A few thoughts I had while reading “Which Liability?” from theHappyMedic:
As much as I would like to have it where we arrange alternative transportation, it is probably a generation out of reach. We currently lack the education to be able to accurately determine that the headache the patient is calling for isn’t the beginning of a CVA, or that the reason they got dizzy for a split second wasn’t because of an aberrent rhythm. We only possess the basic knowledge and equipment to diagnose, treat/stabilize, and transport a very narrow range of medical conditions.
So what should change here? Education. The standards to become a paramedic must be higher, and hopefully with a federal agency for EMS some universal standards will finally be set, and enforced. It amazes me how to get SAFER or Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) fund that fire departments were required to train everyone is the now widely defunct NIMS Plan and were able to do so with amazing speed. Without federal EMS representation, I don’t believe we can ever set a universal standard.
Funny how this is becoming a reality, and post-9/11 I wrote a draft law in high school focusing on universal certifications and standards to allow interstate response without the need for emergency clearance for those coming in to help.
The newest EMS buzz is back on Detroit, after six people were shot and after they called for help and no one was available, drove to a police station. I think the issue is larger than just liability.
Mismanagement runs deep in Detroit, and they have been running with 18 ambulances when they are authorized 22. Most of them, according to the article, were handling non-emergency transports at the time of the call. I remember a change in response several years ago by Cleveland, OH EMS, that they would only respond to non-emergency calls when they had so many ambulances in service. If there is no funding for more crews in Detroit right now, perhaps a change in response is necessary to alieviate the strain.
I think the issue is: what are you willing to pay to public safety? Detroit has an answer that seems to comply with only the bare minimum to say they have a municipal ambulance service in a major metro area, but because of lack of equipment and personnel it is barely enough to get by.
In the mean time, the safety of the public doesn’t appear to be worth much to the City of Detroit, and so long as the politicians keep getting elected and they keep getting their kickbacks, people will continue to die there.