Medic loses license over fatal crash

Friday September 28, 2012


Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A Bennington Rescue Squad paramedic has had his license renewal rejected by the state for actions he took during a fatal motorcycle crash.

Gillvray Hall, a paramedic who serves as operations manager for the squad, knowingly performed a procedure prohibited by the state and was slow in transporting the motorcyclist to the local hospital, according to Vermont Emergency Medical Services, part of the Vermont Department of Health.

The state had been reviewing Bennington Rescue’s response to an early June crash. Gavin Briggs, 28, of Pownal, was driving his Kawasaki motorcycle north on Dewey Street, at about 7:45 a.m., when police said he collided with a Honda CRV driven by Lorraine Baker, 60, of Bennington on Weeks Street. Briggs died as a result of the crash.

According to documents provided by Vermont EMS on Thursday, the license renewal for Hall has been rejected. A letter to Hall dated Sept. 19 says the renewal was rejected for several reasons, including "acting in ways which are dangerous or injurious, or potentially so to the public" and "acting unprofessionally."

According to an EMS report, Hall performed a pericardiocentisis, an invasive procedure that involves using a needle and catheter to remove fluid from the sac around the heart. The report notes that Hall, prior to performing the procedure, stated that he may "lose his license for this." Other paramedics that were on the scene testified that they cautioned Hall not to perform the procedure.

"Based on the multi-factorial issues described above, coupled with the fact that Paramedic G. Hall knowingly performed a procedure that was outside his scope and was at that time aware of the potential implications for his actions according to witness testimony, it is therefore recommended that Paramedic G. Hall’s application to VDH for license renewal be rejected," the report states.

The letter to Hall details other factors for denying his license renewal based on the crash response investigation. Among them are:

* Keeping a "multi-systems trauma victim," who was within sight of the hospital, on scene for a prolonged time.

* Allowing the patient’s sister, an EMT on the scene, to remain on duty and become directly involved in patient care.

* Allowing two medications to manage the patient’s airway that are not listed or approved for use as an induction agent during intubation attempts.

* Sending another paramedic to the emergency department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to request that a physician come to the scene to perform a pericardiocentisis. The physician requested "multiple times" that the patient be transported to the hospital.

* Performing two unsuccessful attempts at pericardiocentisis, a procedure not allowable under the Vermont EMS paramedic scope of practice.

William Hathaway, executive director of Bennington Rescue, said Hall is planning to appeal the decision. The squad is "staying behind him while he goes through this process," Hathaway said.

Hathaway said Hall continues to serve as operations manager and is fulfilling the duties he is allowed to without an active license.

According to Hathaway, Hall has been trained in performing pericardiocentisis. "He’s actually performed it in the field before, not in Vermont, but in a state where it is allowed," Hathaway said.


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