Brevard County paramedic sentenced for dumping patient onto floor

Video shows stretcher being overturned in Rockledge hospital

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

VIERA, Fla. - A Brevard County paramedic seen on video dumping a patient from a stretcher was sentenced Monday to 12 months of probation.

Kenneth Hallenbeck, who at the time was working as a paramedic for BCFR, pleaded guilty to culpable negligence in the incident, which occurred February 25  in the lobby of the emergency room at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge.  Hallenbeck will also no longer be able to work as a certified EMT.

Authorities said Hallenbeck had asked James Slater, 49, to move from the stretcher to a wheelchair, but Slater refused.

After a verbal altercation, Hallenbeck reached down, grabbed the stretcher, and flipped it over, causing Slater to fall to the ground, officials said.

Earlier this month, the State Attorney's Office in Brevard County released surveillance video of the incident.

"He was screaming, telling me to get off," said Slater in an interview with Rockledge police. "And then he lifted up the whole side and turned it over on top of me."

At a disciplinary hearing in March, Hallenbeck, who was with the BCFR for 11 years, was fired from his position with the county.

Rockledge police ultimately arrested Hallenbeck and charged him with abuse of an elderly or disabled person, but his charges were later reduced to culpable negligence.

"Based on the victim's medical condition, which is confidential, it is unclear if he meets the criteria of a 'disabled adult' necessary to support a felony charge," said Assistant State Attorney Gary Beatty. "Because of this uncertainty, litigation of this matter would likely have prolonged disposition of the case beyond the victim's life expectancy and subjected him to stress that could have aggravated his condition. The misdemeanor charge facilitates a quick resolution of the case that will ensure Mr. Hallenbeck surrenders his paramedics licenses and assures he will not be able to work as a paramedic in the future."

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