Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Home > EMS News

Paramedics who "hid" broke law, Canada inquest told

Provincial act requires responders to go to the scene

The Toronto Star

TORONTO — Two Toronto EMS paramedics who waited for police and delayed attending to a 911 call about a man who collapsed of a heart attack were breaking provincial law, an inquest was told Thursday.

Instead of hiding around the corner, out of sight of James Hearst's downtown Alexander St. building, the paramedics should have attended and assessed the scene, said Rick Brady, a health ministry investigator.

Full story: Paramedics who "hid" broke law, Canada inquest told

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Michael McAfee Michael McAfee Friday, March 02, 2012 12:47:01 PM Wow! Give these paramedics a break. The paramedics should not have to go into a scene to find if the scene is safe. It could just be a feeling. Scene safety is first. No one is questioning why it took the police so long to show up. I am not saying that they are to blame, but the paramedics aren't to blame. Scene safety is the first thing we learn, after hippa.
Micky Finn Micky Finn Friday, March 02, 2012 1:01:52 PM So where where the Police? Nobody asks why the Police hadn't responded in that time? This is another reason EMS needs to stop teaching "Scene Safety" and all these so called protocals which are not laws! People don't sue and win if these EMS "Acts" were so legal. Laws, not rules, policies, standards mean anything in a court romm. EMS, and Fire, wake up, people do not think so much of these so called EMS and NFPA "Standards". If you disagree, hey, hope you have money to be in court and pay for lawyers. People made it this way, they don't care about Fire or EMS, so stop kidding yourself that everybody just wnats and needs us!
Phil Fox Phil Fox Friday, March 02, 2012 1:03:41 PM Scene safety, bsi are drilled in every class of emt-b and medic the medics should not be the ones to blame they can only go on the info sent to them
Bill B Zilar Bill B Zilar Friday, March 02, 2012 1:15:37 PM A prime example of too little information is dangerous...not just for those responding, but to the patients as well. Although "turning blue" is most often used to describe a person that is not receiving enough oxygen...I'll be interested in the "rest of the story".
Rob Knight Rob Knight Friday, March 02, 2012 1:50:16 PM Mr Finn, in a courtroom the paramedic WILL be questioned in whether or not he/she followed protocol. There are very few actual laws that deal with EMS. That is why protocols are written. If a protocol is found to be errant, then the lawyers nay bring in the medical control or EMS director for questions. They aren't laws, but lawyers will use protocols and standards of care in court.
Kip Teitsort Kip Teitsort Friday, March 02, 2012 2:03:09 PM Politics at it's finest....... I would gladly love to have one of them ride for a while in EMS......and go on a few of the scenes they want folks to go onto........ yup...... let's just go backward in EMS scene safety.
Randy Bruns Randy Bruns Friday, March 02, 2012 2:12:47 PM I have no issue with what these Medics did, they kept themselves safe. Ask any cop or fireman or soldier what the first rule is --- "The first rule of public service is to go home at the end of duty". Medics DO NOT normally carry guns or wear body armor, nor do they wear bunker gear and have multiple people for backup (like at a fire scene). Just another reason I have said that law enforcement should respond with every call.
William Myers William Myers Friday, March 02, 2012 2:43:38 PM The fact that the call was disp as HBD gives the medics the right to wait for the cops to come and make sure the scene is save,
Richard Berger Richard Berger Friday, March 02, 2012 3:01:12 PM !) Sometimes, the 9-1-1 call takers misinterpret the caller's information, and it happens more often then they like admitting. They also are, quite often, given information by the callers, where the callers know what to say to illicit a "quicker" response. Many times, this becomes fodder for jokes by the field crews. 2) It is probably just coincidence that, after the call was received, and the crew dispatched, that supervisory personnel were unavailable, or not advised of a situation, sometimes simply due to call volume.
Sara Tuthill Sara Tuthill Friday, March 02, 2012 3:04:40 PM Scene Safety, Safety of Crew are based on information relayed from Dispatchers. Medics do not hear these calls, so cannot assess the scene based on callers' level of medical knowledge/level of intelligence or background noise picked up over the telephone. How does the headline become about Paramedic failure, when this is a clear-cut case of DISPATCHER failure? We catch enough flack from 'armchair medics' without also being blamed for others' errors in judgement.
Diana Hinnen Dunn Diana Hinnen Dunn Friday, March 02, 2012 3:11:26 PM Put these policy makers in the classroom for a couple of weeks too...I bet there'd be some real attitude shifting going on.
Kip Teitsort Kip Teitsort Friday, March 02, 2012 3:13:32 PM Diana Hinnen Dunn Yup!
