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Home > Topics > Legal Issues

Ky. ambulance company, EMTs sued for removing teens clothes

One of the medics faces criminal charges from the Dec. 2 incident

By Kenneth Hart
The Daily Independent

GREENUP, Ky. — The Elliott County Ambulance Service and two of its employees are being sued by a woman who claims one of the workers improperly removed her teenage daughter's clothing while she was being transported to a hospital after suffering a head injury.

One of the defendants, Casey G. Berry, 31, of Morehead, also has been charged criminally in connection with the alleged incident, which occurred on Dec. 2.

The suit was filed Thursday in Greenup Circuit Court on behalf of the girl's mother by Ashland attorney John Vincent. The mother's name isn't being published because it could serve to identity the girl, who is listed as "Jane Doe" in court papers. The Independent doesn't identify alleged victims of sexually related crimes without their permission.

According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim was playing in a basketball game at Elliott County High School when she fell and hit her head on the court. Emergency personnel were summoned, and Berry and his co-defendant, Nicholas Porter of Sandy Hook, responded.

Berry and Porter determined the girl needed to be transported to a hospital because she was experiencing concussion-like symptoms, the suit states. She was placed in the back of an ambulance with Berry while Porter drove. An assistant coach from the girl's team also was on board, but "was forced to ride in the front of the vehicle despite asking to be in the back" with the girl, according to the suit.

The ambulance took a "lengthy and circuitous" route to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and, during the trip, the victim continued to complain of concussion-like symptoms, the suit states.

Berry, "without medical necessity and to satisfy his prurient interest," cut off the girl's clothing, leaving her in " a state of almost complete undress, including the complete removal of her top," the suit alleges.

The incident constituted a sexual assault on the girl, an invasion of her privacy and voyeurism as defined by Kentucky law, the suit maintains. The action seeks unspecified damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, physical distress and discomfort and outrageous conduct.

The complaint also accuses Porter of helping to facilitate the assault by taking a lengthy route to the hospital and by preventing the assistant coach from riding in the back with the girl. The ambulance service is accused of negligence for allegedly failing to properly hire or screen its employees.

Berry has been charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree official misconduct in connection with the incident. Both charges are Class B misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for each is a $250 fine and 90 days in jail.

According to Vincent, Berry is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 1 in Greenup District Court. He said it was also his understanding that Berry had surrendered his EMT license.

It was not immediately known whether Porter is still employed by Elliott Ambulance. Director Homer Lewis did not return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday.

Claims made in civil lawsuits state only one side of an issue. Under the law, the defendants have 20 days from the date they are served to respond to the allegations.


