City investigates drug-tampering paramedic; sets up disease screening for patients

The Boston Public Health Commission has notified 57 people that they received "compromised" painkillers during ambulance rides in the summer of 2011 with a now suspended paramedic - or in his ambulance.

All 57 patients have been offered free screening for infectious diseases, and the Boston Public Health Commission is running an incident hotline staffed by trained clinicians to answer questions and provide information to these individuals. However, the department is not aware of the suspect having or transmitting an infectious disease to any patients.

The commission says the paramedic has been relieved of duty and that he or she could face criminal charges. Because of the criminal investigation, the commission says it can't say exactly how the emergency worker tampered with fentanyl, lorazepam, midazolam and morphine. The Globe reports incidents of health-care workers stealing powerful painkillers are not uncommon.

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