Matt Hansen Matt Hansen Friday, March 02, 2012 3:15:13 PM Ok, I have to be the odd-ball. I had the same initial reaction as most. Our safety is our top priority to us and the patient. Now, reading a little deeper, the caller said the man "might be drunk". With only that information and no other information given, I would side with the authorities. We get called to "unknown medical/trauma" all the time. If we all decided to wait like these guys did we’re not being much of a public servant; we need to assess the situation. After all, the second caller said the man was turning blue! From EMT-Paramedic we are taught this is not a good thing. A blue patient is not likely to be a threat.
Ken Johnson Ken Johnson Friday, March 02, 2012 3:28:41 PM As a fellow Toronto EMS medic, to enlighten the article, our dispatchers are threatened with discipline if they wander in ANY way from the script from MPDS. For them to explore other avenues, would mean a definite warning of discipline. The crew, had a grand total of 18months 3 days experience. There was a push on at the time, to be alert and aware of our surroundings. The second and third calls were more descriptive, and because of the "system" in place, an ALS unit was sent on the VSA call. The crew arrived on the scene after the ALS crew. Police were asked to attend, but as frequently happens (staging or not) they never attend, without a few calls from our communications supervisor. The BLS crew, the road Supervisor, 2 dispatchers, and a Communications Supervisor all recieved varying suspensions. The road Supervisor recieved 20 shifts ( 6 weeks) This is the most severe discipline I've seen in 32 yrs.
Paul Beaven Paul Beaven Friday, March 02, 2012 3:37:07 PM Yikes!
Chris Smith Chris Smith Friday, March 02, 2012 3:46:21 PM Cops have guns, I have trauma shears. Just a slight difference in intimidation factor.
Jennifer Suddarth McKee Jennifer Suddarth McKee Friday, March 02, 2012 4:17:12 PM Rob Knight is correct! I had to go to court for a drunk driving call and they grilled me about standard of care/protocol in giving an IV to a (presumably) drunk patient. I have never been a manager of any kind, but thankfully had been in EMS long enough to understand why the protocols were in place. Explaining THAT to Lawyers in a courtroom was not fun.
Douglas Bell Douglas Bell Friday, March 02, 2012 4:40:23 PM There is where a "Dicatorial" dispatch system has flaws. We have taken the common sense out of the call taker/dispatch system to reduce litigation. problem we are dealing with human observations and emotionals, not a bank statement. In NSW australia, we had a 20 year highway patrol vetran gunned down Friday March 2nd. What would the outcry have been if he had staged and not got shot. You are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. Having been a raod based EMT for 8.5 years then going into the Ops centre and being a shift duty office as Call Triage was introduced, I know both sides of story. Bottom Line you can not dum down call taking/dispatch functions to rote learned scripts it just does not work. You still need the human element!
Douglas Bell Douglas Bell Friday, March 02, 2012 4:43:46 PM why is the protocol not being questioned here, further do supervisors not have the authority to overide the initial triage code/description and redirect the crew to either proceed or standoff based on updated information? It is interesting that it is the doctors who often write these dispatch protocols without the input of the guys and girls who have to administer or conform to this protocols.
Tim Ropars Tim Ropars Friday, March 02, 2012 5:16:51 PM Another clear cut reason why if you have no medical background you should not be dispatching in my book, there were more questions that could have been asked and the poor medics were put in a situation where they can be in trouble. Training and periodic tearing should be mandatory dispatches at all lvels of end.
Tim Ropars Tim Ropars Friday, March 02, 2012 5:17:20 PM Err levels of ems.
Kristy Dawn Richards Kristy Dawn Richards Friday, March 02, 2012 5:25:10 PM What most people don't understand is the over all stress of EMS jobs. We get calls everyday that we are given information that isn't close to what we find on scene. Third party callers calling 911 that have no medical back ground is hard to get correct information to dispatch to EMS. The number of calls that I have heard of paramedics and EMT's walking on a scene and finding the patient violent, threatening to shoot you, drug's and dirty needles lying everywhere, being charged with objects, and being injured by patients that are coming out of a high are more than people realize. So staging for police to respond and clear the scene would probally be the best option if you don't have correct information. We don't wear bullet proof vests, carry guns or tazors! I also understand that alot of police departments are under staffed because of funding. They could have been on other calls. Not sure what happened with the dispatcher, wasn't there. But I do know we rely on information received to make the judgement if it is safe. But every situation is also different.
Jay Bishop Jay Bishop Friday, March 02, 2012 5:27:03 PM If you do not get close enough to the scene to know whether it is safe or not is being negligent. If you believe everything a dispatchers says, your being negligent. Dispatchers are relaying questionable information and have their own interpretations of said infromation, which is dubious at best sometimes. I didn't hear anything in this that suggested the scene wasn't safe. Contusions do not turn blue in under thirty minutes, this should have set off alarm bells in a decent Medic's mind. Their actions were negligent and NOT in keeping what most Medics would do in the same situation.
