PORTLAND, Ore. — As violent incidents become more frequent for paramedics trying to do their job, AMR has rolled out a new course this summer to teach medics self-defense and de-escalation techniques.
In February, a man stabbed a paramedic waiting at a red light and in March a patient carjacked an ambulance while being transported. Sunday, two emergency medical technicians were assaulted in North Portland while treating a woman.
The assault happened shortly after midnight on North Interstate Avenue and North Prescott Street.
Officers said the woman being treated punched one of the EMTs, and then a different person rode up on a bike and pepper-sprayed the other medic.
The pepper-spray suspect rode away on a bike and hasn't been found. The woman, identified as Tracy Casey, who punched one of the medics was taken into custody. Casey did not appear for her arraignment hearing in court on Monday. There was a warrant issued for her arrest for not appearing to court.
The frequency of incidents is increasing, according to AMR Operations Manager Rob McDonald.
Both paramedics in the incident in North Portland will recover physically from their injuries but McDonald worries about their mental and emotional health.
"They want to care or that person in crisis but then to go out and find themselves in situations where they have to defend themselves," said McDonald. "While they're trying to do the right thing - it's really hard and there's a lot of heartache over that."