Knox County paramedic Jerry Ethridge says helping others is a passion, but after an incident last July he is taking a stand. "The police were doused with blood. I was covered." While responding to an emergency Ethridge says a man who was HIV positive threw blood on him. "He started clapping his hands when I was about from you to him away, just unexpected. Then he was spewing blood all over us and myself and the four police officers that were there," explains Ethridge.
So what's the problem? Laws protecting paramedics are not the same as those protecting law enforcement officials when incidents like this occur. So, Ethridge decided to ask for help from his State Representative. "We're going to do something to help him because we want to make sure that the people that put their life on the front line are protected. This gentleman was doing his job and as a result, he had some serious physical problems," says Gail Riecken. "i had to take a drug that for twenty-eight days, a provalatic, to try to prevent me from becoming HIV positive. I've been sick, but i've never in my life been this sick," says Ethridge. Gail Riecken says she will do all she can to help other first responders like Ethridge. "What we found out at this point is that as a first responder he is not protected. There is no law that protects him," she adds.Ethridge is happy someone is willing to help him, so he can continue to help others. "If any of my public service brothers get into a similar situation there will be something on the books that says hey, you did this, you're going to be accountable of this by XYZ law."
Just last night police in Evansville arrested a twenty year old man on eleven different charges. One of those counts, 'battery by bodily waste'.