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Home > Topics > Communications / Dispatch
January 31, 2012
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Why are celebs' 911 calls fair game?

The fame, or notoriety, of the 911 caller shouldn't make a difference of the "obligation" of the department to release information

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: A 911 recording released by LA fire officials revealed frantic efforts by friends of Demi Moore to get help for the actress who was convulsing. Our Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh asks should the recording have been released in the first place?

I don't get the media's fascination with so-called famous people's personal lives.

It appears that in this day and age of paparazzi being the norm, releasing extremely personal information about someone is considered fair game.

Contrary to the statement of the LA city spokesperson, the fame, or notoriety, of the 911 caller shouldn't make a difference of the "obligation" of the department to release information.

We all have crises. No one is perfect. So why do we feel it's perfectly okay to disclose people's weaknesses just because they are a recognized figure in public?

In fact, because someone is so well known, it's virtually impossible to keep that information confidential.

Officials didn't mask enough information to disguise the underlying condition that precipitated the call. How private can that be?

911 calls should remain private, when you can't hide enough details to afford privacy to the caller. It's simply not right to be able to put out such information as a way to make money.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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