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Thousands of people sign petition against wording of PTSD bill

HARTFORD -- A bill proposed Monday would provide up to one year of workers’ compensation coverage for police officers, parole officers, professional firefighters and volunteer firefighters suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

More than 4,300 people had signed a petition as of Wednesday night to include EMTs in the wording of the bill.

“We are the ones who are responding to these emergencies treating the patients and getting them to the hospital,” said Dean McMorran Jr., a certified EMT from Ivoryton. “We are the ones sitting in the back of the ambulance holding their hands while they’re dying.”

McMorran said in the last three years, he has lost two EMT friends to suicide.

“We need to let people know that it’s okay to not be okay and not to be afraid to reach out for help and this bill will allow those providers the clinical time they need to get that help,” he said.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities was involved in writing the bill. When asked why EMT workers were left out of the wording, a spokesperson responded with a statement that reads,  “The working group focused on seeking the best possible way to initially provide cost-sustainable benefits and focused on two primary public safety groups — police and fire. We remain open to how the benefits may need to be improved over time.”

“This is not the be all end all,” said State Senator Catherine Osten (D), a co-sponsor of the bill. “It does not cover everybody who needs to be covered in the bill at hand today.”

Osten, a military veteran and former corrections officer, has been working on this bill for six years. She said she plans to put bills forward on a yearly basis and keep adding more people to the bill each and every year.

“I recognize what post traumatic stress is about and I think we should cover everybody across the board,” said Osten.

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