(c)2014 The Daily Independent (Ashland, Ky.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Rick Kendrick Rick Kendrick Friday, June 06, 2014 2:21:06 PM I tried to sound a warning years ago, as automatic scissor happy medics would take a patient's clothes off, even if the chief complaint was only a hangnail. Everyone had a funny story of disrobing a patient. The bubble of protection is slowly disappearing in the sludge of Litigation. Have a reason .. have a witness .. have documentation. It will get worse.
Don Talenti Don Talenti Friday, June 06, 2014 3:19:35 PM Not just medics. Nurses and docs too. There is a bizarre thing that happens when a patient is a "trauma". I recall working one night, when a man walked in to the ER, and said he was in an auto accident. He was driving a bread truck and hit a car, about a block from the hospital. He WALKED to the hospital. The triage RN decided he was a "trauma", so to the trauma room he went. When I got back to the room, about 4 to 5 minutes later, he was on the stretcher completely naked, surrounded by 4 nurses, the female ER secretary, and a female X-ray tech, and he was asking "Why am I laying here naked?" to which the RN replied "because that's what we do". I covered the guy with a blanket. When we train people by rote, they act like heartless, unthinking robots with no compassion, nor empathy, nor concern for any patient's dignity, modesty or privacy.
David Robert Dillon David Robert Dillon Friday, June 06, 2014 7:12:41 PM Good lord, if there is a need, do what has to be done, but have a little respect for the patient, cover them back up. There is the old verbage, a trauma patient is a naked patient. But that is only in extreme circumstances, and you still should cover them up once you have done your medically approved evaluation.
Anthony Alexander Anthony Alexander Friday, June 06, 2014 7:24:37 PM They need to have cameras in the back of the ambulance to protect patients and of course the men and women who dedicate their lives and time to save and help others.
Casey Moyes Casey Moyes Friday, June 06, 2014 7:32:20 PM I always err on the side of caution when disrobing / cutting clothes off. Always have a witness unless they're bad jacked up and doing a trauma assessment enroute. I had a complaint one time from an "unconscious" Pt for removing her clothing. Fortunately I had a witness that saw me removing the other four Fentanyl patches off of her and never went anywhere besides a complaint. I asked my supervisor who I can call to complain on her for faking unconsciousness. He didn't think that was funny.
Lori Lee Gaugler Lori Lee Gaugler Friday, June 06, 2014 7:40:41 PM I am a firm believer in "trauma naked" . You never know what is hiding under those clothes. Even if the pt walks into the ER..there may be hidden issues.
Akbar Mohammad Akbar Mohammad Friday, June 06, 2014 7:47:37 PM While there is a necessity to do a full assessment, there also exists the need to respect patient privacy and safety. These medics should have known better and their service should have had rules in place. No medic should be in the back of an ambulance by themselves with a minor and no witness. That is just plain common sense.
Jason McCool Jason McCool Friday, June 06, 2014 8:13:53 PM For a basketball injury? That's just stupid.
Jesse Bell Jesse Bell Friday, June 06, 2014 8:16:21 PM That opens up a whole HIPPA issue, though.
Michelle Sandefur Proctor Michelle Sandefur Proctor Friday, June 06, 2014 8:22:26 PM I would not let anyone ride in the back..I dont give a flip who the patient is and who wanted o ride in the back.. if you are not police or fire you do not hop in the back. Someone saw flashy lights and saw $ cha ching
Scott Brown Scott Brown Friday, June 06, 2014 8:23:03 PM Jesse Bell No, it doesn't. Learn what HIPAA is....first, learn how to spell it.
Jeremy Markham Jeremy Markham Friday, June 06, 2014 8:38:29 PM Scott Brown Not necessary.
Scott Brown Scott Brown Friday, June 06, 2014 8:40:52 PM Jeremy Markham 100% necessary when people spread disinformation.
Jesse Bell Jesse Bell Friday, June 06, 2014 8:43:50 PM Scott Brown A simple typo. Including cameras inside of ambulances further opens up complex issues.
Scott Brown Scott Brown Friday, June 06, 2014 8:52:07 PM Jesse Bell No more complex than any other aspect of medical records. The complexity is legal in regards to the myriad of state statutes that cover video and audio recording...not HIPAA. Cameras are now fairly common, so that horse is out of the barn.
Bertha Marmolejo Bertha Marmolejo Friday, June 06, 2014 9:10:52 PM I forbid the idea of cameras in the back of the ambulance. I consider it a violation to the patients privacy ad the privacy of the medics involved. And it does violate HIPPA.
Anthony Alexander Anthony Alexander Friday, June 06, 2014 9:15:51 PM Actually in most ER trauma rooms there are cameras for this specific reason.
