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Home > Topics > EMS Management
December 27, 2013

NY EMT breaks rules to help 4-year-old having seizures

Stephen Sawyer, who is not old enough to drive an ambulance, resigned after criticism for driving the child to the hospital when no other ambulance crews were available

The Associated Press

ELLENVILLE, N.Y. — An upstate New York volunteer rescue squad organization is facing criticism for suspending a paramedic who broke the rules when he drove a 4-year-old girl to a hospital after she began having seizures.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reports that 20-year-old Stephen Sawyer took the girl to the Ellenville hospital on Dec. 11 when no other ambulance crews were available. The Ellenville First Aid and Rescue Squad's rules require that its ambulance drivers be at least 21.

When the organization's board voted to suspend him, Sawyer resigned.

Sawyer says he has experience driving ambulances for a commercial paramedic service.

Rescue squad officials say their rules regarding ambulance drivers are consistent with other rescue squads in the region

Associated PressCopyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most of the hundreds of comments posted on social media support Sawyer and criticize the board's actions.

Comments
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Rosa Franklin Rosa Franklin Friday, December 27, 2013 12:09:37 PM I think he did the right thing and he should keep his job we need more of caring people like him
Tammy Smith Tammy Smith Friday, December 27, 2013 12:15:30 PM give that boy his job back he is a hero
JoeandJudi Edwards Swafford JoeandJudi Edwards Swafford Friday, December 27, 2013 12:21:29 PM If everybody else is busy he did what he needed to do. He did his job.
Lee Childress Lee Childress Friday, December 27, 2013 12:23:43 PM what would they be saying if the child had died because he did not do it
Cj Ewell Cj Ewell Friday, December 27, 2013 12:31:26 PM The bigger question is about adequate staffing. Why is it OK to have a service understaffed so that a volunteer is placed in this position?
Michelle Morgan Michelle Morgan Friday, December 27, 2013 12:36:55 PM Perhaps the ambulance company would prefer to be sued for WRONGFUL DEATH, NEGLIGENCE, GROSS NEGLIGENCE, INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS!!!!!!
Linda Ash Linda Ash Friday, December 27, 2013 12:40:01 PM they should be thankful cause they could have gotten a huge law suit if he hadent did whate he did he did the right thing for sure he saved a life we defenitley need more like him with brain to do whates right not sit on ass an wait till too late so be grateful reward him honer him an give him job back !!!!!! be as caring as he was :) you owe him
Barbara Givan Barbara Givan Friday, December 27, 2013 12:40:44 PM The people who suspended him should put one of their own loved ones in the little girls position and then think what they would want to do to the driver who quite possibly saved her life. they are doing the wrong thing. They should be thanking God they have a compassionate young man working or who had worked for them. They had begtter find him apologize and hire him back.
Mo Sodini Mo Sodini Friday, December 27, 2013 12:42:30 PM I think Ellenville needs to get with the times, if the individual in question has a valid NY State drivers license then he should be allowed to operate there equipment.
George Navarini George Navarini Friday, December 27, 2013 12:43:14 PM Over and over again in emergency management we speak that our first priority is life safety, followed by incident stabilization, property and environmental considerations. Nowhere does it say follow the rules even if someone dies in the process. This young man did the right thing. Granted, rules must be followed, but to the extend that we take out the human element. Let me ask the members of board a simple question; what if it was YOUR little girl, your daughter or grand daughter having that seizure? Would expect, nay DEMAND that she be transported immediately, regulations be damned?
Misty Walker-Garber Misty Walker-Garber Friday, December 27, 2013 12:43:45 PM I believe the company is forgetting what is more important... the child's life. A seizure in a 4 year old child is very serious. Not only did this man do the right thing, he may have prevented further damage to this child's brain. Had he not acted as he did, the family would have a nice lawsuit and would win. Had he not transported he could have been charged with patient neglect, which is a serious issue. I feel this company needs to review what is most important, which should be patient care. Secondly, they might want to take a look at their staff. This man should have never been put in this situation and does not deserve to be suspended for doing his job.
