By Debbie Hall
The Virginia Office of Emergency Management Services has determined there is no evidence to support a violation of discrimination in patient care after conducting an investigation into complaints lodged last year against Alex McNabb.
The state office received an anonymous online complaint on Nov. 26 that McNabb’s “far rightwing views” on social media should render him unable to perform as an EMT in Virginia, the report stated.
The initial complaint was soon followed by “national media coverage and multiple other complaints concerning the same issue,” the report stated.
The investigation was initiated to determine whether certain Virginia EMS Regulations were violated, specifically that EMS personnel may not discriminate in the provision of emergency medical services based on race, gender, religion, age, national origin, medical condition or any other reason, the report stated.
The probe “focused on a thorough and objective review of all evidence to determine if there were any violations to the department’s discrimination of care policy,” the report stated.
“It needs to be made clear that this was not an investigation of Alex McNabb’s viewpoints, opinions or freedom of speech,” the report stated.
McNabb was placed on unpaid leave from his post at the Jeb Stuart Rescue Squad in early December, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Multiple interviews were conducted in Patrick County on Dec. 14, and many people were interviewed during the investigation, including McNabb, his employer, co-workers, medical director, county Emergency Services coordinator, and the sheriff, the report stated.
When investigators talked to McNabb, he “adamantly denied ever discriminating in his patient care,” the report stated. McNabb’s operational medical director stated he had not received complaints of discrimination or inappropriate patient care; interviews of McNabb’s coworkers at Jeb Stuart Rescue Squad all stated they had never witnessed any discrimination or inappropriate patient care.
“These co-workers all consistently stated they were shocked to find out that Alex McNabb even had these viewpoints,” the report stated.
Derek Wagner, captain of Jeb Stuart Rescue Squad; Steve Allen, Patrick County Emergency Services coordinator and Dan Smith, Patrick County Sherriff each denied receiving any complaints against McNabb, the report stated.
“Additionally, there was an audit of every pre-hospital patient care report that was initiated and or completed by Alex McNabb over the last year. Thirty-nine patient care reports of Alex McNabb were reviewed. None of the patient care reports showed any indications of discrimination or inappropriate patient care. Specifically, this audit identified minority patients and non-minority patients with similar or same chief complaints,” according to the report.
“The care rendered by Alex McNabb of all these patients was compared, to identify any differences in treatment and/or transport decisions; to which no differences were identified and care delivered to all patients was consistent between groups,” the report stated.
“After careful review of all documents, testimony, available information, and regulations governing emergency medical services,” the report stated investigators determined that there is no substantial evidence to support any violation of the EMS Regulations and “no evidence to support a violation of discrimination in patient care.”
“This conclusion is in no way an endorsement of Mr. McNabb’s personal viewpoints. Nor, is this an exoneration from any other policy or procedure set forth by local government or EMS agency of which he is affiliated,” the report concluded.
The case is closed, but the Virginia Office of EMS reserves the right to reopen the investigation “if at any time additional evidence becomes available to indicate a potential violation of the EMS Regulations may have occurred,” the report stated.
For now, McNabb will remain on unpaid leave until the squad’s Board of Directors decide the next step, Wren Williams, attorney for the squad, said.
A meeting of the squad’s board of directors is expected soon to discuss the matter in closed session, Williams said, adding a decision could be reached as early as Sunday, March 10.
McNabb and Wagner did not respond to a request for comment.