Julie Summers Julie Summers Friday, June 06, 2014 9:35:30 PM Scott Brown actually yes that would be a HIPAA violation of a patients expected right to privacy. You cannot record anyone in or near bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, hotel rooms, exam rooms, or other private spaces in which people can reasonably expect to maintain their privacy. (The back of an ambulance included). The liability for privacy violations can extend beyond the end users to include integrators who install a system in an area such as a patient examining room (of which the back of an ambulance is a rolling exam room) in which it will clearly violate a person’s privacy.
Skott Harrington Skott Harrington Friday, June 06, 2014 9:48:06 PM come on. you can put leads on under the shirt. if its a head injury, there's really no reason to be down there without a top on
Damian Mathyssen Damian Mathyssen Friday, June 06, 2014 10:42:14 PM I think it could be set up and regulated to save directly to a hard drive. Every call saved as an individual file. Only accessed by court order if civil litigation occurs concerning said call.
Judy Scott Land Judy Scott Land Friday, June 06, 2014 10:55:26 PM Our insurance prohibits anyone but medical personnel in the back of our squads. If they dont want to ride up front, they don't ride.
David Howard David Howard Friday, June 06, 2014 11:22:35 PM I don't see any reason why they should have cut the girl's clothes for a possible concussion from a basketball game. I only cut clothed off for mva or cardiac arrest in order to do effective cpr. In this sue happy world you have to be carefull
Crystal Mueller Crystal Mueller Friday, June 06, 2014 11:34:58 PM Was patient immobilized if not why were cloths taken off. You can work around clothing to check for injuries instead of cutting it off. If patient is a minor and you have to expose patient it should not be done in front of assistant coach they are not a parent
Peter Field Peter Field Saturday, June 07, 2014 1:52:19 AM I worked in EMS for 24 yrs. Out of that time I did have to remove clothing from Females. If the female was alert I would take a sheet or blanket open it up and lay across them while doing so I explained what I was getting ready to do and only remove what was necessary. If the female was unresponsive I still treated her the same way. with covering with a sheet or blanket and only removing what was necessary. Yes I have seen those EMS Personnel that just want to cut the clothes off of patients in front of everybody and not give any kind of respect for the patient. It is those who get in situations like this. But then I always learned from day 1. If you put your hands on patient or do something you had better document exactly what you did and why. That way if it ever comes up you can explain it.
Brian Lloyd Brian Lloyd Saturday, June 07, 2014 3:49:29 AM Ive seen some busses with cameras in them. It is a good idea so this kind of stuff happens. The patient will pretty much win all the time. Even if were doing our job. Sad but true
Greg Taylor Greg Taylor Saturday, June 07, 2014 4:06:14 AM As noted in the article, only one side has been presented. I would like to hear from the EMS personnel, and a description of the clothing. The incident happened in December at a high school: Was the pt playing in the school (IE basketball uniform= sufficient access to assess resps & place EKG leads) or was she outside (IE sweat shirt and multiple layers)? Personally in the scenario as presented I would probably not do a "trauma naked" survey: But again we only have the one side. Additionally: Was the "circuitous route" because of traffic, road closure, smoother travel, or whatever the complainant alleges? The worse part of this story is most likely we will never her the "other side": there will be an insurance settlement barring comment, or the records will be sealed by the court..
Christopher Maloney Christopher Maloney Saturday, June 07, 2014 4:38:45 AM I'm a firm believer in using my experience to determine if clothing removal is needed. Going "by the book' is a crutch for the inexperienced. A basketball court head injury doesn't necessitate total clothing removal, unless she had an Acme safe dropped on her, a la Wile E. far as a care giver or responsible party riding in the back goes, it's all a matter of patient care. If the 3rd is not interfering with care, I'll let them. The calming effect IS treatment, after all. Our policy is that it's the discretion of the crew.
Jeff Moos Jeff Moos Saturday, June 07, 2014 5:51:08 AM Why?
Daniel S. Syme Daniel S. Syme Saturday, June 07, 2014 5:51:59 AM "Have a reason .. have a witness .. have documentation. It will get worse." You are so right Rick Kendrick.
