Most of the people who work in medicine are full of love for their fellow humans and feel it’s their calling in life to help others in times of medical need. Whether working as a doctor, nurse, surgeon or a first responder, few things are more satisfying and meaningful than saving someone’s life.
When one east Tennessee paramedic named Gordon Brett Stokes bragged openly on social media about having a drill and not being scared to use it, it raised some serious alarm bells which ultimately saw his paramedic license revoked indefinitely.
The whole story surrounding Stokes has raised some very uncomfortable questions about the process paramedics need to go through to qualify. When Stokes took to Facebook, bragging that he had intentionally drilled into a patient’s bone without anesthesia, he told other paramedics at the time that this was a”teachable moment” on how to deal with troublesome patients.
Stokes reportedly told a fellow first responder to insert a breathing tube into a patient’s nose coated with alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead of lubricant. That would be very painful for a patient who needed a breathing tube to survive and could be considered a type of torture. But Stokes made his intentions abundantly clear when he wrote on Facebook during the procedure.
The post, which was seen by all of Stokes’ social media friends, was shocking to its core. “If you should ever find yourself drunk in my ambulance, do not become belligerent,” he wrote. “I have a drill and I ain’t scared for a second to use it.” This man had a history of abusing patients and something needed to be done fast to stop him. But Stokes claimed he did nothing wrong when he showed other paramedics how to drill into a patient’s bone marrow.
Suing The State
According to Stokes, who was attending an emergency call for a drug overdose in Blount County, his intentions were twisted by the Tennessee Board of Emergency Medical Services to make him appear negligent and even psychotic. Stokes claims, according to a report in the Tennessean, that he was legitimately attempting to help the overdose patient at the time by injecting drugs into his bone and clearing his airway. He is now suing the state for revoking his license.
To Stokes, the whole thing was a witch hunt against him which he claims was unfounded. “It’s ridiculous. This was all a little witch hunt they did off a stupid Facebook post,” Stokes told The Tennessean. “I was trying to teach them something. I don’t know if they weren’t interested in learning or trying to save their skin, but needless to say, the whole thing came back and bit me in the a**.”
According to authorities, Stokes knew what he was doing when he carried out the procedures on a patient in the midst of an opioid overdose, who should have been rushed to the hospital for treatment. The fact that Stokes instructed two less experienced medical technicians to carry out the procedures simply made matters even worse. Stokes claims it was all part of an on-the-job “training drill” he was doing for his colleagues.
But Stokes couldn’t explain away his intentions so easily when it came to the caption he added to the photo of that patient on Facebook. Why he posted a picture of a patient being treated for an overdose in the first place is anyone’s guess, but the caption was simply shocking. “I actually like the drill and ‘forgot’ the lidocaine bolus for this (expletive). Lubed his (nasopharyngeal airway) with alcohol hand sanitizer too. :-)” he wrote.
Stokes admitted to posting the image and caption on Facebook but claimed that it was simply “ridiculous bravado” that did not accurately represent what occurred during the incident. He also said he had been a paramedic for 14 years and wanted his license back so he could practice in the future as a nurse. But after bragging openly about abusing a patient simply for fun, it’s questionable whether he will ever get a job as a nurse anywhere.
While records show that the overdose patient was already wearing a neck and back brace from a previous injury, Stokes thought this was a good opportunity to teach his colleagues a drill lesson. They told him at the time that the patient was clearly in the midst of an “obvious overdose” and that there was no time to “conduct class.” But Stokes proceeded with the class and paid no attention to their advice.
When Stokes instructed his junior colleagues to inject the patient’s leg with Narcan, a drug used to reverse opioid effects, it was the wrong thing to do anyway. But Stokes defended his actions during that incident saying the injection was necessary and safely performed. He even thought he might be saving the patient’s life.
To Stokes’ mind, he was doing this patient who was overdosing a great favor. Stokes believed that the patient’s life was at risk and felt he had no choice but to carry out the procedure at the time. “At this point, this guy was not going to die,” Stokes said. “So I thought it was a great training opportunity for these guys.”
Following the unnecessary bone marrow injection, Stokes told his colleagues to insert a breathing tube into the patient’s nose. The colleague initially questioned this request insisting that the patient “had a good airway.” To that, Stokes simply replied, “that he would explain later.” What happened next was even more disturbing though.
The colleague smothered the nasal tube in lubricant as is standard practice. But at that point, and for reasons still unknown, Stokes told his colleague to remove the lubricant and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. He told the EMT’s with him that this had been a “teachable moment on how to deal with belligerent patients,” even though the patient hadn’t been belligerent at all.
Stokes claimed that his “teachable moment” was in relation to how to deal with a drug overdose and had nothing to do with a belligerent patient. He also claimed that he was simply teaching his colleagues that hand sanitizer could be used instead of lubricant in a case where paramedics had none. But why did he make them use it when the right lubricant was at hand?
In trying to defend and explain his actions, Stokes said that he learned the technique during his time working as an Army surgeon in Afghanistan. “I was taught that technique by an Army surgeon in Afghanistan,” Stokes said. “Everybody thinks that’s the craziest s*** in the world, but it’s actually not.” Stokes has been called “reckless and macho” for his actions, which led to his license being taken away.
The case against Stokes is clear-cut in many ways. When the Tennessee Department of Health petitioned to revoke Stokes’ paramedic license in September, government attorney Paul Richardson explained that the decision had been “unanimously approved” by all the members of the Emergency Medical Services Board. Stokes didn’t even bother showing up for the hearing which also worked against him.
While he didn’t attend the hearing, Stokes did write to the board, telling them to remove his license and to render it “null and void.” In a sick display of more senseless and macho behavior, Stokes claimed he now had no interest in being a paramedic at all and didn’t care in the slightest if his license was revoked.
In the email Stokes sent to the Emergency Medical Services Board he wrote: “I have absolutely no interest in working as a paramedic again. Please mark me as never being eligible to reapply in case nostalgia gets the best of me.” But Stokes’ defensiveness won’t help him much as his license has been taken away and likely will never be returned.
Stokes still wants to stay in medicine, even if he cannot work as an EMT. When state officials received the letter from him, they felt he was happy for his license to be revoked. However, according to Stokes, he was asking for a “null and void” finding to be able to work as a nurse in later life. A complete revocation would prevent him from doing that.
This shocking story highlights the negligence that patients across the world face on a daily basis from medical professionals who favor their own agenda over the health of the people they are treating. While the case of Gordon Stokes is an extreme one, it does teach patients an important lesson when it comes to emergency medical procedures carried out by people who are not doctors.
Paramedic Loses License After Hurting Patients On Purpose Then Bragging About It On Social Media is an article from: LifeDaily