Saturday, 8 December 2007

EMS System Abuse

A good friend of mine sent me this and wow - is this accurate! Take it from one who has been on the constapated person call; the sore throat at 0300 in a snowstorm call; and all the other totally non-emergent calls when a real patient might need us, this is the nitty-gritty truth.

This link will get you there, then click on the video:
MyFox Cleveland I-Team Investigation: Health Care Dysfunction

When I saw this, I could not believe it. Sometimes you think it is just your area, but clearly this affects everyone. Cleveland, of course, is a major city, so their call volume is likely staggering. Thank the gods you have the paramedics there to tell people that they can go to the doctor the following day. But here, we are a little more slave to the idiots and so we end up taking a lot of completely non-emergent people to the hospital.

So what happens if we are transporting the guy with a minor cut on his finger that only needs a bandaid to the hospital and we get a call for a heart attack patient? You had better hope we can get out a back-up crew or that 65 can take the call and manage the very short response time needed to get to the patient for something so critical.

If not, we are unable to do anything until we unload this guy at the hospital and get out. We can not abandon any patient until transfer of care. Otherwise we could all lose our certification.

And then where will we be? Parsippany will be down an entire crew.

Oh, and P.S. - EMS Commissioner Ed Eckhardt is an idiot. A person with a sore throat IS abuse of the EMS system. Absolutely. A person with constipation should be ticketed for taking the ambulance out of service. One woman on this clip went to the hospital for a urinary infection, waited in chairs for ten hours, then went home and called 9-1-1 to go back, thinking she would get in faster. She waited another 6 hours and finally walked home. GOOD. Having had urinary infections, there is nothing to do but get over-the-counter meds that turn your urine brown and wait. Be patient, it takes a little time.
But this is not worth getting my butt out of bed in the wee hours - and possibly killing someone else in the process.

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