The Fainting Goats of Public Safety

I’m struggling to understand the many posts and stories of LEO’s overcome by trace topical skin exposure to Fentanyl. The typical story line is this stuff is so toxic if it touches you at all you could die. The “victims” wind up getting a lot of paid time off and sympathy.

One of my earliest calls in EMS was to a Baptist church on a Sunday morning. We entered the church and a very large woman was lying on the floor non-responsive. Other women were crowded around her, one of them furiously fanning her face. I could see she seemed to be breathing fine. I shouldered through the crowd and knelt down to take a pulse while asking what happened.

“She fell out” was the reply. I responded, “What did she fall out of?” while scanning around quickly to see if there was a balcony or something she might have fallen from. Boy was I green. Most of you in EMS can probably guess the rest of the story.

More recently I’ve seen FB posts with funny videos of fainting goats. Goats that very similarly to that church lady so long ago, “fall out” with the slightest provocation. I think a version of this behavior is what we are seeing today with these media reports of cops topically exposed to fentanyl.

These LEO’s are the fainting goats of public safety. At least the goats have an excuse, a scientifically explained condition. Notice nobody is pumping them full of Narcan either.

Getting a little Fentanyl on your skin has zero chance of permeating to enter the bloodstream. If it could EMS would be running a whole lot of calls on drug dealers bagging this poison up for retail. It is just nonsense without a shred of clinical evidence backing the claims.

We need to just say no to these hyped up hysterical stories. We have entered the age of The Twilight Zone, a fact free world where truth is not what you can prove but merely what you believe. Medical professionals need to hold themselves to a higher standard. Science demands we stand up to nuttiness.


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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