EMT Kills Co-Worker

An EMT killed their workmate when they ‘playfully’ shocked them with a defib.

“Joshua Philip Martin was in his fourth day on the job as a rescue-squad worker in Russell County when, in a playful mood, he decided to reach into the front seat of the ambulance and zap one of his co-workers with the defibrillator paddles. The rookie's mistake was fatal.”

A horrific story, and really beyond comment.

Via Warren Ellis.

31 thoughts on “EMT Kills Co-Worker”

  1. well the report will be good for training, the silde with have the heading “why you dont f&*% with defibs”is he going to change his name to will anker??

  2. I'm stunned that despite his training, he DID NOT REALISE that this could kill someone. Most of the people I know that have had no medical training whatsoever know this. It's certainly clear to anyone who's had some form of first aid training. What does this guy have, rocks in his head? Is he too stupid to breathe?Far as I'm concerned it should be voluntary manslaughter. “Yeah, despite warnings I touched my colleague with this machine that emits a massive electrical charge /but I didn't mean to kill her/, I thought she'd just flop around amusingly” ? What The Fuck. That's like driving a car into a pedestrial and saying “Yeah I didn't mean to kill him, I thought he'd just bounce off the windscreen and walk away!”

    Sorry for the rant, I'm just a bit freaked out by the depths of human stupidity.

  3. my mother always said that her mother used to always say: “common sense isn't always as common as you'd expect”.unfortunately.

  4. Now I am a mere GP's receptionist, and I have up to date first aid training and also have been trained to use a defib.Why the hell wasn't an EMT trained to use a defib?

    beggars belief.

  5. Idiot, Murder, no less I am afraid.I have 10 year olds who know how to use an AED

    (ok so AED less dangerous) but they KNOW its not a toy!

    Beggars belief

  6. “he's a good kid!”no, he's not. He's incapable of doing what he's told, even when it involves electrical medical equipment. That's rather bloody far from “good kid”.

  7. Like Batsgirl, I am horrified hearing this comment of his family. None of his family seem to have offered their sympathies to the lady's family despite her two children now being orphans. Absolutely disgusting. He should've gone up for murder one, IMO.

  8. How stupid is this guy??I can't believe he did not realise what he was about to do.

    The Defibs that I know and use in my job as an EMT have to recognise a shockable rhythm before they will allow you to deliver a shock. So it is not that easy to deliver a shock.

    However they do have an override switch.

    Either way that guy is stupid.

  9. His aunt is wrong, at 25 he is NOT a kid; and as for not meaning to hurt anyone he had to perform 3 separate actions deliberately – remove the paddles and place them on the victim, charge the paddles, deliver the shock (and all those after being told not to play with the defib). You might be able to do one of those accidentally, but in my book doing all three makes it murder.I've only been on the road for 6 months and defibs scare the s**t out of me because, as one of my instuctors said, they are one of the 2 pieces of kit with which we can kill someone instantly.

    I did hear about a consultant on a PHTLS course: the story goes that he wondered what it felt like to be shocked, so he set the charge to 2 joules and placed the paddles on either side of his head. He died, of course; but at least he didn't take anyone else with him.

  10. Suddenly the frequent Requalifications on the AED done by SJA seem a lot more sensible.

    As far as I'm concerned its murder.

    Anyone who has half a brain knows you should not electrocute people, anyone without half a brain has no business working in any situation where lives are on the line.

    It makes me wonder how this company vets its employees.

  11. I've been AED trained for about ten years and I wouldn't consider picking up a manual defib, they come in my DO NOT TOUCH list, along with landmines, rottweilers and a bunch of other stuff.I thought AED came into EMT training, its now an option on the normal 4 day first aid course.

  12. We (Metropolitan Ambulance Service in melbourne Oz) use the Zoll Monitor which doesnt have paddles rather pads which have to be put on the chest in order to defib so its pretty well impossible to zap someone in this way.Dare I say only in america

  13. This was certainly a stupid thing for him to do, but I am curious about the actual mechanism of injury. As I understand it, AEDs don't start someone's heart beating, they stop it – that way, if it's fibrillating then it will start up with steady beating. So, if your heart is working normally, and you stop it, is that less likely to re-start normally? Or is it that it's not guaranteed to work either way, but someone who's dying has less to lose by risking it?

  14. Unbelievable, this man's family do not seem to realise the magnitude of what their son/nephew has done. He should be paying for the rest of his life. It is no wonder that he has no concept of how dangerous his behaviour is, if his family see it just as a prank that went a bit wrong and was unintentional. Nngggghhhh.

  15. He was not an EMT and had not gone through the EMT training, a fact which keeps getting overlooked for the sake of shorter, more convenient headlines.

  16. If you read the article, he was not actually an EMT. The papers do not generally understand these distinctions very well, and print whatever's most convenient…

  17. well, don't I look like an idiot; I saw a few versions of this story earlier on that said he was just on the squad, but had not gone through EMT. Now I echo your sentiments exactly.

  18. Note: the defib in question was the manual variety, which is why it delivered the shock.An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) shouldn't deliver a shock unless it needs to (it analyses the heart rhythm before deciding if a shock is necessary). Hence why they are positioned in public locations where anyone could have access to them (although you're still supposed to be trained to use one).

