EUGENE, Ore. – Eugene Springfield Fire is weighing all the options ahead of PeaceHealth's plan to stop providing medication to them through their Pyxis systems.
Under the current system, paramedics can access PeaceHealth's Pyxis system, which is an automated medication dispenser. By using their thumbprint for security, first responders take the amount of medicine they need to replenish supplies on their emergency vehicles.
In September 2019, former Eugene Springfield paramedic Edward Blake was accused of drugging and raping a woman. Prosecutors say Blake raped a second woman beginning in 2017, but it's not clear if she was also drugged.
Typical drugs carried in emergency vehicles include fentanyl, midazolam, and ketamine. Although court documents do not specify where Blake allegedly acquired the drugs involved in the case, the documents do allege that he used fentanyl and midazolam against at least one of the women.
In a statement PeaceHealth said they have decided to end the practice of allowing EMS personnel to access their Pyxis systems starting in June. They said it comes in light of recent local and national cases of illegal drug theft involving EMS personnel employed by outside agencies.
PeaceHeath said they made the decision after thoughtful consideration and discussion with their EMS partners and are working closely with them to find an alternative source for these important, potentially life-saving medications.
EMS chief JoAnna Kamppi said they first learned about the change in the fall.
Kamppi said they still hope to work with PeaceHealth to get medications and are all looking at options. One would include doing all pharmaceutical ordering in-house and holding on to the supplies themselves. Kammpi said they are looking at ways to securely store medications and exploring where to keep them.
They already have the ability to buy medications and have had to in the past when there was shortages. She said they may look at buying a machine similar to Pyxis but says that could be expensive.
Blake faces multiple felonies, including rape, sodomy and strangulation.
In a statement, Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Chris Heppel called the recent arrest and charges filed against a former Eugene Springfield Fire employee deeply disturbing. He said they are actively supporting the criminal investigation and working closely with their regulatory partners to ensure their pharmaceuticals are secure, safe, and appropriately administered every day.