Although the alleged drug tampering occured more than a year ago, Boston EMS had to wait for state lab test results, which were not available until July. Those test results identified the 64 patients who were exposed. 

The controlled medications that may have been tampered with are fentanyl, lorazepam, and midazolam and possibly morphine, which was in use last summer. The patients that were notified were treated with one of these four controlled medications.

The Boston Public Health Commission said it's still unclear at this time how many of the 64 patients actually received compromised versus non-compromised medications. The 64 patients who were potentially affected were approximately 0.4 percent, of the 16,968 patients encountered by EMS during the time period in question.

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