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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber britfan1's Avatar
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    Default New EMT convicted in fatal prank

    This one almost defies belief...

    New EMT convicted in fatal prank
    Though warned, he shocked a co-worker with a defibrillator

    BY REX BOWMAN
    TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

    Jan 24, 2006

    LEBANON -- Joshua Philip Martin was in his fourth day on the job as a rescue-squad worker in Russell County when, in a playful mood, he decided to reach into the front seat of the ambulance and zap one of his co-workers with the defibrillator paddles. The rookie's mistake was fatal.

    Yesterday, in Russell Circuit Court, a judge convicted Martin, 25, of involuntary manslaughter, warning the burly but pink-faced young man that when he returns to court in March, he likely will be sent to prison. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years.

    The target of Martin's prank was Courtney Hilton Rhoton, a 23-year-old mother of two small children who had worked her way through school to become an emergency medical technician. She went into cardiac arrest seconds after Martin placed the paddles on her chest and shoulder. Three days later, on June 4, she died.

    After watching bailiffs lead Martin off to jail yesterday, the mothers of Rhoton and Martin stood at opposite ends of a narrow courthouse hallway and wept, one for the loss of her daughter, the other for the fate of her son. All agreed Martin had meant no harm, though none derived comfort from the thought.

    "If they just knew Josh!" his mother, Diana White, exclaimed between sobs. "He just made a mistake. Everybody plays on the job, even cops. But with this one, it caught up. He's going to pay for it for the rest of his life."

    "He was just playing around," Martin's aunt, Karen Martin, said. "Anybody who knows him knows this was not intentional."

    Rhoton's mother, Sandra Davenport, could not summon words to express her grief, except to say: "Everybody loved her."

    In the courtroom minutes earlier, Martin had stood with his hands deep in his pants pockets and pleaded no contest to the charge against him, allowing Russell prosecutor Mike Bush to summarize the evidence without calling witnesses. According to Bush, if the case had gone to trial, a witness would have testified that Martin, an EMT, was in the back of a Highlands Ambulance Service ambulance on June 1 when he first picked up the paddles of the manual defibrillator.

    Defibrillators are used to restore heartbeats, but they can also stop a heart. Martin, though an EMT, was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it is not something to play with, Bush said.

    Rhoton was in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, and driver Michael Coleman was heading south on U.S. 19 in Lebanon when Coleman heard Rhoton tell Martin not to touch her "with that," Bush said. Coleman looked back to see Martin putting the paddles away.

    But shortly afterward, Bush said, Coleman heard the "sound of a shock" and heard Rhoton yell: "Oh my God, Mike, he shocked me!" Seconds later she stiffened and then went limp. Coleman frantically tried to hold her slumping body up while driving and calling the private ambulance company's office.

    Rhoton, who had been an EMT for one year, never regained consciousness. She left behind two children, Christopher and Tamra, now 6 and 4.

    Yesterday, the families of the two EMTs passed each other in the hallway as they left the courtroom.

    Rhoton's sister, Chanda Lawson, 30, expressed bitterness as she watched the Martin family cry: "They're crying because he's going to jail, but my sister's not coming back."

    Karen Martin overheard the comment and blurted out: "Josh is a good kid! A good kid!"


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by britfan1
    Karen Martin overheard the comment and blurted out: "Josh is a good kid! A good kid!"[/COLOR][/B]
    Ya, just not real smart.

    I must admit there were several folks whom I went through my EMT course with that I would not anywhere near me during a medical emergency.

    Two children are left without thier mother because he is to immature to function with any responsibility what so ever.
    Warm Regards,
    Shawn Stoner
    EMT-B

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSTONER
    Ya, just not real smart.

    I must admit there were several folks whom I went through my EMT course with that I would not anywhere near me during a medical emergency.

    Two children are left without thier mother because he is to immature to function with any responsibility what so ever.
    Yep. Reminds me of someone I am taking EMT classes with right now. Fortunately he doesn't run with our squad.

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Anyone with more than 3 brain cells knows you do not "play" with a defibrillator.

    The stupid bahstid will get what he deserves.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Many lives destroyed by a senseless act of stupidity.
    He didn't mean to do it?
    Well, that's why he was charged and convicted of "involuntary" manslaughter.
    Basically, it's a "whoops" with some serious consequences...
    Just for idiots like Joshua Philip Martin. I don't doubt that he was a "good" kid; just not real bright.
    Sad.
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    Forum Member FyrGuy176's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    If someone that dumb and immature can get through, imagine what kind of disservice they would do to the public that trusts in their abilities. Maybe the EMT test is too easy!
    Marc S.
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    Solon Local 2079

    (Previously posted as Hobbitt. Registered December '02,)

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    This whole story is just shocking......

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    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    The stupid bahstid will get what he deserves.
    Cap, I've got to respectfully disagree.

