The selectmen held a disciplinary hearing yesterday into the actions of Epsom fire captain Floyd Graham, who is accused of treating a minor with a saline IV while off-duty and without physician oversight. After treating the minor with a saline IV in Chichester, Graham failed to notify anyone in his department, or document the incident.
Due to the patient’s age, officials cannot disclose the details of the incident, including why the IV was administered.
Graham’s case is currently being reviewed by the New Hampshire Emergency Medical Services board.
At issue is whether an off-duty firefighter can treat individuals in non-emergency situations without physician oversight, and if Graham’s use of Epsom medical supplies outside town and his failure to document the incident are grounds for disciplinary action.
Following yesterday’s hearing, the selectmen can either decide that they have sufficient information to judge whether or not to discipline Graham for his actions, or that they need to convene another hearing. “We’re more like arraignment than a trial,” said Tony Soltani, counsel to the selectmen.
Selectwoman Joni Kitson recused herself from the hearing.
“It was nothing more than a saline IV, which is medically nothing more than a glass of water,” Michael Callahan, Graham’s attorney, said at the hearing.
According to Graham, there are instances in which he can perform medical treatment while off-duty, without a physician’s supervision. He cited hiking a mountain and encountering a fellow hiker in need of treatment as an example.
Callahan called on the selectmen to defer to the EMS board on whether Graham’s actions were grounds for disciplinary action. There is no date set for the EMS decision.
But John Krupski, whom the town of Epsom retained as special counsel to the investigation into Graham’s actions, argued that had something gone wrong with Graham’s off-duty treatment, the town could be held responsible. “That may render the town open to liability,” said Krupski. “Inserting an IV is an invasive procedure. It’s easy in the afterthought to say no harm, no foul.”
Graham, a 17-year veteran of the department, is also accused of falsifying his time card, using fire department property for personal use, and failing to report for work when on duty. Krupski alleged that Graham had keys to the time clock, and that he altered time entries for his own personal benefit. According to Callahan, his client “expressly denies” the charge.
On one occasion, Graham is accused of being out of the station while on duty, and failing to respond to a call. Graham claimed that his cell phone, pager, and radio were all not working at the time. Callahan plans to call witnesses, including members of the Epsom fire department, in future hearings.