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EMT CHARGED IN SEX ABUSE OF PATIENTS

Police are looking for an emergency medical technician charged with sexually abusing patients at Alta View Hospital in Sandy while he was on duty.

David L. Sandstrom, 31, allegedly fondled a 15-year-old girl who came to the hospital suffering from an asthma attack on March 30, according to charges filed Wednesday in 3rd Circuit Court.The girl told detectives a man first touched her under her clothing during what he called an "examination," then returned a few minutes later and fondled her again.

"After she had been released by her doctor, (Sandstrom) again came to her room and stated he needed to continue his examination of her," the charges state.

Later in the day, the man went to the home of another woman he had met at the hospital and fondled her, according to the charges. The woman had been treated at the hospital after being injured in a traffic accident and was on pain medication.

"We're appalled," said Alta View administrator Wesley B. Thomp-son. "We feel strongly that those who hold a public trust - as health-care providers do - need to maintain professional standards of conduct. These charges are especially discouraging because they counter all of the efforts made by each of our employees to earn the public's trust."

Thompson said officials fired Sandstrom as soon as they learned of the charges.

The man began working full time in Alta View's emergency room eight months ago, said spokesman Jess Gomez. His primary duty was to assist nurses in caring for patients, but he was not authorized to perform medical examinations.

The hospital checked Sandstrom's references and credentials before hiring him but did not perform a criminal background check, Gomez said. "We don't do that for any prospective employees."

He said federal law prevented him from releasing details about the man's work history.

Sandy police detectives have been looking for Sandstrom since learning of the alleged abuse from the parents of the victims two weeks ago. "We just haven't been able to locate him. We've tried several times," said Sgt. Mark Nosak.

He said the man was not being investigated for any other allegations of abuse. "He has some family members in the area, so we're hopeful they can be of assistance."

Sandstrom is the second Salt Lake-area EMT recently charged with sex-related assaults.

Michael Scott DeCorso, an EMT for Gold Cross ambulance, faces rape, attempted murder, sodomy and kidnapping charges related to two separate incidents. He was not on duty at the time of his alleged crimes.