Its former medical director was arrested Tuesday on drug and gun charges, and Anderson County Emergency Medical Services issued a statement on Wednesday that said most of the medications allegedly found in the home of Dr. Michael A. LaPaglia are not carried by the ambulance service.
The statement also said that the Anderson County EMS medical director is never allowed or provided access to any controlled equipment, supplies, or medications.
“Anderson County EMS has a very solid and concise procedure for controlled substances, with many levels of reporting and accountability,” Director Nathan Sweet said.
Sweet said Anderson County EMS was aware of the doctor’s arrest. LaPaglia faces drug and firearm charges after a search of his house on Fox Cove Road in Knoxville early Tuesday morning allegedly found about 125 marijuana pipes and bongs, more than two pounds of high-grade marijuana, and pills and vials containing liquids commonly used in hospitals, with the medicines ranging from Valium and amphetamine to oxycodone, propofol, and morphine.
“Once we were informed of the situation surrounding Dr. LaPaglia, we felt it to be in the best interest of all parties to discontinue his fulfillment of his position as medical director for Anderson County EMS,” the statement from Sweet said. “We spoke with representatives of Team Health, and upon mutual agreement, Dr. Peter Kah will serve as our interim medical director.”
Sweet said Anderson County EMS does not contract specifically with any one physician but rather with TeamHealth, an organization that has many physicians working throughout the area. Through mutual agreement, that organization and Anderson County EMS appoint a physician within their system as medical director, Sweet said.
LaPaglia has also worked at Methodist Medical Center, but hospital spokeswoman Crystal Jordan said he was employed by TeamHealth, and not MMC.
“He has not provided any contract work at Methodist for a couple of months,” Jordan said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.