DC's EMS system: Just when you think it can't get worse...
Real reform will take real guts and real will to make happen
By Art Hsieh
"I think people should have confidence in our department because people have been transported," Kenneth Ellerbe, Chief DCFD, told the Washington Times.
I suppose technically that he's right. People are being transported — after waiting really long times, or in the back of fire engines or police cars.
Yeah, the citizenry could hail a cab, get a friend's car, bicycle to an emergency department. That would be a real confidence builder.
The irony of the chief's statement is really emblematic of our nation's capital city’s failed EMS system. What is even more outrageous is the seeming inability of the political system there to solve the problem.
I've realized that each time, I've shaken my head and thought to myself that it can't get any worse. Then it does.
The politicians need to make real reform within the DCFD. Not just having a couple of reserve ambulances, not moving EMS personnel around like pieces on a chess board.
EMS is a medical function, a part of the healthcare system, with real opportunity to impact the health of its community.
There is simply no measurement stick that can be used to show the DCFD in a good light. How can they possibly participate in the healthcare paradigm when they can't even get the basic element of transportation right?
Real reform will take real guts and real will to make happen, to blow up the whole thing and build an infrastructure that provides quality care safely, effectively and efficiently.
It's simply scary now. Remarkably frightening. "Confidence" is not the reaction I'd imagine if I lived in DC. "Disappointment,” "anger", "frustration" — those seem to ring more true in tone and relevance to what's happening to the DC EMS system.