And I don’t like it any more now. I wrote about this idea over two years ago, when this blog was pretty new. Like most bad ideas, it just won’t go away.
Some 911 calls in Manhattan will now bring out two ambulances, one hurrying to the scene and one lagging slightly behind.
The first one will try to save the patient’s life. The second one will try to save the patient’s kidneys, in case the first ambulance fails.
I think the idea is bad for EMS, which means that it will at some point be bad for patients. Whenever the liberals don’t like a proposal, they talk about how it will have a “chilling” effect on potential users of a government service. I think that some people are going to be confused by this program and will be more hesitant to call 9-1-1 if they need an ambulance. It’s bad enough that some morons already call ambulances “meat wagons” without going ahead and making them right.
To overcome fears that patients would be allowed to die for the sake of their organs, officials said that doctors and paramedics trying to resuscitate a patient would not be told whether the preservation unit was waiting in the wings until a supervisor had given the order to stop rescue efforts. The organ team, which will travel in a bright red and white ambulance marked “Organ Preservation Unit,” is supposed to remain out of sight.
For those of you not familiar with New York City, here is what a city ambulance looks like,
You’ll notice that it’s bright red and white and marked “Ambulance” as opposed to “Organ Preservation Unit”. Other than that, I wonder how much different the OPUs will be?
I’m working on the assumption here that the staff of this unit would not be removing organs on scene, but would be transporting the deceased person to a hospital where harvesting would take place. Seems a bit odd to me to have an ambulance rushing a dead person to a hospital when for the past several years many EMS systems (and NYC was among the first) have taken not transporting the obviously dead because of the added risk of lights and siren transport.
It will be no surprise to many of my readers to find that, like so many bad ideas, this one is being financed with a $1.5 million federal grant.
As I said in my original post, I’m not against organ donation although I think that the ultimate solution will come from regenerating or growing organs from stem cells. I am against anything that confuses the public about the role of EMS and I think that this sort of thing will do exactly that.