Carol Robinson Carol Robinson Friday, March 02, 2012 5:35:59 PM Well put Kenny! So often the details are ignored! Been there, done that.
Blake Ressler Blake Ressler Friday, March 02, 2012 5:58:21 PM We can't be trusted with guns, we might shoot ourselves in the shoulder.
Blake Ressler Blake Ressler Friday, March 02, 2012 6:00:49 PM all seriousness, there are a lot of vaginas in this business that will hold back for just about anything.
William Anderson William Anderson Friday, March 02, 2012 6:06:47 PM I have to agree with the others, without a doubt this in not the fault of the medics. the part that discusses the the act, "The act requires that paramedics who decide to withhold or delay patient care must "go to the scene, see it, make an assessment: Does the environment appear to be safe? Can I get out of my vehicle?''. you can't expect unarmed Paramedics to enter a potentially dangerous scene to see if they have to back out. What if they get in and can't get out?
Kristy Dawn Richards Kristy Dawn Richards Friday, March 02, 2012 6:18:12 PM Looking at statistics in both EMS and law enforcement, there’s obviously a problem.(1,2) Although there’s no national database on EMS deaths associated with law enforcement activities, a 1992–1997 study published in the December 2002 Annals of Emergency Medicine determined that 114 EMTs and paramedics were killed on the job. That’s an estimated 12.7 fatalities per 100,000 EMS workers—more than twice the national average.(3) As for law enforcement officers, their deaths are tracked and categorized annually. The past 10 years averaged 161.2 officers killed per month, with an average of 54.2 as a result of gunfire.(2) This is quoted from the Jems magazine.
Julie Alzate Julie Alzate Friday, March 02, 2012 6:20:00 PM IM not sure all information the dispatcher received was relayed to the crew. need more information.
Teresa Maria Doesnot Teresa Maria Doesnot Friday, March 02, 2012 6:23:22 PM Wow ..... I blame there 911 SYSTEM, 1 dispatch, police, and medics. Where's the clarification of weapons, and or responsiveness, injuries noted head trauma the Patient had fallen in hallway unknown, had been drinking does not sound violent to me...
Chris Smith Chris Smith Friday, March 02, 2012 6:29:14 PM Easy killer. We aren't the only ones reading this. Lol. I'm certain you have no particular crews in mind. I got freakin served this morning. Hurry up and get better. I'm tired of telestaff trying to get me to work your truck.
Dan Brown Dan Brown Friday, March 02, 2012 6:33:14 PM Anytime you have questionable information on any call should immediately put up red flags. The fact that the caller stated, "he might be drunk" should also put up red flags as those who have been drinking can be unpredictable and a definitely danger to those responding. Scene safety is and has to be thought of with each and every response. How can we render aid if we become victims ourselves? The idea of being physically at the scene to determine if it is safe is crazy. Once you walk into an unstable or dangerous scene, it is too late. Again, how can we render aid, if we become victims ourselves?
Robert Janes Robert Janes Friday, March 02, 2012 7:30:33 PM The paramedics in question can only work with what they are given from dispatch. As a fellow medic, I can understand their justification for 'staging' when the information they've been given is "HBD". Proper coding of the call from dispatch would have changed the outcome of this call, and responsibility should fall on the dispatch line of questioning rather than the field medics themselves. Sadly, some EMS systems require their call takers and dispatchers to stick to a script rather than probe for accurate answers. We're always taught to put yourself and your partner first, then your patient and the public. Staging is a common thing in EMS as we're not going to put ourselves in harms way, we're not good to you if we're harmed ourselves. Albeit, most of us do out of nature, that's why we become Medics in the first place. As for the supervisor not following up immediately after a stage request has been sent out, I can't comment on this. I work in a provincial system (aka state-wide system), where the closest Supervisor unit may be hours away, (though only a phone call away if necessary). Hopefully this case will result in better tracking of calls and dispatch information being relayed to the medics in the field, and open the eyes of some law-makers and the public on Paramedic safety.
Nathan StClair Nathan StClair Friday, March 02, 2012 11:53:03 PM Dispatch Sucks..... Not a day goes by that I don't hear that from a co worker or friends at other companies... They really need to find a new way to train these guys and girls.... they have absolutely no clue what they are doing 90% of the time.... and this is the result.. Paramedic and EMT's going to court in lawsuits being held for failure to act or delayed responses due to piss poor dispatching.... I am sure we all have dispatch horror stories.... Its not freekin rocket science...
