South Carolina health regulators have suspended a Dorchester County paramedic for a year after he admitted going into a restaurant and getting food while responding to a call.
Documents made public last week show the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) found Steven Starr guilty of misconduct earlier this year for a January incident. DHEC administrators suspended Starr’s paramedic certificate for a year.
According to a consent order, Starr was working on-call with the Dorchester County EMS when his ambulance was dispatched to a patient who had suffered a fall. At first, Starr’s partner notified a dispatcher they were on their way. But the order states Starr turned the wrong direction and instead stopped at a restaurant, where he went inside and picked up food he had ordered. Starr then returned to the ambulance and continued on towards the patient.
The order said a supervisor ended up arriving on the scene first. The supervisor cared for the patient and canceled the ambulance before it could reach the patient.
DHEC said Starr’s actions amounted to misconduct because they caused an “unreasonable delay” during the emergency call.
“Time is of the essence with a serverely injured trauma patient,” the order states. “The one hour following sustaining a traumatic injury is the time period in which the highest likelihood hat emergency medical treatment will prevent death or serious physical disability.”
In addition to his suspension, Starr is required he take an ethics and leadership course before he could get his license restored. He agreed to — and signed — the consent order.