Florida paramedics cleared in patient transport death

A group of St. Petersburg, Fl.-area paramedics have been cleared of allegations they acted improperly in transporting a sick patient to a more-distant hospital than necessary. The charge stems from a June 26 incident in which 51 year old Mark Surette, a non-veteran, fell ill on VA property 200 feet from Bay Pines VA Medical Center. Due to his non-military status, the hospital refused to treat him in its emergency room. The paramedics were forced to take Surette to St. Petersburg General Hospital, about four miles away. Surette died at St. Petersburg General.

Some critics suggested the paramedics had acted improperly. But supervisors, including the county's emergency medical director, noted the team contacted a supervisor for guidance and did what they were told. If the directors felt the paramedics didn't follow procedure, they could have ordered they be retrained, suspended or terminated.

To learn more about the investigation:
- read this St. Petersburg Times article

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