To the Editor:
On Sept. 16, 2021, I had severe abdominal pain and vomiting which woke me up at 5 a.m. My husband was helping my daughter pack her father’s belongings near Vichy after he passed and I went along to do what I could do to help, which ended up being very little. I was told to go lay down and try to get some rest.
Later that afternoon the pain became unmanageable and my husband suggested we seek medical attention. So we headed towards St. Marys Hospital in Jefferson City. I vomited once more and my husband said he was going to stop by the ambulance shed in Belle to see if they couldn’t give me something for the nausea.
He went in and I stayed in the truck. Several minutes later he came out with two EMT’s and motioned me to get out of the truck. Without introducing himself one of the EMT’s said to me, “So you want to take an ambulance ride?’ I looked at my husband and he was nodding his head yes, so I replied, “Yes, I do.” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Well just so you know, you aren’t getting any DOPE!!!”
I felt that he had already judged me without even getting to know anything about me. He said, “Let’s go.” As I got on the gurney all kinds of emotions were going through my head — hurt, anger, and humiliation. I realized that I had two witnesses, my husband and the other EMT, so I decided I should introduce myself and ask him his name, he told me it was John, I told him it was nice to meet him. As we were in route to the hospital, I was reminded by this EMT whose job is to comfort and reassure me that I was in good hands and had nothing to worry about, I meant what I said, “You aren’t getting any DOPE.”
I replied you don’t know anything about me and I don’t even know your name. He told me, “My name is Tim.” I preceded to inform Tim that I owned my own business in Owensville, Absolutely No Place Like Home, which took care of the elderly and disabled in their own homes. I had nurses who set up my clients medicines on a weekly basis and therefore would appreciate it if he would call it pain meds and not DOPE. I wanted this man who had already decided I was a drug addict to know a little about who I was. So I shared how I was the founder of Prodigal Child Recovery, which was started after I lost my oldest son to an accidental fentanyl overdose July 2020.
He acted like he hadn’t heard a word I had just said which made me sad and I began to cry. I believe he thought the tears were because of the severe pain I was enduring and says, “I’m going to give you the DOPE, which do you want morphine or fentanyl?’ Seriously! This EMT just offered me fentanyl a very addictive drug right after I just explained I had lost my son because of this drug!!!
I had already asked to him to refer to it as pain meds rather than DOPE. I asked if there was a way he could give me just enough morphine to take the edge off until I got to the hospital. He told me the usual dose administered was 10mg, but he would give me 4mg, so I agreed to that.
After administering the morphine, he proceeds to tell me he gave 5mg. I guess I gave him a look that made him aware I wasn’t happy. So he tells me he’s going to tell me a joke and says to me, “Confucius says it is easier for a woman to run with dress up, than man with pants down.”
I had already made it very clear that I was a Christian being used in the ministry and this supposed to be professional EMT tells me a dirty joke!!! I’m sorry to say but this man was way out of line and this kind of treatment to patients in severe pain is unacceptable.
I got released from St. Marys Hospital and the very next afternoon the pain returned with a vengeance and my husband was close to Vichy and my first instinct was to call 911 and request an ambulance, but thinking about my last ambulance ride from Ozark Central out of Belle brought me to a panic attack and I called my husband to take me instead. It’s pretty sad that because of the traumatic experience I endured previously although I knew I needed an ambulance I could not bring myself to call 911 and take the chance of another bad experience with EMT Tim.
I have since found two other women this has happened to by the very same person. It’s sad to say, but I will never feel comfortable calling Ozark Central Ambulance even if it’s life threatening as long as Tim is employed there. I was also informed by a friend of mine that is a nurse that 5mg of morphine was way too much, so I contacted St. Mary’s Hospital and asked if they could tell me how many milligrams of morphine they had administered the first day and was told 2mg. I’m asking for the support of the citizen’s in Belle to go with me when I meet Darren, who is Tim’s Supervisor.
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