Chantal Duvier Chantal Duvier Saturday, March 03, 2012 1:59:10 AM A man lying on the ground on his face, apparently unconscious does not strike me as unsafe in the least. There is no other indication in this story that medical personnel were at risk for their safety. Their response baffles me, actually. Perhaps another career is in order.
Jamie Lajaunie Jamie Lajaunie Saturday, March 03, 2012 3:20:04 AM Safety first. If you think something could possibly go wrong... It probably will...
Aidan Tasker-Lynch Aidan Tasker-Lynch Saturday, March 03, 2012 4:19:40 AM Even drunk guys have heart attacks! - anyway just because a guy is drunk, doesn't make him threat to safety. I have always worked on the basis of perceived danger, before standing off on an emergency call. Our duty is to attend to the patient and not make assumption of danger where there is none - if you don't like that scenario, guess your'e in the wrong job.
Lori Collins Lori Collins Saturday, March 03, 2012 7:04:09 AM As a paramedic in the city of flint Michigan......we go on calls where we walk into danger on every shift and are sadly used to it. I would have entered this scene without any hesitation. Just because someone might be drunk is no excuse to not respond.....if that was the case i would have to stage for a majority of my calls.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 7:58:28 AM I just can't understand why a dispatch note alerting a crew to a drinking patient would cause it to stage itself? Patient has a gun, rocket launcher, anthrax powder, are the kind of things that would make me remind dispatch we aren't the swat team and to send them in first. Not a drunk dude lying on his face. Come to think of it if I staged for every drinking patient I have ever treated, I would've staged on about 80% of all my calls, really this is 911 alcohol drives the majority of our calls! Sounds like the crew was new and miss interpreted a safety memo they read. Good reminder to know our local laws, and follow them. Sounds like they could've drove by the scene and done some creative writing to fulfill this Canadian law if they were that concerned about the drinking.
Matt Hansen Matt Hansen Saturday, March 03, 2012 8:10:56 AM I agree. Take the psychiatric patient for example; you arrive on scene and find that they are out of their mind (Altered Mental Status) you must protect them which may mean restraining, either physical or chemically. If you choose not to and they run into traffic and get hit by a car, you are 100% negligent. It’s all summed up in duty to act.
Josiah Lee Mathias Cook Josiah Lee Mathias Cook Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:37:54 AM First part of a call, Scene Safety. If its not safe, wait for police, power company, firefighters etc. Paramedics are trained to not go into a situation where it could result in adding more patients. Hell, if they get hurt who the hell is going to help anyone? They do their job the same anyone else does and they did it according to the training.
Brenden Murphy Brenden Murphy Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:42:35 AM what if the person was attacked and hit in the head and the guy who did it was hiding to attack another person it does happen.
Glenn Johnson Glenn Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:47:12 AM One safety is the highest priority of scene size up, then comes the rest of the primart assessment.
Jason Astafan Jason Astafan Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:47:53 AM I remember responding to a call for a person with decreased consciousness...nearest cop was about 30 minutes away and was engaged on another call...entered the residence and he was actually lethargic, but there was a loaded shotgun lying underneath a pile of clothes at the foot of his bed...if he had intended us harm, he could have easily done it and we would have been powerless...learned from that mistake, always wait for cops...
Ryan Lusby Ryan Lusby Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:48:10 AM Wait....They get a lunch break?
Warren Moore Warren Moore Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:52:46 AM The question is: Why did the paramedics think this might have been an unsafe scene. There is no description of the scene or information about why they evaluated it as such. We certainly don't wait for the police to show at every scene we might not have full details of, so why the caution here? There must have been a reason.
Gilbert Taylor Gilbert Taylor Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:57:04 AM There was a collection of errors that occurred hear both by individuals and the system. First, The title of the article is inappropriate, if you do not go to the scene and stage due to safety concerns it isn't hiding. second, if that was a term used by the investigator(s), it is inappropriate. this title does nothing but make our entire profession look bad and seriously undermines public confidence in us, the system and expectations of care. Third, the system should either have better dispatch training, use EMD or not have left this inexperienced dispatcher alone. Fourth, the "Act" in itself is dangerous and goes contrary to the standard of care. Scene safety issues can, in some cases, be predetermined without going to the scene. for example, a riot, domestic violence, bar fight, etc., I have been on many calls that a bonafide moron could determine that the scene wasn't safe by the appropriate dispatch information. Fifth, this type of legislation is not intended to protect the providers and is used solely for the purpose of a blunt object to beat up on providers when they do something wrong or is perceived as wrong when it comes to scene safety concerns. Sixth, the term/abbreviation of "HBD" is dangerous yes, but is not necessarily inappropriate. However, that in itself (location dependent) could trigger a safety concern, but usually this is a very rare case. Seventh, by their own admission, they have a protocol for staging. these Medics may have been following an SOP and that information seems to be missing, and if they have a protocol that is in direct conflict to a law, doesn't that seem like there is something wrong with one or both of these things. If, these paramedics truly felt that the scene safety was in question then they did exactly what they should have and the real problem lays with in dispatch and the system, but that will not grab the headlines as quickly.