Walt Tramontana Walt Tramontana Saturday, June 07, 2014 6:48:21 AM Don Talenti Thankfully in my EMT class I was taught those keywords...My instructor ingrained in us in both the classroom and field; Dignity and Modesty, and Kindness and Professionalism (to bystanders/family as well as patient) usually keeps a lawsuit at bay.
Walt Tramontana Walt Tramontana Saturday, June 07, 2014 6:50:09 AM I agree, with exception of young children that are conscious. They should have their parent to lessen anxiety.
Walt Tramontana Walt Tramontana Saturday, June 07, 2014 6:54:02 AM Jesse Bell Only is it an issue of privacy when the recording is used for reasons unrelated to the direct care of that patient. Meaning; if the patient wanted to file suit or make a claim, the judge should be able to okay it. Same goes for an EMT pressing charges for battery, etc. Which again it would become part of legal proceedings and the judge can handle the issue of redacting public record to maintain privacy.
Jennifer Carlson Jennifer Carlson Saturday, June 07, 2014 7:36:36 AM It is HIPPA - Health insurance privacy and portability act.
Michelle Sandefur Proctor Michelle Sandefur Proctor Saturday, June 07, 2014 7:36:38 AM Jeff Moos Well first it is againts the rules at both companies I have worked for due to insurance not covering them... second people are idiots on what we are / are not supposed to do. I dont want anyone back there making allegations that my medic is or is not doing his / her job when in fact they are just ignorant and have no clue... I am to assume if you call an ambulance it is an emergency and you dont need to be in the medics way preventing him from doing his job.. or freaking out causing a distraction. Even with children... 99% of the time they WILL calm down more so without parent cooing them and crying and stressing out. My child was the patient a long time ago.. i was made to get up front. Once we pulled out the medic was able to get my child calmed down and it was better for her that i was upfront.
Jennifer Carlson Jennifer Carlson Saturday, June 07, 2014 7:38:34 AM Oops, nope, I was wrong. Carry on.
John Scott John Scott Saturday, June 07, 2014 7:40:45 AM Makes me think money hungrey lawyer when brought up the wanted to ride in the back, that showed me digging more then anything. Had that person rode in the back, and got hurt, the lawsuit would be 100X bigger then this one. We also know this is a easy way to get a quick buck, because of the amount to defend. I was sued for breaking a ladies hip... who called 911 and said she had fell and broke her hip ! Cost me days with a lawyer, and they gave her $50,000 because it would cost far more then that to defend ! Yep.. Thats how it works, and we wonder why costs are so high ?
John Scott John Scott Saturday, June 07, 2014 7:42:08 AM Had a lady once who said she was a nurse, was going to allow to ride in back, asked if she was an RN? no a CNA... Get out of my truck !
Michelle Sandefur Proctor Michelle Sandefur Proctor Saturday, June 07, 2014 7:42:37 AM I am with you.. i Would like to hear the EMS version.. as far as "the long way" the driver took ... was he from the area? Was he trying to get on the highway? Did they get diverted en route to a hospital? I have often not gone the best way because I was very unfamiliar with the area or because of bumpy roads ect...The fact they brought that up and the patients coach was not in back... those are very explainable) .. The only thing I would question is why the medic cut her clothing. I am sure there is another side and that they did what thought was best, but like you said insurance will settle and someone will get rich quick
Jeff Moos Jeff Moos Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:11:10 AM No offense, but ridiculous. If someone wants to ride with a loved one and the situation allows it, they should be allowed to.
Weston Davis Weston Davis Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:43:41 AM This is a truly ignorant comment on so many levels. 1. If it makes the situation better, the let the person ride in the back. 2. If there is any chance, like this case, of the provider being accused of wrongdoing then allow the person to ride in the back. We all see those people we know are going to try to get us on anything they can. Having the witness ride in the back can truly save ones career. 3. I did not have the child, the child is not by God given responsibility. Let the person who is responsible for the child take care of them in the back and do their parental/ guardian job. 4. If they are properly belted in the captains chair in the back how would insurance not cover them? I have heard others use this excuse and make up an imagined policy. I have worked for several private and 911 services and have never seen or heard of an actual policy stating this.
Rj Reaper Naef Rj Reaper Naef Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:50:11 AM this is sick cutting off clothes for a head injury seriously? I mean one thing to cut the stuff off for a gsw to the chest or major deformity to a front end with a bent wheel. People like these jackasses are the reason we are the least respected profession Thanks guys
