Crash that injured paramedic in Lexington highlights dangers EMS workers face

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- A paramedic suffered leg injuries Saturday when she and an ambulance were hit by a car in the Walmart parking lot at 160 Lowes Blvd. in Lexington, police say.

Nathan Fowler, 36, of Clemmons, was driving a black Mustang, hit the paramedic around 12:30 a.m. and pinned her between the ambulance and the Mustang, police say.

The Mustang crashed into the yellow cement barriers at the grocery side of Walmart, Fowler went into the store and was arrested in the sporting goods section after officers arrived.

“It can get very dangerous quickly,” said Hank Stowe, who serves as EMS program director at Davidson County Community College.

Officers say Fowler drove his car straight toward a 29-year-old paramedic.

“You can be attacked and with your attention being towards the patient you can get hurt very easily because you don’t expect it,” Stowe said.

Stowe focuses on educating first responders on the dangers.

“One of the first things in there is scene safety,” he said.

In 2014, an estimated 2,600 EMS workers needed hospital treatment for injuries resulting from work-related violence, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They can attack you, hurt you on purpose or by accident. It’s just something you have to try to stay aware of the whole time you’re working the scene,” Stowe said.

Officers are working to figure out why Fowler hit the paramedic. Doctors are hoping to save her severely injured leg.

“The main thing they need to remember is we’re there to help. We’re not there to cause trouble and if they attack us that prevents us from being able to help the people in need,” Stowe said.

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