Ambo assault destroys lives – and trust
When EMS assets are used to hurt instead of heal, we must strive to rebuild community faith
By Art Hsieh
Ambulances are the chariots of compassion. People see them and hope the patient inside is in the safe hands of a caring professional who is trying to make a difference. Most of us do choose to be in this profession so we can help others in times of need. To help us perform our jobs, we try to preserve that image by keeping our units clean, keeping advertising non-existent or to a minimum, and being professional, respectful and compassionate.
This presentation doesn’t happen only in this country. Across the globe, street providers strive to keep themselves above the fray of local politics and go about their jobs with little glamour and recognition. It creates a community of trust that allows us to enter people’s homes and businesses, ask intimate questions, and perform sometimes painful procedures with little suspicion.
Conflict has a way of wiping that out. The use of an ambulance as a rolling bomb in Kurdistan will cause major ripples throughout a region that already has seen more than its fair share of war. The locals will be much less likely to regard their local EMS service highly as they had in the past. That will make it that much harder to the field providers to do their job without encountering fear and distrust.
Back here at home, we don’t have to go to such extremes to create the same level of suspicion. Bad behavior, sloppy-looking rigs and poor corporate practices will also sow distrust within the community. We have to push ourselves along the high road to maintain a superior level of pride and professionalism. Doing so makes it that much easier to ask for our customers’ support when we need it.