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2 Fired After Tests Find Painkillers Kept on Ambulances Were Diluted

January 16, 2003|From Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A suburban fire chief and a paramedic lost their jobs after tests showed painkillers kept in ambulances had been diluted or in some cases replaced with saline, authorities said Wednesday.

No charges have been filed, but the FBI is testing vials of morphine and Demerol from ambulances in three nearby Missouri communities.

Treating a patient with diluted drugs would probably not be life-threatening, said Gregg Minion, emergency department director at Research Medical Center.

Patty Gentrup, Liberty city administrator, said tests found that morphine and Demerol kept on the city's three ambulances had been diluted. Some of the vials contained only saline.

FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said agents planned to meet with officials in Claycomo and Pleasant Valley. Paramedic Craig Starr, who worked for all three cities involved, was fired in Liberty and suspended in Claycomo and Pleasant Valley.

Liberty Fire Chief Rich Lehmann was fired Tuesday, Gentrup said.

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