Tuesday, September 14

This Really Happened (but not to me)

You know those stories that happen to "a friend" but you KNOW it really happened to the person with which you are talking? This one REALLY did not happen to me. I'll even leave it vague as to which corps (now that I've started my medic class I hear stories from a variety of agencies, some volunteer, some paid). That said, I really trust the source, as the story does not make him or her look good. Here is the story...

Relatively new EMT arrives on the scene with a driver only (driver has no certs). Call came in as intoxicated individual. When ambulance arrives, police leave, leaving the EMT with a patient and two bystanders. Patient "fell" while intoxicated. New EMT is about to board and collar the patient when bystander #1 says "I'm an EMT and was with the patient all the time. I can help and go to the hospital with you)". Bystander #1 begins to walk patient into the back of the rig, is a member of new EMT's agency, and new EMT is short handed. The reply is seemingly obvious: "Sure".

The short ending is that bystander #1 was also intoxicated. This person was an EMT, but in no position to provide patient care. In addition, bystander did NOT witness patient's fall, and our protocol would be to collar and board this patient. New EMT figured if a more experienced EMT on the scene cleared c-spine, then all is well. Doc in ED wonders aloud why patient was not immobilized. EMT explains experience. Doc chews out bystander #1. EMT feels like (s)he should have taken control of the scene and made a mistake.

Complicated. In small agencies, where having people arrive on scene (not with the rig) is common, isn't it reasonable to expect that anyone who you know, and is a member of your agency, and states they are an EMT, is taking the responsibilities of an EMT? On the other hand, ultimate responsibility rides with the EMT that takes the rig out. Ouch.

Anyway, patient was fine. EMT is still worried. I don't know what happened to the bystander EMT.