Gilbert Taylor Gilbert Taylor Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:02:34 AM Facts or not...hind sight is always 20/20. The title implies it was paramedics not a BLS crew... 18 months is long enough in most busy 911 systems to know how to size up a scene. from the info provided, i would still have gone in, but i wasn't there and i am sure there is more background information that this story didn't give us. See my other post on my opinions. Still not handled the way it should have been.
Danny Lynch Danny Lynch Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:06:55 AM bullshit. they were just doing what they were trained to
Jonathan Vanzant Jonathan Vanzant Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:14:43 AM I agree with Mr McAfee. I think this paramedics arer being made escape goats for a breakdown in the system. If the original was sketchy to begin with, then the police should have gone in first. then call in the medics.
Mike Eka Mike Eka Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:19:08 AM From 2009 .. Any related articles from same date/year?
Gilbert Taylor Gilbert Taylor Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:21:52 AM Doesn't look like it yet Mike, but if you follow the posts on EMS1, a guy from that system posted some more info
Mike Eka Mike Eka Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:25:43 AM Will check it .. When I get to my laptop
Tim Mason Tim Mason Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:26:26 AM First rule of EMS is personal safety. If a dispatcher warns of possible trouble, prudence and self preservation need to be exercised. If they want to change this they will need to structurally change EMS. We would need to be deputized and armed to meet hte unreasonable expectations displayed in this article. I really don't think they want that.
Corey D. Lewis Corey D. Lewis Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:26:35 AM Try that in Detroit, or any other urban city. Good luck going home. Intoxicated people are more likely to make irrational decisions, and are more prone to violence. Intoxicated people are usually surrounded by more intoxicated people. Don't even get me started on psych patients. Those are police calls all day everyday. A Paramedic should never be in the position to have to physically or chemically restrain a patient without police assistance. You are not negligent if you don't restrain a psych, that's a police issue, not a medical one. I'm no more responsible to keep them from jumping off a building, or playing in traffic. My safety is paramount. That's how I survived Detroit Fire/EMS for almost 10 years. I did CPR with a gun to my head because some gang banger wanted to posture in front of his buddies while I was working his grandma. That call was dispatched as an 82 year old in cardiac arrest. Any call can go sideways, let alone one dispatched with obvious red flags. The epic fail involving this one has nothing to do with the crew.
Corey D. Lewis Corey D. Lewis Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:37:30 AM Lori, just because you're used to it doesn't make it right. No hesitation gets people killed. You might get away with it in Flint, but it won't fly in Detroit.
Nicholas Batten Nicholas Batten Saturday, March 03, 2012 11:52:19 AM I agree with what they did because it said they were following protocol so if u say we shud break protocol every time sombody says there turnin blue alot of ems lodd to go to we get called all the time to cardiac arrest cpr in progress get there & nothing wrong they just wantd us there faster so I totally agree with these guys & untill they start allowin ems to start carring firearms this is how it shud b. But the dispatcher shud have been payin better attentio. To what the people were saying & not makin his own judgement
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:09:20 PM Let me get this straight, has been drinking is all you need to stage in Canada. Is it literal or are there more meanings to HBD. If that's true why did they get in trouble, apparently someone thought they should've gone on scene. There must be more to the story. I still say if HBD is literal, you need to go on scene, that's obvious. The way this rule sounds, if I tell the dispatcher I had a beer before I fell down the stairs the ambulance can stage for HBD!? Um what about drunk drivers with no cops on scene yet, see what I mean? It makes no sense, we must be missing something. I hope!
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:24:09 PM My friend please explain the HBD coding to us non Canadian EMS folks. The way it sounds and please correct me if I'm wrong. A patient admits to drinking prior to injury or illness and the dispatcher HBDs the call. The responding crew can stage and wait for cops, for that alone? If that's the case, that is one of the most conservative dispatching protocols I have ever heard of. If that's the protocol why did people get suspended? I just can't imagine my partner looking over at me and ask if we should stage because there's been drinking on scene?! My first response after laughing would be asking just how new he or she was. Thanks in advance, stay safe.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:31:21 PM This is crazy! So any 911 call from a Canadian bar, night club, wedding, wake, birthday party, ship christening (champagne) or any other scene where alcohol is consumed gets labeled HBD and the ems unit waits for cops down the block! Pleas someone tell me I'm on crazy pills.