John Overton Lewis III John Overton Lewis III Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:51:40 AM I'm on the fence about this. Expose and examine is necessary, however head injury? There can be a head to toe examination physically without removing clothing. There is more to this story not being told here. The police felt a need to charge him. I'd love to know what he was thinking.
Aaron Zevgolis Aaron Zevgolis Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:56:56 AM okay.. to the people that say it is in violation of HIPAA then why is it if I go to the ER the papers I sign say I can be video recorded?
Michelle Sandefur Proctor Michelle Sandefur Proctor Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:57:33 AM at the same time this is the coach.. who is not the child parent. I know for a fact the two companies I worked for said you dont do it.. if a PARENT needed to under certain situations ride in the back you get the ok from the supervisor. but if there was a reason for the medic to cut the uniform off the girl (and there may well have been) then the coach did not need to see it. It is ignorant of them to say the one driving intentionally went a long way.. I have heard so many family members belly ache saying I was going a longer way when I have been diverted en route, or when I went a different way they they would have . If it is an emergency situation then you dont need a know it all bystander getting in the way. I would like to hear the other side of the story.. and if you have worked different companies then you know you have to go by company policy and every company has different policies. It is a sad day when having "witnesses" overrides patient care... maybe you work in a lovely town where people act like they have sense but most the calls here that truely need an ambulance they are freaking out, having fits, and making the scene much worse then it needs to be. I know medics at other companies that let moms hold the babies while they are strapped in the stretcher... i would not for any reason allow a baby to not be strapped in. but each crew do things differently , each company does things differently. From what i read on this story I do not see a reason any charges should be filed. Maybe there is more to it they are not telling,
Hoey Lester Hoey Lester Saturday, June 07, 2014 10:12:23 AM We have camera's in the back and front of our ambulances just for this reason.
Chris Winkelmann Chris Winkelmann Saturday, June 07, 2014 10:29:35 AM This job is 80% common sense. If you don't have it, then get out. If you go on a traumatic hand injury, are you going to cut off all there clothes?? NO. This was very ignorant on the EMT's part. Very poor judgment! I personal know EMT's that have cut all the clothes off of a man oand women to get there kicks and for no other reason. We don't know the whole story either, so it needs to be thought upon with a grain of sand.
Lynn Jusko Lynn Jusko Saturday, June 07, 2014 12:26:07 PM If you have ever been in the back of an ambulance when it has crashed, you would know why insurance and just plain safety reasons don't recommend the coach isn't even a family member..and personal questions will be asked..
Gjb Bergeron Gjb Bergeron Saturday, June 07, 2014 12:37:07 PM It would never happen because of liability issues.
Jeremy Federer Jeremy Federer Saturday, June 07, 2014 2:38:49 PM Most ambulance services do not allow passengers to ride in the back for insurance reasons unless they are the parent of a young child for comfort reasons. All non patient passengers ride in the front of the ambulance at my service if they are allowed to ride at all.
Elizabeth Cumming Elizabeth Cumming Saturday, June 07, 2014 2:57:18 PM Michelle Sandefur Proctor I agree with you. I almost always try and get the family/friend to ride up front (if they come at all) I have had patients family members try and grab the wheel, play with the radio, grab needles in the back, try and steal drugs but most often its the constant distraction of the family member that compromises my patient care that I cite as my reason for not having family there. It has to be a special situation for me to take escorts. Plus it's just not safe back there if there was a crash
Deana Ellis-Thomas Deana Ellis-Thomas Saturday, June 07, 2014 3:07:27 PM I believe this is a very rare occurrence and I also do not allow anyone else to ride in the back, small space and if things gi bad can't have someone else freaking out while trying to take care of patient .. every service I have worked for that is policy
Jenny Fleay Jenny Fleay Saturday, June 07, 2014 5:03:48 PM Sounds like they should be charged
Scott Lancaster Scott Lancaster Saturday, June 07, 2014 5:20:31 PM Not a HIPAA issue.