    If he had been shooting a gun into the air and the bullet hit someone on the way down, he would have probably faced a murder charge. This guy didn't shoot randomly, he aimed the weapon.

    What really galls me was the "He didn't mean to do it." He didn't mean to kill her, but he certainly meant to do it.

    He will still be a young man when he gets out and those babies still won't have their mother.

    Nope, he didn't get what he deserved, he got of way too easy.

  9. #9
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    There but for the grace of God have none of the stupid pranks that I have seen in the firehouse or the Marines lead to anyone's death.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Forum Member BruenRescue2003's Avatar
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    "Martin, though an EMT, was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it is not something to play with, Bush said."

    How are you an EMT and not qualified to use a defibrillator or understand what it does to the heart? What state is this in?
    New York State EMT-B

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    Yes this definetly falls under the category of "stupid is as stupid does"
    I would be real interested in which state this is also. An EMT that isn't qaulified to use a defibrilator brings up some serious questions about their training and testing requirements......Remind me not to have a heart attack in this state

  12. #12
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbradc
    Yes this definetly falls under the category of "stupid is as stupid does"
    I would be real interested in which state this is also. An EMT that isn't qaulified to use a defibrilator brings up some serious questions about their training and testing requirements......Remind me not to have a heart attack in this state
    The county/town is in south west Virginia. The guy would have been trained in use of a defibrilator as an EMT.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    In Ohio, EMT-B is only trained in the use of an AED, not a manual defibrilator. I assume he was using a manual unit.

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    "Martin, though an EMT, was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it is not something to play with, Bush said."

    Maybe he was trained to use it (EMT-B class ) but had not yet met his department qualifications on using it......none the less he knew it was not something to be played with and surely knew the consequences of using it on a beating heart

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    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    This whole story is just shocking......
    Pardon the pun.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

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    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  16. #16
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    You can't test out stupid.

    Involuntary manslaughter is the proper charge, because while there was no intent to kill someone, he knew or should have known the activity (shocking them) was reckless and dangerous.

    Voluntary manslaughter, 2nd & 1st degree murder require intent to kill someone. Those, of course, are the general definitions an the mileage in your state may vary a bit.

    =====================
    I sure hope the quotes from his family where a bit edited. Yes, it's nice he's a good boy. But for goodness sakes, express sympathy to victim first, and disappointmen that he took these actions second, before you even get to the "good kid" part.

    Papers in MA over the last few days had quotes about a 16 y/o "Good Boy" from Plymouth (who was a high school dropout with a lengthy court history, caught in the act of breaking into a liquor store at 3am, and shot and killed by police while ramming cruisers in a getaway attempt). And a "Good Mother" whose two kids where found home alone in there cribs by FFs when food on the stove set off the fire alarm at 11:30 in the evening. Oh, "Good Mom" wasn't home and didn't come home until the next afternoon...

    What the hell is people's definition of "good" these days?

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFD840
    Cap, I've got to respectfully disagree.

    If he had been shooting a gun into the air and the bullet hit someone on the way down, he would have probably faced a murder charge. This guy didn't shoot randomly, he aimed the weapon.

    What really galls me was the "He didn't mean to do it." He didn't mean to kill her, but he certainly meant to do it.

    He will still be a young man when he gets out and those babies still won't have their mother.

    Nope, he didn't get what he deserved, he got of way too easy.
    You are right. He should do more than 10 years in prison.

    He should be forced to carry a picture of Courtney Hilton Rhoton and her two kids for the rest of his life as a reminder of the family his stupidity destroyed.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    He should be forced to carry a picture of Courtney Hilton Rhoton and her two kids for the rest of his life as a reminder of the family his stupidity destroyed.
    Amen.

    To the folks questioning the 'not trained in its use' statement, I'm sure they're talking about a manual defib. As a basic, he wouldn't have been taught to use it. It couldn't have been an AED, you cannot make them deliver a manual shock.

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    Some are capable of both, and require a key to be operated in manual mode. Usually, this key is carried by paramedics only.
    Pitiful...just pitiful.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MrYuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbradc
    "Martin, though an EMT, was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it is not something to play with, Bush said."

    Maybe he was trained to use it (EMT-B class ) but had not yet met his department qualifications on using it......none the less he knew it was not something to be played with and surely knew the consequences of using it on a beating heart
    Not sure how it is in other states bit in Texas, an EMT-B can only use a AED or SAD, not a full defibrillator. A basic may use the monitor to check the heart etc but can not use the paddels until you have reached at leat the Intermediate or Paramedic level.

    Playing around at the station is one thing as long as it will not endanger anyone. I have a personel rule when I play pranks at the station. I will never never mess with ones helmet and never do anything to bunker gear that would put the firefighter in danger if they happened to need it while the prank was being played. This guy was an absolute moron and deserves to spend his life behind bars. Maybe someone should use the paddles on him, see if he likes it.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
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