FDNY Medic's Tasteless Joke May Cost Him His Job
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
June 27, 2010
NEW YORK – He got punked — by himself.
An EMS lieutenant with a sick sense of humor is likely to lose his FDNY job thanks to a tasteless joke that violated federal medical-privacy law.
Bozo boss Michael Palleschi, 36, posted details online of a 911 call he found hilarious — a woman complaining of a swollen vagina — without redacting the patient’s name and address, sources said.
FDNY top brass found nothing comical about Palleschi’s behavior and pushed to get him fired.
Even as his job hung in the balance, the pudgy prankster got into hot water again — this time for an alleged joke on a teenager in the EMS Explorer program at the Brooklyn EMS station in Canarsie, where Palleschi had been exiled on modified duty, sources said.The juvenile high jinks got Palleschi hauled in for a second investigation, the FDNY said.
An anonymous tipster told the FDNY that, two weeks ago, Palleschi wrote a stickup note demanding cash, then folded it up and passed it to the young Explorer, claiming it was a coffee and bagel order that he should get filled at the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.
According to sources, Palleschi admitted he added a line about a stickup to a coffee order compiled at the station but said he ripped that part off before the Explorer ever left the building to hand it to a Dunkin’ Donuts clerk.
The EMS Explorer program, part of an effort to recruit members into the FDNY, brings in local kids, usually between 16 and 20, from area high schools and colleges to intern at EMS stations.
An FDNY spokesman declined to comment on its problem prankster.
In the first incident, Palleschi took a picture of the computer screen in his ambulance that displays patient names, addresses, medical complaint and other sensitive personal data and uploaded it to his Facebook page because a woman’s description of her swollen vagina amused him, sources said.
It was a serious violation of the strict federal rules — known as HIPAA — that protect the privacy of individual health information and patient confidentiality.
Palleschi’s union head, Vincent Variale, said neither probe had yet returned conclusive evidence that he had done anything wrong. “Investigations are still ongoing, and until they are finished, it would be unfair to draw conclusions,” he said.