V'Lian Kho V'Lian Kho Friday, December 27, 2013 12:44:45 PM Sometime rules cannot be change but that is a life... I think he did the right thing... I'm also an ambulance crew... If everything must follow the rules, why we need the emergency service? Our aim is save life...
Yogie Bear Yogie Bear Friday, December 27, 2013 12:50:32 PM its all about insurances and sue happy lawyers.. common sense in a court room has gone out the door with God. maybe if courts threw out stupid law suits this stupidity would also stop. it all about $$
Cindy Simboli Grieco Cindy Simboli Grieco Friday, December 27, 2013 12:55:47 PM He did the right thing , saved a little girls life isn't that surpose to be the 1st they are trained to do. No he does not deserve to lose his job
Joyce Azukas Joyce Azukas Friday, December 27, 2013 12:57:59 PM Maybe the rules need to be updated! Kudos to you Steven Sawyer for making a conscious decision to do no harm. That is what the improvement in EMS services needs to look at here. A paramedic can give drugs but cant drive an ambulance? What is wrong with this picture. Steven dont quit !!! Make a wrong a right. Speak out and be heard. Lots of people to back you up and you can change this for the better.
Steve Robbins Steve Robbins Friday, December 27, 2013 12:59:32 PM Congratulations for doing the right thing twice, first, transporting the patient and the second, leaving an organization that can not see the first.
Kristen Moos Kristen Moos Friday, December 27, 2013 1:05:21 PM Wow. That is wonderful what that 2-year-old did. I would resign from that ambulance service also if they are going to suspend him for saving a little girl's life. Way to go Sawyer!!! Who wouldn't do that in that circumstance. I would hope most everyone would do that to save a life.
Debbie-Aubuchon Johns Debbie-Aubuchon Johns Friday, December 27, 2013 1:05:50 PM Perhaps the board members should be suspended for not making responsible financial and personnel decisions that would have allowed for adequate number of staff for responding. When they place a staff member in these situations, they should be held accountable.
Sarone A Kennedy Sr Sarone A Kennedy Sr Friday, December 27, 2013 1:09:51 PM I do not wish to be associated with such idiocy! He saved a life and even though it was the "policy". It was not against the law of the land, they should have complimented him for taking extraordinary measures to save a life. I would do it in a heartbeat! He has my praise and commendation!
Willis Sands Willis Sands Friday, December 27, 2013 1:09:59 PM I In my department you must be 21. If I'm medic on duty with no qualify driver and there's a licensed driver who can drive I would have to drive to the hospital with no lights and siren
Patrick Jackson Patrick Jackson Friday, December 27, 2013 1:12:14 PM In our politically correct world these days, "doing the right thing" is to error on the side of company policy, even when lives hang in the balance. Just plain wrong!!
Allen Scamihorn Allen Scamihorn Friday, December 27, 2013 1:17:06 PM Not knowing the full medical condition of the little girl and what resources he had at hand; I would say that he made the right decision, even though it violated the rules. I also think that this incident shows poor leadership and managerial skills on the part of the service's leadership. They should have recognized an issue before this occurred and taken actions to correct it. Our top priority as providers is to serve the public, and in this situation the service's leadership failed miserably and should be suspended or fired themselves because of what happened here. Yes we must always do our job in the safest possible manner, so as to minimize the risks to the public and ourselves. That said, if the medic felt that the child did not have the time to wait then he is fully justified and correct in his actions. Better to live without a job than to live with the loss of your soul and the loss of a child's life needlessly. My compliments to the medic for doing what is right, and standing up for what is right.
Wayne Tsipouras Wayne Tsipouras Friday, December 27, 2013 1:17:17 PM How Pathetic, Is he supposed to put an age rule over a young girls life? I wonder if this had been the daughter of a board member, would he still be suspended? Board should be sacked, clearly they are creating unsafe conditions with understaffed EMT vehicles...
Jolene Lantz Jolene Lantz Friday, December 27, 2013 1:21:39 PM Thank you Stephen for saving this little girls life. You shouldn't have to give up your job because there was no one there to drive the ambulance.