    I believe some AEDs do have manual overrides, but if someone was going to prank around with one of these they'd definitely be aware they were going to do some serious damage (i.e. murder).

  19. I've got a brother like that & worked with people like him, who just don't seem to be in touch with reality.Accidents happen to other people as far as they are concerned & they see nothing wrong in pushing someone when they are holding a tray of hot oil or pulling away as you get into their car.

    The strangest thing is they then think it's funny to tell others what they have done: “And there he was screaming & banging on the side of the car” etc. Then wonder why they'r out of a job!!!!

  20. Think of the steps he had to go through — first he had to turn it on, then take the paddles out, then charge the paddles, set the charge, place both on the woman's chest with good contact, then fire them.This isn't a gun accidentally going off. He had to know how to use the machine. If he knew so much about the machine, how could he not know the result?

  21. I am a silly Italian without any medical training whatsoever, yet even I know that a defib can be lethal when used on a healthy heart. F*****g hell, please lock away that imbecile!

  22. In the new psychobabble his actions would be seen as a a person with an adolescent level of brain development; the neurobiology for which it is documented not to finish until the mid-twenties. Teens, on average, lack the capacity to anticipate the consequences of their actions, thus they seem and are quite impulsive. Not all teens are this way. I can recall being paralyzed as a youth because I could always see clearly the range of possible consequences of my actions; I recognized that many of my peers suffered no such angst and were able to have more fun as a result; there were also a few deaths, multiple permanent disabilities and quite a few girls knocked up in my high-school class. There were of course costs for this adolescent freedom from thought.The punishment should be based upon the reasonable mindset of the perpetrator. A fifteen year old standing slack jawed in utter disbelief at the outcome of shocking someone could slightly be forgiven, especially since the 'victim' would likely have done the same and been equally surprized at the result. The fifteen year old has some reasonable prospect of becomming a reasonable mature and functional adult in our society if properly monitored.

    Now this character has to be judged as a 25 year old. He placed himself in the position of a job requiring more judgement than he could provide. He is not likely to acquire greater judgement in the future; his prognosis for successful rehabilitation and safe release into society is quite dim. He and we need the safety and security of a nice cell courtesey of the state for a good couple of decades.

  23. This is more than an impulsive act. It's not like pushing someone in front of an oncoming subway car. He had to think about it. I have NO medical training. But it would not occur to me to use one of those things on someone any more than I would “practice” CPR on a healthy person. This is a 25-year-old who is incapable of following directions, lacks the ability to put himself into the place of others (and she was DRIVING!! wasn't she?? What the hell did he think was going to happen to the ambulance he was riding in when she started flopping around like a dying fish at the bottom of a rowboat, haw haw haw?), and has a sadistic streak. He has to intend for her to die, though, to get a murder charge. Voluntary manslaughter with the maximum punishment is probably the reasonable outcome. Unless there's other evidence he intended to kill her.On the other hand, while he is doing 10 years for voluntary manslaughter (or whatever the max is — he is sooo clearly a danger to the public that he needs to be behind four walls for as long as possible) this is exactly why volunteer fire/paramedic agencies need to do psych and background tests. This guy probably wouldn't have passed a psych test. I can't tell you the number of volunteer firefighters I prosecuted for arson who also had numerous weenie-waving or peeping convictions. I think that some paramedics must also get into the biz for the wrong reasons. What occurs to me is — they obviously didn't talk to this guy for very long, there wasn't a job interview even, and they need to change their hiring policies.

    And the idiot relative who hissed, “He's a good kid!” Well, no. He's not.

  24. This topic hasn't even been looked at in years, until now that is. The rude comments of Josh should have “tested them on himself” first & things of that nature? They're way off.I truly feel sorry for the family & children who lost a loved one due to Josh's actions. I cannot express how horrible I feel about the loss of a mother to those two innocent children.

    At the same time though, people might want to get it straight.

    Josh Martin is my brother. He's quite a bit older than me, & I had just started high school when this happened. I love Josh. He's a good person, works hard, & isn't the most mature of people. He's always acted like a big kid. He's always joked around. He's always poked at me and aggravated me. Everyone has a personality, & that just so happens to be Josh's personality.

    I wouldn't dare ever say that what he did wasn't wrong. It was. Josh goes too far with jokes sometimes.

    The other side of the story though?

    Josh didn't turn on the defibrillators to my knowledge. They were actually already turned on. The crew in the ambulance before Josh & the others got in had left them on, again, to my knowledge.

    At the same time though, did anyone see the news break a few months later? A defibrillator recall? Hm, the same kind of defibrillator that was installed in the ambulance that Josh was in.

    Like my family said, you would have to know Josh. He's a big kid at heart, and despite his mistakes, he has, and always will be a good person, and my brother.

    Again, my family is truly deeply sorry for the loss of the family's loved one. Nothing we, or Josh, could ever do could make up for this loss. No one has defended Josh. Our family has only felt sorry for the young lady's family, and especially her children. No one deserves to die, no one.

    I was just clarifying a few things for you ignorant people who read this. And for those of you who said Josh should have used them on himself? Fuck you.

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