Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'Ambulance paramedics are already cautious about which patients they take' -- add false rape claims as another reason to be cautious

Another profession at risk because of false rape claims.

And another man's life is ruined on the basis of an accusation of which he was cleared.

A man need not be sentenced to prison to have his life destroyed by a rape claim. This man lost his job stemming from the allegation.

If you were the employer, would you want him in your ambulance, with the "doubts" about him raised by a rape allegation? I hope the answer is "yes," but I suspect most people would want him to just go away. How terribly sad that a woman or girl can ruin a man's life on the basis of an allegation.


Cleared paramedic fights for his career

Natalie Tkaczuk Sikora

A PARAMEDIC cleared of sexually assaulting a drug-affected patient is shattered that Melbourne's ambulance service won't reinstate him.

Simon Howe, 32, was found not guilty of digital rape and indecent assault by the County Court this week and now wants his job back.

But the Metropolitan Ambulance Service yesterday claimed he was sacked for breaching his employment contract by not filling out an incident report. They said working for the MAS again was not an option.

Mr Howe yesterday said he had proved his innocence in court and was now being put through the added trauma of an unfair dismissal case.

"I'm devastated, shattered, my life has been turned upside down," Mr Howe said yesterday.
"As far as MAS is concerned I was guilty. I have had to pay for the right to prove my innocence and I still have to pay today."

Mr Howe said stricter security measures such as cameras were needed in ambulances to protect paramedics against false allegations or violence.

He said he had held his head high since the complaint, cleared his name and now wanted to get back to work helping people.

"Unfortunately there are more and more reasons for paramedics not to stay on the job," he said.

"Ambulance paramedics are already cautious about which patients they take and have refused to take patients."

The Ambulance Employees union yesterday condemned the MAS for their refusal to reinstate Mr Howe and said he was being victimised and unfairly treated.

They said a second paramedic in the ambulance at the time had not filled out an incident report either but was never disciplined or sacked.

"It's appalling -- the court has found him to be innocent, yet MAS are still treating him like he is a criminal," Ambulance Employees Australia state secretary Steve McGhie said. "They should accept the jury's decision and reinstate him immediately."

Mr Howe was sacked by the MAS in February last year after a 22-year-old drug-affected patient claimed she was assaulted as she was being rushed to hospital at 6.19am on November 5, 2006.

The MAS decided that Mr Howe failed to provide an adequate explanation of the allegations, failed to inform them what had occurred with the patient and did not lodge a report.

A court heard that traces of the drugs ice and GHB were found in the woman's system.

It was told Mr Howe was restraining the female patient because she was behaving erratically. It also heard her memory was scrambled by the drugs.

A MAS spokesman yesterday said they could not comment on the matter further as it was before the courts.

Link: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23748835-2862,00.html