David Bridges David Bridges Friday, December 27, 2013 1:24:28 PM What happened to the responsible emt driver that LEFT THE AMBULANCE RUNNING AND INSECURED. OH YA HOMELAND SECURITY & HEALTH DEPT VIOLATIONS. If driver kept keys with him no problem.... Escape goat
Jolene Lantz Jolene Lantz Friday, December 27, 2013 1:25:09 PM I commend you for what you did and how you responded to this situation. If anything I think ou are a true hero and you deserve a medal for your actions not suspension people need to open their eyes and see the good you did even if they say you are to YOUNG to drive the ambulance. You didn't have any accident or crash the ambulance so I don't see what the big fuss is all about
Maureen Watson Maureen Watson Friday, December 27, 2013 1:27:12 PM I don't know you steven, however, if my child were having a seizure I hope you would be the paramedic who arrived! Thank you for taking such good care of the little girl!
Ruth McGuire Woolery Ruth McGuire Woolery Friday, December 27, 2013 1:29:47 PM Was he the only one on the call? Who cared for the the little girl during the transport? That would be negligent. Seizures are seldom life-threatening - they usually happen, then the patient recovers. Bigger concern is what caused the seizure. If pt was having continuous seizures or was postictal - should have someone attending her, able to care for her. As usual, not much info in the article. The typical reason for the driving age is because of insurance. The insurance companies recognize that a younger driver is at higher risk for being in an accident. They won't issue a policy covering drivers under age 21.
Gemma Wilson Gemma Wilson Friday, December 27, 2013 1:30:36 PM what is so different in a car or ambulance that makes the age limit 21????? he did the rght thing to save a life,isn't that his job
Amy Lee Amy Lee Friday, December 27, 2013 1:38:20 PM if you can be a medic before 21 and see all that blood and guts or even death then driving an ambulance is nothing as long as he had a clear back ground with no tickets then let him be.
Friday, December 27, 2013 1:44:15 PM Too many unanswered questions to form a decision on the right or wrong of this decision - why didn't his partner drive and he provide pt care? How many people were providing care? How far away was the hospital? Could there have been a rendezvous point? Was she having status seizures? Did he drive lights & sirens? Has he been driving this size truck elsewhere and why didn't he get permission from the EMS Duty Officer, Chief, Asst Chief, we operate under an Incident Command structure and who told the press - if this was taken to the press by someone within the Department - that person should be the one who was suspended. The Chief of the Department would have made a recommendation to the Department's Board for some type of action or no action, after he investigated all the facts.
Anita Cooper Anita Cooper Friday, December 27, 2013 1:45:31 PM I think he did the right thing he probably saved that little girls life a neighbor's child was having them and the ambulance came to late and she died so I absulutly think he did the right thing by saving that little girls life and I'm sure her parents must feel the same way....you should get your job back with an apoligy I think......good luck
Nathan Thomas Nathan Thomas Friday, December 27, 2013 2:00:03 PM save a life lose your job I though our motto was do no harm. this is why its so hard to volunteer in New York
Maureen Personeni- Haley Maureen Personeni- Haley Friday, December 27, 2013 2:02:48 PM CJ is right. WHY was the service staffed in such a way that you have an EMT but nobody to drive the rig? Where was his partner and why wasn't that partner a 21 year old who could drive the rig?? Shame on that company for putting him in that position and for endangering the health and welfare of the community by understaffing their station. Doesn't the town have a contract with that provider?
Timothy Jones Timothy Jones Friday, December 27, 2013 2:18:46 PM Saving a life is saving a life..as long as it was done safely and timely..not like the person was under the age to see above the steering wheel.
Lyle Francis Lyle Francis Friday, December 27, 2013 2:19:07 PM That young man did do the right thing.It's a damn shame that money is the number one to these people. One they were short staffed and two suspension for something that was included in your job title saving a life. It just goes to show that a piece of paper that can be destroyed so easily rules our lives. That is the problem with America. Kudos to you sir especially on that resignation.
