Naples paramedic battery highlights risk

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 18:22:45-04

A paramedic who was trying to subdue an intoxicated patient became the victim of battery from the person she was trying to help Thursday morning. According to a Naples Police report, Oleta Willis, 48, struck paramedic technician Shaun Noeske in the shoulder with a closed fist after breaking free of her restraints.

The report said that Willis was extremely drunk when she was brought to the emergency room at Naples Community Hospital, and was so combative that she had to be restrained. Noeske told police her shoulder was still in pain when they arrived on scene, but didn't believe it was dislocated.

"There's very rare situations where the patient actually gets aggressive while we're already on scene," said Jorge Aguilera, assistant chief of EMS for North Collier Fire and Rescue.

He said that in cases in which a subject is aggressive, a paramedics will stand down until police get the situation under control.

"Once they deem that situation safe and under control, then they radio for fire and rescue to go in," Aguilera said.

But in a situation in which the subject is brought to an emergency room for treatment before police are called, a violent encounter with a drunk patient can be hard to predict.

"That's unfortunately one of the things that we have to deal with when we do this kind of business," Aguilera said.

Fox 4 called NCH to see if they were reviewing the situation, and considering any procedural changes as a result. We are still waiting for a response.

Aguilera said that while the focus for paramedics will always be medical first response, sometimes the response isn't always welcome.

"We get paid to go to unusual and sometimes very unsafe situations," he said. "That's what we do for a living."

The Collier County Sheriff's Office took Willis into custody after she was treated at the ER.