Inaction of two first responders may have contributed to Tyre Nichols’ death, state board says
The Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Division determined that JaMichael Sandridge and Robert Long failed to render "any basic or limited advanced skills in emergency care."
The inaction of two first responders may have contributed to Tyre Nichols’ death.
The Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Division determined that JaMichael Sandridge, an advanced emergency medical technician, and Robert Long, his partner, failed to render “any basic or limited advanced skills in emergency care” although Nichols displayed “clear signs of distress,” CNN reported. Last month, the Memphis Fire Department fired both men in connection with their actions at the scene.
Authorities have not filed criminal charges against either man.
The licenses of Long and Sandridge were suspended because they neglected to give Nichols lifesaving treatment after the Jan. 7 beating at the hands of Memphis police officers.
The state board convened on Feb. 3 to act on Sandridge and Long’s licensure status, ruling that the summary suspension will remain in place while the committee makes a longer-term decision.
Board member Dennis Rowe described as “egregious” the behavior of the EMTs. “These actions were negligent,” he said, CNN reported. “There was every reason to believe those actions may have contributed to the demise of that patient.”
A segment of the footage from the beating Nichols endured, which showed the arrival of fire personnel, was played for board members, who were then questioned about whether the behavior of Long and Sandridge warranted a suspension.
According to records from the meeting, Sandridge and Long did not examine Nichols thoroughly within the first 19 minutes of their arrival at the scene, including “obtaining vital signs and conducting a full head-to-toe examination.”
“Patient T.N. did not receive, from Respondent, high-flow oxygen,” according to a document referring to Sandridge’s actions, CNN reported, “did not receive an intravenous line and was not placed on a cardiac monitor for hospital interpretation.”
Long’s suspension document reportedly noted that he failed to administer “high-flow oxygen” to Nichols.
The men’s records also stated that each neglected to “engage his partner at the event location for purposes of taking appropriate action in safeguarding [Nichols] from incompetent health care practices of other emergency medical services personnel.”
Memphis Fire Department Chief Gina Sweat stated in a January news release that an initial investigation found that the two EMTs failed to perform a thorough patient assessment of Nichols after responding based on the first call and information they learned at the scene. During the call, they reportedly heard that a person was pepper-sprayed.
Memphis Fire Fighters Association president Thomas Malone earlier this month defended the terminated employees in a letter to the Memphis City Council this month, claiming his members did not receive sufficient information upon dispatch or arrival on the scene. The association chose not to issue a statement in response to the state board’s findings, CNN reported.
The firings, including that of Lt. Michelle Whitaker who remained in the fire truck when she arrived at the scene, resulted from authorities’ ongoing efforts to hold police officers and other first responders liable for the brutal beating, theGrio previously reported.
Sandridge and Long have reportedly filed to appeal their terminations.
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