Timothy Jones Timothy Jones Friday, December 27, 2013 2:19:59 PM like 12 or younger
Dee Grundel Dee Grundel Friday, December 27, 2013 2:23:56 PM If he can be hired t a ave a life then he can drive an ambulance
Paul Edward Morris Paul Edward Morris Friday, December 27, 2013 2:29:03 PM OKAY ! PLEASE READ THIS: I want someone from the Press to publicly ask the EMS Squad Board the Following: " If this was your Child would you all embargo Lifesaving Interventions, by a qualified EMS Worker? If this was your Child, and She expired due to the withholding of Lifesaving Treatment would you NOT be seeking Criminal Charges to be brought against this 20 YO Medic? Are You Second guessing One of your Own's Clinical judgement? God help you all in Admin if you were begging for your life that a 20 YO Medic refuses to transport your dieing self to a Facility...
Bill Loyd Bill Loyd Friday, December 27, 2013 2:33:27 PM If he was driving who was thrating the patient?
Catherine Shelters Greiner Catherine Shelters Greiner Friday, December 27, 2013 2:35:45 PM Not knowing all the circumstances, but being an EMT, with a small town, we bit the bullet and had to have paid service because we were afraid of something like this happening because of our numbers dwindling, If I was in the same situation I would have done the same thing, as for the posting stating seizure are not generally dangerous? you have not been with a patient who is in a constant seizure that wont break even with meds and watched your patient turn blue even while your are bagging them to give them oxygen have you? I have I commend Stephen for what he did and the punishment my lord I have been in ellenville thank the lord you had a young man who cared enough to do what he did, insurance or not,,,,,, where were your other members,,,,, if you can't staff your vol. ambulance 24/7 than you better get paid or make sure you have real good insurance!... just saying kuddos to you Stephen,
Diane Cyr Diane Cyr Friday, December 27, 2013 2:40:38 PM Granted there are rules, but rules were made to be broken, especially to save a life. I'm sure at least 1 parent or a caretaker was there with her while he was driving.
Kirsten Suppa Kirsten Suppa Friday, December 27, 2013 2:41:57 PM I can see both sides of the argument here. If something did happen then the squad is liable because the insurance most likely would not cover an accident due to an underage driver. I think the punishment was a little severe but at least the patient received the treatment needed. I would probably have done the same thing in that situation.
Phyllis Lehouillier Phyllis Lehouillier Friday, December 27, 2013 2:45:58 PM understaffing is what caused that and was the child's life in danger I would say so he did the right thing I think you owe this guy a pat on the back and tell him a job well done
Anthony Pensabene Anthony Pensabene Friday, December 27, 2013 2:50:17 PM The board of that organization should be thrown out of that organization. He made a judgement call and it saved someone's life. Those people on the board are not the people that belong in EMS. If he needs some place else to volunteer I know lots of places that would take him. People do not think before they act, he did the right thing. Good job brother
Rich Kuklentz Rich Kuklentz Friday, December 27, 2013 2:50:51 PM What a bunch of IDIOTS. But maybe this medic would want to work for a different agency. One that doesn't put rules and regulations above patient care !!!
Michael Rossetto Michael Rossetto Friday, December 27, 2013 2:56:23 PM If him driving was their concern, my question is - WHO was his partner that was in the back WITH the patient? Did he respond by himself, then treat the patient THEN drive her to the ER with no one attending? To me? - This story is WAY TOO vague (not enough info).
Donald Berthelette Donald Berthelette Friday, December 27, 2013 2:57:52 PM I have worked for a volunteer rescue. It was a different state but the laws for all are similar. I feel he should not be punished in any way not even suspention. The other thing is why were there not adequate staff available to assist him? All rescue facilities should have some kind of response times.
Carol Ann Hughes Carol Ann Hughes Friday, December 27, 2013 2:58:37 PM Rules are simply a guideline and sometimes you have to break the rules to save a life.
Royce Edwards Royce Edwards Friday, December 27, 2013 3:05:17 PM There are serious insurance issues involved, as I'm sure the squads insurance company requires that drivers meet that minimum age. Additionally it's not clear if anyone else was on board. It's a tough decision but you can't drive a vehicle and provide medical attention at the same time. Right or wrong he did not provide a minimum standard of care for his patient if he was driving her alone.
