Medics Suspended Over Patient Photos

Two Columbus firefighter-paramedics were suspended without pay for taking or distributing photographs of medical patients without their permission.

The Department of Public Safety announced the suspensions Monday afternoon.

Firefighter-paramedic Mike McConnell, an eight-year veteran of the division, admitted to taking photographs and video in 2016 of a patient. He was found to have violated a rule defining good behavior.

Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. issued a 96-hour (four-day) unpaid suspension for McConnell.

Firefighter-paramedic Kevin E. Murphy, a three-year veteran of the division, received a 240-hour (10-day) unpaid suspension. Murphy received the photographs and video and then distributed them to others.

Murphy also lied to investigators about his involvement after an investigation began in December 2017, the department said.

The investigation started after an anonymous letter and flash drive with the photographs on it were sent to city offices and news outlets.

Battalion Chief Steve Martin said the photographs were not salacious, didn’t involve nudity, and the firefighter-paramedics said they were not meant to poke fun at the patients involved. He said McConnell took the photographs and sent them to Murphy as a way to commiserate about the shifts they were working.

Both McConnell and Murphy signed last-chance agreements, meaning if they have similar charges which are sustained within the next three years, they would be terminated.

The firefighter-paramedics both waived their right to file a grievance related to their discipline as part of a settlement of the allegations against them, according to documents provided by the Department of Public Safety.

Dave Montgomery, president of International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 67, said the disciplinary process was fair to both firefighter-paramedics.

“These members would like to put this past them and move on with their careers,” he said.

From Firehouse.com