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Paramedic accused of choking woman, 100


A city paramedic has been suspended after an accusation that he choked a 100-year-old nursing home resident who hit him while he was treating her for a hip injury, a fire department spokesman said.

Jeffrey N. Fromm, 35, a city paramedic for 10 years, was suspended indefinitely without pay Thursday while the fire department and the Maryland attorney general's office investigate the incident, spokesman Patrick Flynn said.

Mr. Flynn gave this account:

At 9 p.m. Monday, Mr. Fromm and firefighter Duane E. Ritter arrived at Seton Hill Manor at 501 W. Franklin St. because Hattie McNeal had fallen in her room. When they arrived, Ms. McNeal was lying on the floor covered with a blanket.

When Mr. Fromm examined her, "he hit a tender spot and caused her some pain." She "flailed" her arms, hit him in the head and knocked off his cap.

"His reaction was to grab her with one hand around the neck, and he started choking her," Mr. Flynn said, adding that he didn't know why Mr. Fromm reacted that way.

Mr. Ritter and a nursing home employee pulled him off Ms. McNeal.

Ms. McNeal, a frail woman who wears her gray hair in two thin braids, has been in Maryland General Hospital since Monday because of her hip injury and could not comment.

Seton Hill owner Lorraine Raffel said she called the attorney general's office because state regulations require that any incident of abuse at a nursing home be reported.

Assistant Attorney General Timothy X. Sokas said he has been contacted about the allegations and is in the preliminary stages of an investigation. A grand jury will decide whether charges will be filed, he said.

Mr. Fromm, stationed at Engine Co. 30 in the 3200 block of Frederick Road, was suspended after Battalion Chief Michael Jachelski met with Seton Hill officials Wednesday, Mr. Flynn said. A departmental hearing on the incident is pending, he said.

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