Florida State Attorney's Office reduces charges of paramedic who flipped cancer patient off stretcher

A Brevard County paramedic, who faced charges for flipping a cancer patient off a stretcher, no longer faces a felony in the case.

Paramedic Kenneth Hallenbeck, 35, was fired in March for tossing 49-year-old patient James Slater onto an emergency room floor in February.

Hallenbeck was initially charged with felony abuse of the elderly or disabled. However, the charge was downgraded to culpable negligence, a misdemeanor.

Police said Hallenbeck was transporting the patient when he allegedly refused to get off the stretcher. Hallenbeck flipped the stretcher and dumped the patient to the floor.

Slater said there were no beds available at the Rockledge, Florida, so he decided to stay lying on the gurney. He mentioned that Hellenbeck lost his temper after a verbal altercation and flung him off the gurney.

In a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Slater said, “He started screaming and then grabbed the gurney and picked it up and threw me on the floor. That's when the guy behind the counter said, 'You need to go call your boss, I have to call the police department.'”

Hallenbeck was fired from his job as a Brevard County Fire and Rescue paramedic, after serving with the agency for 11 years.

The State Attorney's Office reduced his charge as Slater's medical condition doesn't necessarily classify him as a 'disabled adult’. Thus a felony charge isn't supportable.

Hallenbeck is scheduled for a court appearance later this month. Slater said he has retained an attorney. The matter is being looked upon by the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.