Robert Janes Robert Janes Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:34:13 PM I'm not sure about Toronto EMS, from experience in other EMS systems, the decision to stage is determined by the dispatchers and call takers based on the call they've received and information they've been given. In my travels, the systems I've worked with, we were told whether or not we'd be staging for this call. 95% of the time, we aren't staged for someone who's been drinking unless there's some sort of violence, or the patient is known to police and EMS. Again, I can't stay for sure in regards to Toronto EMS if they have to stay for someone who's been drinking. For us, it's usually just a footnote in the call that patient may be intoxicated.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:45:19 PM Corey D. Lewis Is New York City "urban" enough? Really man you don't stage if the patient says they had a drink. Stay safe.
Doug Clegg Doug Clegg Saturday, March 03, 2012 1:11:36 PM the second caller was a security guard couldn't/shouldn't the dispatcher asked if the patient needed rescue breathing or CPR while waiting for EMS.
Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Saturday, March 03, 2012 1:37:07 PM This is a good example of poor communication between the caller and the dispatch. The paramedics rely on the info they get from dispatch. Dispatch must get the proper info and ask the correct questions. Then they must send the proper resources. We teach people to call 911, but never how to properly do it.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 1:45:27 PM Corey D. Lewis Dude last time I checked Flint was just as ghetto as any Detroit neighborhood, maybe worse. Just ask Micheal Moore. I'm asking you straight up man, would you not go on scene if you got dispatch notes that indicated the patient had consumed alcohol? If so that sounds so supper conservative, I can't imagine that in a million years. Please explain and stop dissing people not from Detroit, you don't work in the busiest or largest EMS system so maybe you shouldn't talk down to others in the similar systems as yours. Stay safe.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 2:20:09 PM KevinAmy Johnson SUPER spl yikes
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Saturday, March 03, 2012 2:37:26 PM Robert Janes Thanks for trying to explain it all for me, and many others I'm sure. The staging you refer to sounds familiar and acceptable. Dispatch says stage you stage and the cops clear you in. Yah that's the situation I'm familiar with. The article says something totally different,' The inquest has been told the paramedics decided to "stage'' or wait for police.' The medics decided! Not dispatch. Now maybe that's a typo, maybe the author meant dispatcher. If so why did they get in trouble? So I think the main point is being over looked in this thread. Who decided to stage, medics or dispatch. It makes sense to me the medics did and got burned for it, actually the patient was the big loser in this tragedy of a call. Are you picking up what I'm laying down? Please continue to educate me, thanks.
Saturday, March 03, 2012 4:31:02 PM Unfortunately, having not been there, it is hard to tell what the Medics were thinking but it is obvious that they were concerned about their safety. Safety is first, they were not "HIDING", they were staging for police. The article does not state whether they were told to wait for police or not. It also may be an extremely bad neighborhood where there has been danger before. This is a ridicules charge, we are not supposed to drive right up to a possible unsafe scene and determine whether we are safe or not, that is the job of trained professionals who deal with danger every day, our job is to save lives not try to get killed thereby creating more patients.
Nick Impellizzeri Nick Impellizzeri Sunday, March 04, 2012 1:58:37 AM Don't blame them last time we called out for person who was possibly drunk I ended up looking down the barrel of a pistol. So I stage all the time now that second scare was far to much for me. We now stage all the time. Glad those guys did.
Nick Impellizzeri Nick Impellizzeri Sunday, March 04, 2012 2:02:57 AM Won't fly in Atlanta either. People just don't care and are quick to fight with u or pull a weapon on u . Its a damn shame u have to wait on pd for a bunch of calls
Herb Rabb Herb Rabb Sunday, March 04, 2012 2:50:58 AM Everybody is fixated on the HBD.... What about "unknown problem"? I'm not going into "unknown problem" until the popo are on scene. Things turn to shit in Atlanta too quickly.
Herbert Thomas Herbert Thomas Sunday, March 04, 2012 3:40:44 AM It almost seems as though the 911 call taker had literally no idea how to assess the call, and then said call was dispatched in what can best be described as "the wrong way". An unhappy circumstance, to be sure. Thank goodness no other EMS service has to deal with this issue literally dozens of times a day.
Cheryl Whitt Cheryl Whitt Sunday, March 04, 2012 6:29:55 AM My thoughts on reading this is where was law enforcement and why did it take them so long to respond. I know that as a medic I have gone into questionable situations that thankfully have had a good outcome. I would like the man doing the inquiry to go out innthe exact same situation and see how he would react.