Greg Beni Greg Beni Sunday, June 08, 2014 5:47:16 AM It's a law in several states that nobody is to be in the back except the EMTs.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:46:38 AM Ridiculous. A patient-centered medic would not make such a statement, and a patient-centered service would not have such a rule. Just asking for trouble, and the lawsuit and criminal action that follows. Particularly if you are a male, and the patient is a female, if for no other reason than your self protection, let the family member ride along. PS, ask your lawyer what "in loco parentis" means. The coach should have been allowed to ride with the player/patient.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:48:07 AM Buy yourself some good insurance. If you want to strip all your patients, trouble will surely follow you all of your days.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:48:27 AM Ridiculous.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:48:43 AM Ridiculous. Get new insurance.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:49:18 AM That is absolute bull*&^%~ Show me the statute - I'm here to tell you it does not exist.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:51:17 AM The comments that I read below make me very scared for the future of our profession. The gross ignorance and mythology makes my concern about under-educated EMS providers grow and grow. First, no insurance company puts a clause about where in the vehicle a person may ride. If your admin tells you that is the case, ask to see the paperwork (it doesn't exist). There are no state laws that say only a patient can ride in the back. And if you decide to strip a "possible concussion" patient, turn in your card and get out of our profession, please.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:53:12 AM I don't think so. At my service, the medic would be expected to allow the person in loco parentis (the coach) to ride with the patient. Gone!
Daniel Gerard Daniel Gerard Sunday, June 08, 2014 9:29:34 AM Skip, I agree with you...when I ran EMTAC I had a policy, that was developed with our insurance carrier, for our older vehicles, unless the patient was a minor, patients who were sexually assaulted, or an adult who had a guardian or a medical surrogate, any passengers going with a patient had to ride upfront, because the seat belts/shoulder restraint system was better in the front. We didn't have decent restraint systems in the back, and it was safer for passengers up front. Without seeing the current policies for this organization, this might be a situation where the policy or the information had not been communicated, and so like everything else, it was just an old practice, that was valid at one time, that was continued on for years. I can't imagine they are using vehicles that are so old they do not have an adequate restraint system in the patient compartment.
Sam Mathis Sam Mathis Sunday, June 08, 2014 9:30:56 AM I've worked in EMS since 1986. No comment on clothing removal because we weren't there. I think I might have let a rider in the back less than 5 times out of all my trips. You want to ride, be calm, buckle up and get in the front.
Mike Smertka Mike Smertka Sunday, June 08, 2014 10:01:12 AM Skip, I can sympathize with your opinion on passengers in the back, I cannot find one realistic reason to issue an all out ban on people riding in the patient compartment. However, after I read this article I suspect even the stripping is part of the same learned behavior. Clearly these providers were indoctrinated into the dogma of "no passengers in the back." We both know that initial EMS education is very black and white, "do X a certain way always or you kill the patient." This is even enforced in the merit badge card courses like PHTLS etc. If I had to draw up an explanation of these events it would sound something like this: Inexperienced providers respond to a patient, having been told throughout their career they must do things a certain way, they pissed off all of the bystanders with their inflexibility. At this point they proceeded to use their wrote skills for assessment, once done, they realized that there was absolutely nothing they could do to treat the patient and commenced with "the stare of life." The driver probably did not know the fastest way to the hospital and without the aid of GPS probably went the way he/she knew, which was not the most direct route. All of this creates as very toxic situation which lacks any common sense and can easily be misinterpreted as to the intent. I am willing to bet a similar situation plays out almost every day, the only major difference is in this case, those involved were pissed enough to call the authorities. As a great doctor I know often says "make every patient your friend, you would never sue your friend, but you would gladly sue your enemy." I don't suspect foul play in this case, but it definitely could have gone better.
