CareFlite paramedic, who broadcast on Facebook her urge to slap patient, loses appeal in wrongful termination case

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It seems that slapping a patient being transported for critical care is hardly proper procedure. But that’s what CareFlite paramedic Janis Roberts announced on Facebook was her instinct regarding a difficult patient.

Roberts was warned by a superior that her post to a colleague’s page was inappropriate.

“I just wanted to remind you that the public sees your posts,” CareFlite compliance officer Sheila Calvert told Roberts in a message. “People outside of CareFlite and outside of EMS. In fact, my sister saw your  post to [colleague] Scott Schoenhardt where you stated you wanted to slap a patient and she thought she wouldn’t want anyone such as that taking care of her and made the comment that maybe she didn’t want to renew her CareFlite membership. People you don’t expect to see your posts do.”

"Yeah, whatever," Roberts replied, with the air of someone who didn’t need a job. "YOU weren't there. Whenever I have to have a firefighter ride in with me because of a patient's attitude, and I fear for MY safety, I truly believe a patient needs an attitude adjustment. Think about that the next time YOU correct someone!!"

You probably guessed what was next: Roberts was unemployed. She sued, of course, because this is Texas.

In her appeal she used a case “that considered whether the Texas Public Information Act required disclosure of the birth dates of state employees or whether the information was exempted from disclosure under a provision exempting information from an employee's personnel file,” according to a synopsis of the case on Courthouse News.

After a lower court ruled against her non sequiter citation and claim of invasion of privacy – on the Facebook thing - Roberts found more tough sledding in the appeals court, which denied her appeal.

CareFlite never had to do any digging into Roberts’ file or check out her past; it was there in the public domain, for all to see, on Facebook.

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Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Illustration by flickr user toodlepip, used via a Creative Commons license.

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