Anne Fricks Jones Anne Fricks Jones Sunday, March 04, 2012 6:58:45 AM Why did it take so long for police to get there? I, for one, am not trained to handle HBD or unknown problems. Lots of questions. I don't think I could work Atlanta. Happy thoughts for safety for those who
Anne Fricks Jones Anne Fricks Jones Sunday, March 04, 2012 6:58:56 AM Do
Paul Hanley Paul Hanley Sunday, March 04, 2012 7:36:11 AM The "Ontario Ambulance Act" is completely out of touch with the current necessary standards in most of the rest of the urban world. To force a medic unit to go into what they are told is an unsafe scene and NOT wait for local police to determine and control scene safety (which is what the police are trained and paid to do) is irresponsible and shows complete disregard for the lives and safety of those medics.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Sunday, March 04, 2012 9:14:57 AM Hi Herb, this tread fascinates me. I'm hearing a lot of EMS professionals make statements similar to yours." I'm not going into "unknown problem" until the popo are on scene.' The rules are going to vary from system to system, I just had no idea so many systems were so conservative about when you go on scene. I thought So Cal had some of the most conservative systems, know I'm thinking differently. What I believe it comes down to is what does unknown problem mean when you get verses when we get it. For me unknown medical just means no box to check for the dispatch, it's just a default, nothing ominous about it at all. I also hear a bunch of negative comments pointed at dispatchers on this site. I totally trusted and respected the ones I worked with. All that to be said I NEVER trusted a dispatch. That may sound like a contradiction. It's just that it's an imperfect system with to many reasons to get crazy information passed on to crews. So if it didn't sound dangerous on dispatch I go on scene and keep my head on a swivel and a door at my back. I don't get the whole waiting for cops if you don't have enough information on a sick person. I don't think you ever get the whole story from a 911 call really!
Herb Rabb Herb Rabb Sunday, March 04, 2012 10:32:07 AM Unknown problem could be a wide variety of things. In Atlanta, it could be something as simple as a tourist just passed by a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk. It could also mean the unknown problem is the pt has been shot 5 times and the shooter is still on the scene. Dispatch isn't withholding information. They often can't get the information due to language barriers, hangups, uncooperative callers. Sometimes the caller is just stupid to give any information when dispatch asks questions.The call taker has a difficult stressful job. If you want to charge in without any information, be my guest. But don't expect me too. I love my family too much to do that. This job is dangerous enough under good conditions.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Sunday, March 04, 2012 3:08:51 PM Thanks Herb, I guess some systems give crews more grace on staging when less information is available. I guess I just have never worked in one. It seemed like cops were on scene when we needed em and if we called for help, they would show in force in a couple minutes. Guess I'm fortunate to have worked in systems where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a cop (felony). I by no means advocate risking ones safety by charging into sketchy situations. I do wish the cops and ems in every system had a safe and professional working environment. Stay safe.
KevinAmy Johnson KevinAmy Johnson Sunday, March 04, 2012 3:48:35 PM Great thread! I learned so much about other EMS systems and their approaches to staging. I haven't read the Canadian response law, and admit I probably never will. With that said, I think it sounds a bit weird to tell an ems crew to observe a scene to determine its safety. Um you aren't getting me to observe anything with guns involved for instance, unless you let me trade my ford in for a tank. Maybe this incident will have the nice people of the Great White North take a second look at that law. I also learned I must have had the blessing to work in systems with pretty radical dispatchers and dispatching protocols. Sure I have had my fare share of rants and complaints like, "why don't they dispatch them waaa waa waaa blaaa blaaa blaaa" complaining. As a whole, despite being a human system with humans running it, I had a positive experience in every system I've worked in. If you find yourself not wanting to go on any "unknown" call until cops clear you in, YOU MAY NEED TO CHANGE SOMETHING. Will our job be perfectly safe? Heck no, and that's not the goal. We need to be as safe a realistically possible. News flash this job is very dangerous and an element of danger will always be there. Not being cavalier just a realist. The scene safety mantra we chant in school, is not magic and will not replace common sense. We should all expect cops to be on scenes that are dangerous. If your system has a hard time accomplishing that, you need to demand change. There are systems that manage to do it consistently, I have had the pleasure and honor in working in some. It made me angry to read the statement in the article that mentioned that multiple calls from ems supervisors were required to get pd on scene. That's a huge red flag of a system with a huge disconnect and rift between pd and ems. Maybe the cops are tired of being asked to interview every drunk person prior to ems to make sure it's "safe" for the medics. Just a guess. Stay safe out there.
Capen Anders II Capen Anders II Monday, March 05, 2012 7:22:56 AM not enough info all around.somebody did;nt get thier t;s crossed.unfotunately, the grunts are going to get the short end.thier out there in the thick of things and when anything goes wrong, they pay, even though it was ;nt 100%, thier fault.
