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Paramedic accidentally overdoses driving OD patient to hospital

Will Garbe, Dayton Daily News on

Published in News & Features

DAYTON, Ohio -- A Fairborn firefighter-paramedic driving a suspected overdose patient to the hospital began showing symptoms of an accidental overdose himself, prompting his partner to jump into action and stop the ambulance in the middle of the road.

The incident is the latest -- and perhaps most dramatic -- case of a public safety employee being exposed to an opioid, something Fairborn officials said police and fire personnel diligently train to avoid.

"He was not feeling right. He was having issues seeing the speedometer controls," said David Reichert, division chief for Fairborn fire. "His partner in the back was immediately able to stop the medic in the middle of an intersection."

The partner was able to administer Narcan to the firefighter, and both the firefighter and patient were transported to Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek, Reichert said. Both the 49-year-old woman and the firefighter have recovered.

"There's nothing like going to the hospital and seeing one of our guys in the hospital bed who has just been given Narcan to pull him away from dying," Reichert said.

Investigators are still working to determine what substance caused the patient and the firefighter to overdose Thursday night. Evidence was collected at the scene and is being sent to the crime lab, where investigators should learn what chemical caused the incidents to occur, said Fairborn Police Department Capt. Terry Bennington.

Bennington said the unnamed woman who overdosed could face charges.

"It really depends on whether or not this was an accident," he said. "My recommendation is we look at assault and inducing panic."

The president of Fairborn Professional Firefighters Union Local 1235 commended his colleagues.

"The members of 1235 and the members of the police department did an incredible job," said John Howard. "The people at Soin, the nursing staff and the doctors went over and above and treated us amazing."

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