Craig Sherman Craig Sherman Friday, December 27, 2013 3:07:53 PM This is the rock bottom of the entire situation here you are 100% right. Ellenville EMS facebook page boasts a 24/7 Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Response to their community, and they failed to provide that because they failed to have 24/7 coverage. Id guarentee there is no county-wide accountability for any of those little EMS agencies up there - some days they have crews some days they dont - Ask any Paramedic in that area how long they sit on scenes waiting for ambulances and you will find your answer.
Tony Orso Tony Orso Friday, December 27, 2013 3:13:05 PM Ummm who was in the back wth the pt ?
Michael Norris Michael Norris Friday, December 27, 2013 3:18:00 PM The comment and attitude of the rescue squad officilas is short-sighted and egocentric. Do they set all of their policies on what other squads are doing in their region instead of strategically planning out their respective community need? These archaic thinking people need to be replaced by forward thinking comissioners who take their positions as caretakers of the community seriously instead of using it as a title and resume' builder.
Debbie Wade Debbie Wade Friday, December 27, 2013 3:22:14 PM Thank the lord that this EMT was there and made the right decision to transport the 4 yr old girl to the hospital. The punishment the company he worked for was not fair . This company lost a good, caring and dedicated employee .
Darlene Marie Martin Darlene Marie Martin Friday, December 27, 2013 3:27:01 PM TOTALLY support Sawyer! Way to go !!!
Grant Johnson Grant Johnson Friday, December 27, 2013 3:31:30 PM One of my employers requires a minimum age of 21 for insurance reasons, so why would you hire someone that can't even drive the ambulance? The board probably voted to suspend him pending investigation - not that I blame him for resigning, but he should've waited for the board to get the entire story; now there's no chance for him to resume running with that service. I feel that they should offer his position back to him without prejudice and consider changing their policy.
Bruce Verdecanna Bruce Verdecanna Friday, December 27, 2013 3:35:57 PM If that was my daughter, I WOULD NOT have had a problem with Mr. Sawyer taking her to the hospital ! THIS EMERGENCY SITUATION FAR EXCEEDS POLICY ! Also, if you're going to staff a unit and STATE HOW you're going to staff it, then STAFF IT CORRECTLY!!!!! Now, I wonder IF ANYONE on THE BOARD had a family emergency, and someone under 21 responded, who was TRAINED and EDUCATED like Mr. Sawyer, would the "POLICY" be enforced for them? (I'm sorry, I CANNOT DRIVE, so your loved one HAS TO DIE- DUE TO POLICY).
John Short John Short Friday, December 27, 2013 3:39:38 PM Rules are rules. Does this mean that the next call a unqualified driver can go behind the seat because he has a drivers license.
Pamela Cumbie Pamela Cumbie Friday, December 27, 2013 3:40:09 PM sounds lie Detroit all over again. he did the right thing and now hes lost his job. wrong wrong wrong
Claire Anderson Claire Anderson Friday, December 27, 2013 3:41:07 PM I bet the parents aren't complaining
Richard A. Cohen Richard A. Cohen Friday, December 27, 2013 3:42:26 PM No, He not have been let go.. He did his job and provided Emergency Basic Life Support which also includes Transport to the nearest medicall facility.... Let the Family of the 4 y/o sue the company for putting thier child in danger and have the get children services involved for child endangerment , Bet They Change their Additued then !!! Remember this It's aways what's best for the Patient - Do No Harm.........
Matthew Ervin Matthew Ervin Friday, December 27, 2013 4:10:03 PM Always do what is best for the patient and that is what he did, thumbs up to Sawyer, hope he finds a better service to work for, a service that will be patient advocates.
