The alleged violations of patients’ privacy at the hands of EMS paramedics in Okaloosa County (Florida) is a horror story. Patients in helpless situations were posed for silly photographs. One elderly woman’s breast was exposed. The photos were then traded for fun as a couple of EMS workers participated in a “selfie war.” Such disgusting behavior on the parts of those whose lives are put into their trust makes a good case for bringing back tar and feathers.
The official release from the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Dept. follows. No other media seem to have noticed something on the warrant.
If you look at the warrant on alleged perp Kayla Renee Dubois, the nation where she was born is listed as “Spain.” The citizenship field is empty.
I phoned the sheriff’s department; a spokesperson explained this means Dubois was born in Spain. Theoretically she may have immigrated to the USA with her parents. Okaloosa has a big military community, so perhaps that’s how this woman ended up in the US.
And by the way, hat tip to the whistleblower EMS workers who did the right thing by reporting this abuse.
Release July 21, 2016 from Okaloosa sheriff (via Facebook):
“The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference today to announce that a former Okaloosa County EMS paramedic has been arrested and another has active warrants in connection with an investigation that revealed they used their cell phones to take selfies and videos with patients inside ambulances for their own amusement as part of a “selfie war” competition.
Many patients were intubated, sedated, or otherwise unconscious at the time.
24-year old Kayla Renee Dubois of Navarre is charged with two counts of interception and disclosure of oral communications, a third degree felony. (Florida Statute 934.03 (1)(a).
Active warrants have been issued for 33-year old Christopher Wimmer of Crestview on seven counts of the same charge, along with a misdemeanor battery charge. The battery charge involves Wimmer holding open the eyelid of a sedated patient for a selfie. Investigators say he also posed with an elderly woman with her breast exposed.
A total of 41 patients were initially identified. Two are since deceased and three appear consensual. Of the remaining 36 patients, 19 are female and 17 are male. They range in age from 24 to 86. Five are homeless.
Some of the data was shared by phone with other EMS and non-EMS personnel, however the investigator says overall a very small number of EMS personnel were sent the images and videos by the defendants.
The OCSO investigation was launched on May 13th after Okaloosa County Public Safety officials learned of the allegations from three other EMS employees a week earlier, began an immediate internal investigation, and then requested a criminal investigation. It revealed the defendants exchanged texts challenging each other to produce more selfies and to “step up” their game.
Dubois, who was terminated from her position at EMS May 20th, was arrested this morning in Navarre.
Wimmer, who resigned his position at EMS May 20th, has said he will turn himself in today.”
(Commentary by Kay B.Day, July 22, 2016; release from Okaloosa Sheriff July 21, 2016)