This case involves an ambulance driver trainee who suffered a seizure while driving an ambulance during training. The field training officer attempted to regain control of the vehicle but was unable to. The ambulance eventually crashed into another vehicle after approximately 30 seconds following the onset of the trainee’s seizure. The vehicle that the ambulance crashed into had two children on board and both were killed from the impact. An EMS expert with vast familiarity training ambulance driver and overseeing safety policies for trainees and accident avoidance protocol was sought to explain what steps, if any, may have been taken to avoid this unfortunate outcome.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you currently train and/or oversee training guidelines for ambulance drivers and EMS field officers?
- 2. Does specific protocol exist to screen for drivers who have a past medical history of seizures?
Expert Witness Response E-009410
I am a paramedic and have been driving ambulances for 40 years. I currently teach a paramedic program that deals with ambulance driver safety and operations. I believe that I can certainly speak to the issues present in this case. I’m not sure of the defendant’s medical history, but I believe they would need to be seizure-free for 5 years prior to driving this vehicle for them to be considered a viable option as an ambulance operator. Even without a prior history of seizures, thorough background and physical checkup would most likely be required. Another issue is the intervention of the FTO once the driver was seizing. I would be interested in knowing more about the training program itself, as that sounds like the crux of this case.