Candy Sisco Candy Sisco Friday, December 27, 2013 4:30:47 PM AWFUL,SOMONE TRYING TO SAVE CHILD ,SHAME ON COMPNAY FOR ASKING HIM TO RESIGN SHAME SHAME ON THEM WHEN LIFE OF CHILD ISNT IMPORTANT
Ruth McGuire Woolery Ruth McGuire Woolery Friday, December 27, 2013 5:14:36 PM Catherine....that was my post. Yes - I have seen that. I'm a 30+yr medic in a larger city. I've tended to an incredible number of seizures patients (hundreds, if not a couple thousand), of which two were status. If this were the case, and the patient was not responsive to medication - then I could understand just throwing the kid in and driving. But as a nurse and as an experienced EMT - you know that most seizures stop. You know that the underlying cause of a seizure may be serious - but usually not immediately life-threatening. What if the child vomited while he was transporting? Would he have noticed? Would he have been able to immediately care for the child? Anyway - I understand the general public being upset. A seizure is a very scary thing to witness. Everyone gets emotional about this stuff, and I know very little about the circumstances. I don't even know if he transported in his car or in an ambulance, or a squad. I worked for years with a medic who had previously worked back east as a single paramedic in a squad that had an EMT ambulance backing him up. He had stories about arriving by himself on cardiac arrests. He did the best he could, was quite resourceful and one of the best medics I've ever worked with. If this is how they are set up - this is the community's decision and occasionally the squad is going to beat out the first responders (even happens here). If he's responding as half of an ambulance crew and needs to have a partner and a driver meet him with an ambulance - maybe that's not the best plan. Or maybe it is. It's for that community to decide what they want. But it's never free. BUT - I am impressed that he did what he thought was best instead of just complaining about it. Am a little disappointed that he resigned - leaving even fewer paramedics to care for that community. I've violated several policies over the years in the name of patient care. I self-reported (to either/or my medical director and supervisor/chief) and was prepared to take my lumps. If a suspension was in order, I would have taken it. I would not have quit - I love what I do and am committed to caring for my community.
Rocky Nasso Rocky Nasso Friday, December 27, 2013 5:15:35 PM as a retired paramedic, thats bullshit, he was trained to do his job, he acted quickly and helped the little girl...i would of done the same thing...this ambulance co.shoud hang there head low for there actions....GREAT JOB STEPHAN !!!!!!!!
Mike Ledgerwood Mike Ledgerwood Friday, December 27, 2013 5:16:47 PM I agree with the suspension. We don't know the patients condition. I have had seizure patients who didn't want to go to the ER and I have had seizure patients that were critical. The media is focusing on the patients age and using that as a crutch. Most ambulance companies (public and private) have insurance requirements that mandate who and when can operate the vehicles. Every fire department in my county requires you to be 21 to operate department owned apparatus. Failure to obey insurance requirements can have dire consequences including loss of state licensing. This means he drove the ambulance from the station to the scene by himself then drove to the hospital. Where was the tech in the back? He abandoned the patient plain and simple. The kid is no hero. He is an unprofessional moron.
Rafael Cirino Rafael Cirino Friday, December 27, 2013 5:23:13 PM send that email a love note and tell them how sweet they are for acting like idiots info@ellenvillerescue.com
Beryl Taylor Beryl Taylor Friday, December 27, 2013 5:23:41 PM I think it was totally unfair to reprimand this young man for using his initiative!
Ken Light Ken Light Friday, December 27, 2013 5:33:42 PM Hey we gotta play by the rules. But make them and their application reasonable. We screw up most of the time, but now and then we really do save some. The board, like most boards, has their heads up their you-know-the-place and should do their job to at least attempt justice.
Thom Swan Thom Swan Friday, December 27, 2013 5:36:05 PM I suspect we've all bent or even a broken a few rules for the best interest of the patient. Sometimes we get away with it, sometimes we don't. A suspension is not the same as being fired - sometimes you just have to suck it up and cowboy on. CJ Ewell, below, truly has the "right" of it, though. Why is the service so inadequately staffed? Is it perhaps because they treat volunteers poorly?
Jennifer Leighton Jennifer Leighton Friday, December 27, 2013 5:39:03 PM i agree iwith one . what if she had died. it would be on their conscience. and regret that they didnt let him help her. he saved a child. when it comes to a child i think they should let this go.
