A while back I wrote that as long as there was a DC Fire Department I’d have something to write about. I stumbled upon that post while looking for another old post and thought to myself that it’s been a while since I read about any stupidity regarding DC FEMS. Well, wouldn’t you know that old reliable would come through again.
Could an ambulance switch have kept an elderly woman with a head injury from getting to the hospital in the quickest way possible?
That is what D.C. Fire and EMS officials are investigating after learning that two ambulance crews may have actually discussed the transport amongst themselves while a 93-year-old woman who was injured in a fall waited for help.
“We dispatch our closest unit to the emergency,” says Assistant Chief For Operations Timothy Gerhart.
But instead of driving directly to the woman’s home, sources tell FOX 5 Ambulance 6 drove past her house to Ambulance 29′s station and insisted they transport her instead.
Keep mind that this is an allegation only, so the following comments are generic in nature, not aimed at this particular crew. I make them because DC, reliably AFU as it is, isn’t alone when it comes to allegations like this. I’ve seen stupid people do this in other places. Mostly they get away with it, but then there are times like this when a complaint ensues and it hits the media.
You know most people I know in EMS hate late trips. Even people, like me, who try to lap up the increasingly elusive overtime shifts hate late trips. Even when we’re working OT right after that shift. I don’t know what it is, and it might make a nice paper for some social scientist to try to figure out the dynamic. All of that aside, late trips are part of the job, it’s universal. So, when dispatch sticks it up the old Wazoo 15 minutes before the end of your shift, you curse the dispatcher verily unto the tenth generation, get in the truck, and go do the call. You don’t bum rush the patient just so you can get home a few minutes earlier, tempting as might be.
You certainly don’t drive to another ambulance station and berate the crew about not taking the call so you can go home. Especially, if you have to drive by the call location to do it. If in fact, that’s what happened. The GPS will tell the tale of what really happened and how long this might have added to the response.
Personally, I hope that this was just a miscommunication and no one did something this selfish and foolish.
I can hope, can’t I?
I’m sure we’ll know in the not too distant future.
Just in case, I’ll remind them of five simple rules to a long EMS career.