August 23, 2017

** Legal Aid application turned down for disgraced Nova Scotia paramedic appealing sexual assault convictions

** Fentanyl abuse scandal involving Victoria, Australia paramedics a fallacy, union claims

CANADA NEWS

** A disgraced former Nova Scotia paramedic, convicted of sexually assaulting female ambulance patients, has had his request for funding for his appeal denied. That is the word from Global News (January 20) which said Nova Scotia Legal Aid declined to handle the case, saying the matter was without merit. According to the newspaper, James Duncan Keats, 52, attempted to argue that he was broke and incapable of handling his own appeal because he suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder. The court, however, disagreed, saying he was completely competent. Keats was convicted in December 2015 of groping two female patients. He had originally been charged the previous year with 5 counts of sexual assault. One case was dropped, two resulted in acquittals, while 2 brought about the October 2016 sentence of 30 months in prison. He was already serving 4 years for the 2013 sexual assault of the wife of an elderly Annapolis Valley patient.

AUSTRALIA NEWS

** The union representing Victoria’s EMS practitioners has taken exception to a report claiming 10 Geelong paramedics were disciplined or fired due to fentanyl abuse. That is the word from The Daily Telegraph (AP/January 19) which quoted Ambulance Employees Australia secretary Steve McGhie as saying the claim was untrue. McGhie said the ten individuals cited were questioned due to other violations of the service’s professional code of conduct. Resignations and disciplinary measures were, however, the result of the questioning. Although failing to specify the nature of the breaches, McGhie did admit six paramedics had become addicted to fentanyl in the past few years. He said most of this group suffered from mental health problems brought about by PTSD and other stressers. Ambulance Victoria, meanwhile, said the problems with the above mentioned paramedics had not negatively impacted patient care.

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