Jerry McNuge Jerry McNuge Wednesday, March 07, 2012 7:37:00 PM "Our duty is to attend to the patient and not make assumption of danger where there is none - if you don't like that scenario, guess your'e in the wrong job."- seriously Aidan Tasker- find a new job, really? It easy to sit and make decisions when you are not in the situation but sitting in front of a computer. They made a decision to stage and wait. That's it. I am sure they have learned some things that they might do different next time. I think the one who has messed up was the dispatcher. But the same thing applies to him/ her, I am sure they learned some things that they might do different next time.
Rick Tresnak Rick Tresnak Thursday, March 08, 2012 9:17:31 AM Guys I understand scene safety as we all do. I think however that every EMS provider also has to be allowed to make a judgement call. If the information provided was limited, innacurate, or misleading we all deal with that. But what the article doesn't mention is location. Location is important. If these guys were actually trying to keep themselves safe, then they did the right thing. 18 months should say that they made it through their probational period, meaning they should know whether or not they had a reason to stage. I believe knowing a security guard being on scene, should at least have been able to tell the dispatcher the scene was safe. Dispatch should have been aware that the unit staged, and was waiting to make safe entry. I look at it as a judgement call and therefore unless these two were totally inadequate at their jobs we err with our Brothers/Sisters.
Sheila Williams Sheila Williams Thursday, March 08, 2012 4:32:26 PM Maybe the system in place needs to be overall by people who know what ems means and what is required. The dispatchers do need to ask questions in order to give the responding crew the right information for the appropriate care and insight, I am an EMT-B I/C in Massachusetts, US.
Thomas Horne Thomas Horne Friday, March 09, 2012 9:41:37 PM What part of "unknown call,'' is not clear. If I went into the scene on an unknown rescue call I might well be disciplined for not following the General Order on Unknown Rescues. It wasn't the HBD / ETOH that would have caused me to stage but rather that dispatch had classified the call as an Unknown Rescue.
Bobby Wisenberger Bobby Wisenberger Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:18:47 AM I don't care if it's a bus full of orphans turning blue! If it's unknown or appears suspicious in the dispatch I am staging until the ones with the guns are there. You seem preoccupied with being a public servant. Not much of a public servant if you're dead from a violent pt or family member.
Micky Finn Micky Finn Saturday, March 10, 2012 2:16:38 PM Rob, again, people could care less about EMS. It's like NFPA, they are standards. It's the same when Police are locking up EMS and FF's. Does it seem like they are so appreciated then? No! If you have counless cash to argue that's protocal, and this is SOP/SOG, go ahead. My point is, where was the PD? When the boy in Chgo died because the Amb left after being pelted with eggs, they had found themselves paying out mills because they left (Scene SafetY-SOP/SOG. etc. Ask them how well that stood up. Now they can't afford the EMS Books!
Doc Hawkins Doc Hawkins Saturday, March 10, 2012 4:20:19 PM It is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
Lori Collins Lori Collins Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:32:58 PM Oh Flint is just as ghetto as me! I never said it was right, just the way of life. If told there are weapons then of course we stage or if directed by dispatch we also stage....but just because there is alcohol I said......more than half my patients seem to be intoxicated or half way there at least. Yes, I know I am generalizing but it is what it is. It seems to me that yes while people are just plain crazy or don't give two sh**s about peoples lives....they generally do leave EMS alone as we are the ones that patch them and their buddies up once they decide to do stupid things. A truly mentally unbalanced person will not differentiate between us and Police so that is the true risk in my mind and of course you just never know when you will cross one of them on your path. Be safe out there.
Karl A Tettenborn Karl A Tettenborn Sunday, April 01, 2012 9:39:04 PM They broke the law? Are you kidding me? Where are the bullet-proof vests and guns? Hind-sight is 20-20 on this one, but who does this guy think he is? A Health Minister investigator telling crews they HAVE to go in and assess the scene and then back out? Thursday nightshift , we had 5 shootings and 2 stabbings for the shift and not a chance in hell were any of my crews going anywhere near those scenes " to assess" before the Police.
Val Imlah Val Imlah Sunday, April 01, 2012 9:47:10 PM Wow! Things are getting out of control.
Jordan Lawrence Jordan Lawrence Sunday, April 01, 2012 9:57:13 PM Way to go Karl!
David Matthew Bacon David Matthew Bacon Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:03:57 AM Bobby Wisenberger Not much of a public servant if people die cause you're a coward.
David Matthew Bacon David Matthew Bacon Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:05:13 AM "Scene safety" Lawl, you guys are sad. What a load of bullshit.
Thomas Horne Thomas Horne Monday, July 28, 2014 12:05:46 PM Matt Hansen May I suggest you review the legal axiom known as the "Doctrine of Rescue" prior to pontificating about the "Duty to Act."

EMS1 Offers

Breaking EMS News

Get the #1 EMS eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample

Connect with EMS1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Online Campus Both

EMS Videos