Nickie Caroon Nickie Caroon Sunday, June 08, 2014 10:06:27 AM Nobody rides in the back of my truck either unless the there is a child under 3. If something goes down hill I can't take the chance of the person riding impeding with my treatment. It is also a safety issue for the rider, the front seat is safer.
Thomas Little Thomas Little Sunday, June 08, 2014 11:50:13 AM Skip, I am normally 98% in agreement with your opinions, but I must disagree with the comments regarding insurance liability. You're correct there are no laws or written exclusions disallowing riders in the rear of the ambulance, but one of the major insurers strongly encourage insureds to develop policy prohibiting non-medical riders in the patient compartment unless absolutely necessary such as mother and child. In court, following your departments policy, right or wrong carry almost as much authority. Riders belong up front belted in and should be family members. Ambulances are not taxi's for non-family members to ride to the hospital. If not a family member, they won't be allowed in the patient care area with patient anyway, so get your own ride. As a former owner, I agree with no riders unless absolutely necessary. As we have seen, ambulances are dangerous places to be an only necessary personnel should be on board. I don't want the liability of someone getting injured or interfering with patient care. Regarding the comments about unnecessary stripping down of a patient with a head injury, I would turn that medic into the authority myself. Absolutely no reason for such behavior.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Sunday, June 08, 2014 11:57:01 AM Thomas Little - I guess, Tom, I lean a little further toward the patient's side of this. I don't care what an insurance company "encourages," unless it is a condition of the policy I'm not bound by it. And, if I disagree with their conditions, I can seek another insurer. Glad to be a government entity that doesn't have to deal with commercial insurers in that regard. As long as we have to hire relatively un-screened 19 year olds, mostly males, to work on our ambulances, then I not only will permit, but I WANT a parent, guardian, or someone "in loco parentis" in the back of the truck with me if at all possible, at least when the patient is not requiring acute interventions (like this one). If for no other reason than their presence will deter any untoward conduct before it starts. Just me - as the father of two teen-aged girls.
Pat Riel Pat Riel Sunday, June 08, 2014 12:29:21 PM wow...
Corbin Doades Corbin Doades Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:17:40 PM The EMS service I worked for didn't allow passengers in the back due to insurance reasons. I have allowed a parent to ride in the back just based on the child's age. I understand the reason for having the coach ride up front. The removal of clothing is somewhat questionable for a sport head injury. But like someone else mentioned, we don't know the other side of the story so we can't and shouldn't speculate.
Mike Fox Mike Fox Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:33:48 PM After reading all these comments that their are a lot of people out there that are a bunch of paragods. Nobody rides in the back period or in case my pt goes down hill I need space to work. I've been doing this for some time now and if you can't tell how bad your pt is before you transport then you should probably go into a different profession. 99% of the time you should know if your pt is critical or not. Yes if you have a critical pt then no you should not have riders in back. Thinking you are a bad ass and having the rule that nobody can ride in the back unless it's a little kid is just you trying to be a badass. Their is no reason not to let a rider in back for a teenage girl who is scared unless you are afraid that that rider is going to see you the fact that you don't know what you are doing. Also if it helps calm the anxiety the pt is feeling than it is just another tool for you. Further more the excuse of they were doing an ecg and that's why the had to cut her top off is crap. You can put the leads on the limbs. I can't say for sure if these guys are guilty or not that's for the courts to decide. The arguments some people are making though is really scary. You can have a camera in the back it in know way violates hippa. It has to be recorded to a secure device or hard drive but yes you can have them in the pt compartment. There are so many more things I want to commit on that pissed me off about some comments and the inability of people to be able to change there treatment from person to person or call to call. To have one way they treat every trauma instead of what the situation calls for but I don't have time.
