Chief Jerry Martin has refused to provide documentation showing his training in intubations to the state and to the San Juan County Hospital District #1 commission. While Martin's paramedic credentials were recertified in 2017, his refusal to show documentation confirming his training in intubations deeply concerns two of the five commissioners. The other three say there is no legal requirement for him to do so.
After an executive session in November, Commissioner Dr. Warren Appleton made a motion that asked for Chief Martin to submit the documentation to the state and to the PHD and for the Chief to be suspended from clinical practice of paramedicine if he refused to do so.
Commissioners Rebecca Smith, Dr. Mark Schwinge and Dr. Michael Edwards voted against the motion. Schwinge questioned Appleton's motivation.
Appleton and Commissioner Anna Lisa Lindstrum both cited an ethical responsibility and their concern about public safety.
Lindstrum said, "If he goes out and intubates someone and he causes harm because he hasn't done the training that's not OK with me."
The meeting became quite heated before the vote. Edwards, Schwinge and Smith voted against the motion. Appleton and Lindstrum voted for the motion.
Following is a transcript of the discussion.
Dr. Warren Appleton: Based on multiple recommendations and requests by Ms. Katherine Holstein, supervisor of EMS for the state of Washington Department of Health (DOH) to Chief Jerry Martin of San Juan EMS for primary documentation records, I move that Chief Jerry Martin submit his paramedic education, paramedic skills, maintenance documentation 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 to Ms. Holstien for authentification and verification....That if he fails to submit these documents that he is suspended from clinical practice of paramedicine in San Juan County Hospital District #1 until such documentation is submitted and verified and accepted as factual by Ms. Holstien.
Commissioner Rebecca Smith: I would like ask how we talk about things that we talk about in executive session. I don't understand quite how we do this.
Commissioner Dr. Michael Edwards: It is awkward at best. That said, this topic has been aired in public session. Just the connotation that it was discussed in executive session, cat's out of the bag... Even if this motion passes SJCPHD#1 does not have the authority to preclude someone's practice of paramedicine with a current and established paramedicine certification that doesn't expire until 2020.
Commissioner Dr. Warren Appleton: We do have the authority under the contract to ask for this. It is an issue that the state at least in two different modes has asked for this and an investigation has gone to a point of beyond the initial, I understand from the person who asked for the investigation.
SMITH: Wait a minute, this is outside the motion. This is out of order.
APPLETON: I am talking about why we have an ethical responsibility to do this. We certainly have the right to ask for this. I feel we have an ethical responsibility to ask for this because the public has a right to know that we are concerned about them. My concern as a commissioner is to the public.
I would like everything to work just perfectly with EMS, and Jerry and Sullivan (Dr. Sullivan is the Medical Program Director for San Juan County). That is not the case that is happening. I can't control Sullivan. I have talked to Katie Holstien about this. She has counseled Sullivan. I've talked to Sullivan and counseled him about this. I think his attitude is changing. I don't see much change out of Jerry. I think it is important that we do this and get these records.
SCHWINGE: It is ethical not to make false allegations or allegations without evidence. The state has said they have evidence of his certification. I am really wondering what else is behind this. Is there some unknown enmity about Jerry that is driving this interest or carrying water for some individual? I have a concern there is something more going on here other than licensure. He is legal under CME (continuing medical education). It is well documented. Katie Holstien has said it multiple times. I am not going to make other references in session. If we are going to approach this ethically. We have to do a little soul searching a little self examination and ask what's really behind it.
LINDSTRUM: What's behind it for me is that I have a responsibility to the people of this community and if I think someone is practicing without the training that is my responsibility. If you listen to the tapes at one point, Holstein says being on top of the training and doing more training for an agency like this that doesn't have a lot of exposure - you know they have several calls a day but don't have a lot of opportunities for intubation and things like that.
The DOH has the ability only to enforce minimum standards. So what she was suggesting was that they do more training. They have met the minimum standards. But in this case, she asked him multiple times for this and it is not happening. I have a concern.
SCHWINGE: Does the state say that he is legal?
LINDSTRUM: The state has his paramedic license as legal but he can't prove the training.
APPLETON: Underneath the license.
EDWARDS: Not necessary for him to prove the training.
SMITH: It is not a legal requirement.
LINDSTRUM: The thing is, you guys, if he goes out and intubates someone and he causes harm because he hasn't done the training that's not OK with me. And because we have asked him multiple times to show us that he has done this and he has refused. Dr. Sullivan has asked and DOH has asked. I understand that you are not interested in being responsible or accountable.
SMITH: That's not fair.
EDWARDS: Code of ethics you are not allowed to criticize a fellow commissioner in public.
LINDSTRUM: I apologize. But it seems to me that is the case.
SMITH: If I didn't care. I wouldn't be the chair of this committee trying to solve the problems. Because I disagree with you doesn't mean I don't care about the community.
He was recertified in April 2017.
Dr. Sullivan signed off on it. I don't care how he got that, he signed off on it. He was recertified. We are talking about since April 2017. Katie Holstien was very clear, DOH was very clear that recertifying under CME he does not need to turn in any documentation. There is no legal requirement to do it.
LINDSTRUM: I am tired of this. We are going around in circles. I say we vote so it goes on the record.
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- San Juan Island EMS Chief Martin submits resignation
- Taxpayers footing the legal bill because PHD won't ask EMS Chief for documentation
- Kuetzing chosen to be interim San Juan Island EMS Chief
- State investigating allegation of incompetence, negligence, or malpractice against San Juan Island EMS Chief
- 2 complaints against San Juan Island EMS Chief Martin filed at DOH
- 2 more paid EMTs, 6-month severance for chief included in San Juan Island EMS budget
- Oct. 24: San Juan Island PHD to review report on investigation about a November 2017 EMS run
- PHD to spend $4k to investigate care given by EMS on one run
- Something amiss at SJ EMS - Updated with info from Dr. Sullivan