Rob Bieser Rob Bieser Friday, December 27, 2013 5:46:08 PM We have to see what is more important, a rule of an Ambulance Service or the Life of a 4 year-old child. The Rule, has obvious implication of safety for the Personnel and the Public and that is understandable. When a certain event happens and the conditions are present, there were no other crews available and the Life of this child hangs in the balance, it is sensible and reasonable that this Rule be disregarded and the Life of the child be preserved as it has been done. The Board has to realize that the problem is not this under-aged driver breaking this Rule, but the lack of Personnel to answer the Emergency that has been occurring. The Board needs to develop new rules and procedures to deal with a "no units available" in either calling in off-duty people or having mutual aide agreements with neighboring Services. If I were in an EMS management position, I would hire him because he places people's lives in a weightier position.
Corey Gibson Corey Gibson Friday, December 27, 2013 6:00:38 PM I am an EMT in this area, We are very rural and have little support from any one. we struggle for volunteers we struggle for paid EMS… we make close to minimum wage as a paid ems here…. no one wants to do it
Theresa Young Theresa Young Friday, December 27, 2013 6:01:06 PM wtg if you got to do it again go
Vince Warde Vince Warde Friday, December 27, 2013 6:42:55 PM My EMS experience ended due to an injury nearly 30 years ago - but for what it is worth, in the early days of the paramedic program we were forced to make calls like this all the time. Thank God those in authority were willing to look at the rules we were working under and change them as needed. For instance, one call a fellow paramedic crew went on involved two critical trauma patients - both requiring ALS treatment, but one could not be transported immediately. They were the only paramedic unit available. They rules said that a paramedic team must stay together - so the started a line on the patient that was ready to go, handed him over to the EMTs for transport and told them to run the line wide open until it was almost all infused - then cut it back to TKO. The patient did fine, as did the other patient, who they treated and transported later. Instead of suspending these guys for making the best call they could, our EMS director got the rules changed so medics could split up in these circumstances. They recognized that the rules needed to be changed to fit reality. The agency needs to change it's rules to allow qualified personnel under 21 to drive the Ambulance when no one else is available. It's just common sense.
Tabitha L'Allier Tabitha L'Allier Friday, December 27, 2013 6:51:06 PM Ridiculous!!!! That is why we have such a hard time finding people that want to volunteer in this sad country. Everything is driven but selfish insurance companies and we as the people ARE allowing this type of thing to happen.. It is the only explanation as to why a department would suspend a paramedic for driving an ambulance under the age of 21. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!
Nancy Landreth Nancy Landreth Friday, December 27, 2013 6:54:34 PM I agree, he did the right thing, but some do not see it that way. Love you
Ryan Miller Ryan Miller Friday, December 27, 2013 6:54:41 PM I think he did the right thing he should not have been suspended.
Alma Newton Alma Newton Friday, December 27, 2013 6:55:50 PM why is it that this young man had the good sense to respond in an apporpate manner but they do not have the common sense to keep a good emt when they have and see someone fully capable to function and operate and ambulance and they are foolish in ways i can not describe, over a silly rule , that they could change , talk about brain dead, maybe they need that emt to race them in to find out why they are unable to engage brain.
John Neikens John Neikens Friday, December 27, 2013 7:06:10 PM Why was a medic driving, was there a cop who could drive? Is there any other history? Too many questions with the info given. EMS supervision is difficult. Try not to judge to quickly
Pete Briggs Pete Briggs Friday, December 27, 2013 7:09:12 PM WOW !!! I guess the 4 year old doesn't matter !!!! If I was in charge of an ambulance service he would be the first one I would hire!!! Not sure what that board was thinking ??
Bud Hirshberg Bud Hirshberg Friday, December 27, 2013 7:22:25 PM Ambulance driver? Is that a paramedic's primary role?
Joe Rolleri Joe Rolleri Friday, December 27, 2013 7:30:52 PM Great point John, not enough facts
Deborah Robinson-Bozovic Deborah Robinson-Bozovic Friday, December 27, 2013 7:30:54 PM He's a hero in my book! Let's see --break a rule or save a life? No brainer if you have a heart!!
