State recommends suspension of Lexington Firefighters EMT licenses

In the most recent developments to result from the EMT license scandal, the Massachusetts Department of Health has recommended that 6 Lexington firefighters lose their emergency medical technician licenses for an unspecified time period One EMT trainer faces revocation of his license and his certification to train emergency personnel.

From Boston.com:

The state Health Department has recommended that six Lexington firefighters temporarily lose their emergency medical certification as part of an investigation into recertification practices, Town Manager Carl Valente said Monday. A seventh firefighter, 24-year department veteran Mark Culleton, faces revocation of his EMT certification and his license to train emergency personnel.

But Valente said that there are more than enough other firefighters with the proper emergency certification to keep the town’s two ambulances in service.

“We have enough paramedics so we can easily staff the ambulances,” said Valente.

Valente said one of the six firefighters involved in the state investigation is paramedic certified and five have EMT basic certification. But 26 of the department’s 57 employees are paramedic certified and the rest are have EMT basic certification.

Valente said the state actions would take effect July 1 unless a worker files an appeal.

The town manager said the state has informed the town about its intentions but officials are awaiting formal notification.

The state actions come amid a wide-reaching investigation into how EMTs and paramedics have obtained re-certification. State health investigators are alleging that instructors – including Culleton – approved EMTs and paramedics for re-certification even though they didn’t take the required courses.

Some 200 emergency workers face losing their certification for up to nine months under plans outlined last week by state health officials.

Culleton is still employed by the department, Valente said. His attorney Richard Kendall of North Reading said last week that the firefighter is appealing the state actions.

Kendall said an appeal could take nine months to a year.

Valente said the town is conducting its own investigation into Culleton’s activities and it is expected to be finished “within the next few days.” The town is also conducting its own investigation into the other six firefighters.

The town will await the conclusion of the investigations before decided what personnel actions to take, Valente said.

Culleton trained Lexington paramedics and EMTs in addition to providing classes through his own Billerica-based firm – Life Saving Maneuvers.

About Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

John MacLaughlan is Massachusetts licensed attorney as well as a Boston police officer. John is currently assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unit). He is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Labor Law. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John has taught Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Use of Force, Applied Patrol Procedures, and Police Response to Active Shooters to sworn police officers and police academy recruits. Prior to becoming a Boston Police Officer, John served for 9 years as a police officer in Lowell, where he was a member of the Police Dive Team and Patrol Rifle Team.
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