Is EMS still stuck in the "you call, we haul, that's all" mindset?
The challenge is that patients are humans, with a countless number of variables to identify and sort
By Art Hsieh
The investigation into this case is just beginning; we know about what happened for some time, especially since a lawsuit appears likely. This report highlights the ongoing concern that refusal of transport by EMS is a risky procedure.
There is no doubt we learn a lot while in training. Couple that with a few thousand patient contacts and we might feel confident in our ability to determine whether the patient is healthy enough to be left on scene.
The challenge is that patients are humans, with a countless number of variables to identify and sort. It's not possible to be able to recognize all of them, not even for a physician.
When you consider that the doc has access to a variety of testing methods and about 10 times the training and education of a paramedic, it becomes apparent that we are poorly trained and equipped to conduct such assessments.
In addition, while changes in healthcare delivery might provide the average EMS provider options in transport decisions, at this time those avenues are pretty limited.
For better or worse, EMS continues to be rooted in the paradigm of "you call, we haul, that's all" mindset.
Dramatic changes to that model are sorely needed, but so too is the need to be properly trained and educated.