Joe Rolleri Joe Rolleri Friday, December 27, 2013 7:32:58 PM How about a warning first???? First Offense
Roger Holmes Roger Holmes Friday, December 27, 2013 7:35:43 PM If he was a paramedic and the driver who was in the back with the pt.? Was there a second crewmember? Taking the rig with only one person on board was probably the complicating issue. He should have gotten a mutual aid driver from the FD or police as a driver and stayed with his patient
Joe Rolleri Joe Rolleri Friday, December 27, 2013 7:36:10 PM Also there is not enough facts to go on. Who was in the back of the rig??? Or did he respond alone to the scene where there was a FR???? All questions that need to be addressed
Bobble Myfullname Bobble Myfullname Friday, December 27, 2013 7:57:38 PM Purely a tactical decision I'd guess. If he resigns instead of being suspended he can truthfully answer "no" to being suspend or fired on his next job application.
Cathy Tuttle Cathy Tuttle Friday, December 27, 2013 8:06:56 PM If he had access to an ambulance where were the other drivers..?
Michael Lindsay Terrey Michael Lindsay Terrey Friday, December 27, 2013 8:16:42 PM Hmmm punished for saving a life??? only in America:-(
Rik MacDonald Rik MacDonald Friday, December 27, 2013 9:09:57 PM If you had proper staffing....maybe this hero wouldn't have been suspended!!!!!!!
Sheri Renee Neff-Kreiner Sheri Renee Neff-Kreiner Friday, December 27, 2013 9:15:42 PM He definitely did the "right" thing!!!
Dawn Clark Dawn Clark Friday, December 27, 2013 9:23:54 PM Typical private ambulance company!! They always try to find fault & blame one of us for the smallest, stupidest things! They always want to find fault in something we do. Most of the time they don't realize how stupid THEY actually are until social media points it out. No matter what you did, they would've blamed you. You did the RIGHT thing, looking out for the best interest of the patient! If you waited & went by their "rules", they sure wouldn't back you in court when you were fighting to keep your license if the patient died. Good job man!!
Michael Smith Michael Smith Friday, December 27, 2013 9:31:51 PM I would think that if he did not transport the pt. his company and he would have a big lawsuit on their hands an 100% of the liability would fall on the company. He should be commended for his actions. This why I always state get rid of the volunteers as their is no place for them in EMS. This way you know that the rig is staffed with the personnel that is required, and thus reduce response times.
Pete Wargowsky Pete Wargowsky Friday, December 27, 2013 9:58:22 PM What do you expect, this community must subscribe to the good ol boys news network! Where discrimination is welcomed and rewarded. Good for this medic!!!! Obamacare, it's just starting Tabitha L'Allier
Steve Mercer Steve Mercer Friday, December 27, 2013 11:14:39 PM If he is not olx enough to drive the ambulance, then why is he working for the company. Don't get me wrong here, I don't have a problem with the guys age. But, it seems to me that by implementing that rule. The company set themselves up to be put in that situation just by having that rule. If they are old enough to work as a paramedic, then they should be old enough to drive the ambulance.
Rosa Franklin Rosa Franklin Saturday, December 28, 2013 12:16:50 AM He did what was right and saved the little girl s life
Robert Sexton Robert Sexton Saturday, December 28, 2013 12:26:08 AM Hold your head up. You did the right thing.
Steven Clanton Steven Clanton Saturday, December 28, 2013 1:11:03 AM Sure there is support for this dude , but.. There is a reason policy is in place and if you break one and say oh it's ok, then how many will people start breaking "because it was what was needed at the time " there is a reason for rules... He decided to resign but suspended for not following the departments policy sure.. The reason they are in place is most likely their insurance doesn't provide coverage on people under 21.. Next what did he transport her in , an ambulance ? Pov? Where is the partner? What would have happened if he wrecked on the way, talk about a lawsuit .. So yea I was there once before too a paramedic who couldn't drive because of age but I followed what my bosses and employer said as well..
Walt Meshenberg Walt Meshenberg Saturday, December 28, 2013 2:18:06 AM Sorry I have to agree with Joe Rolleri, was it his 1st offense, what are the other facts? Hmm can be old enough to be a Certified Paramedic, but not drive a rig?

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