April Vezie April Vezie Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:38:28 PM No one other than the patient and the crew or fire and police should be in the back. Period! Parents should NEVER be allowed in the back esp. if the kid is extremely sick since they just get in the way and make it hard to work on a kiddo.
Angie Quinn Angie Quinn Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:41:46 PM from the story... i see there was no need to cut pt.s clothing
Jamie Gray Jamie Gray Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:54:52 PM I am not saying I agree with what took place. But we do not know what happened and we don't have have the facts, she could have said she had chest pain/tightness so he needed to do a three lead? Easy to judge when we don't know all the facts.
Geneva Christine Elkins Geneva Christine Elkins Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:59:02 PM Based on the mechanism of injury, I don't see why all her clothes had to be cut off, I would hope that their history of behavior would be looked into, like have there been any complaints of sexual nature against the crew members? Are the new to the field? It very well may have been scrappy judgement, coupled with someone who did not get their way to ride in the back and did not like the route they took and twisted it all around. Making innocent mistakes does not exactly mean there were 2 perverts on the truck, maybe 2 morons who did not have good discretion. Also, if the girl was alert and oriented, what happened to asking her "do you feel like you hurt anywhere else?" Then document that isolated head injury only suspected, patients clothing not removed in order to protect privacy. It seems a big giant headache could have been prevented with common sense, or "Paraverts" were working that truck.
Steve Apperson Steve Apperson Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:59:41 PM from what I gather from the article two male attendants one young female victim who is a teen no matter what unless a code or a trauma either a parent or guardian should have been in back with the victim and the emt
????? ??????? ????? ??????? Sunday, June 08, 2014 2:00:00 PM Isolated head injury does not warrant a long trip to hospital and being stripped on the way, even with an adult patient. If they were my employees I'd give them a lengthy suspension without pay.
Jack Pugh Jack Pugh Sunday, June 08, 2014 3:28:45 PM If she's in a basketball uniform, no need to remove clothing. I probably wouldn't in my ER. Sounds justified to me...
Eric KT Eric KT Sunday, June 08, 2014 4:23:15 PM Michelle Sandefur Proctor , you need to re-evaluate your outlook on this job and the definition of what constitutes an "emergency." Not everything that people call an ambulance for needs one: you know that, I know that, and everybody who has worked on an ambulance knows that. To say that you can't have someone in the patient compartment with you because you have to assume that everything is an emergency is ridiculous. Does everything get transported lights and sirens to the hospital as well because "seconds count?" If you're comfortable with your patient care, why not have a witness there? It can both protect you, AND it can help the patient (and the passenger for that matter) feel better. If the patient is truly critically ill and the passenger could get in the way, that's one thing. Or if there is a safety issue (domestic comes to mind). But your average patient needs a slow, calming ride to the hospital, with a friend there if they want, and without having it treated as a life-or-death emergency.
J Dale Johnson J Dale Johnson Sunday, June 08, 2014 7:07:16 PM I have worked for two organizations that had written policies in place, spelling out who can ride in the patient compartment and when, and the other specifying when a rider can and cannot ride on the ambulance. I also worked for a system where more than one district ch….supervisor verbally counseled me on allowing someone to ride in the back that was not the parent of a very minor child, but I never saw a written policy. With that said, if someone wants to ride, fine, as long as critical interventions are not needed OR the rider is not disruptive. They have to ride in the CPR seat and they have to buckle the seatbelt (not open to negotiation). But even that option, to me, is not as good as the three-point restraint and airbag in front, but then that is because we have not really designed a safe ambulance in the US, but I digress. Part of what concerns me about this case, as reflected in some of the comments with the article, is that we have this set of folks that will use ‘ABCDE’ as an excuse, after all, they “are a trauma patient, if I don’t expose them I am in violation of protocol”. Of course, that leads me into a rant about our reliance on mnemonics for patient care rather than teaching good clinical and ethical judgment
Jeffrey Sanders Jeffrey Sanders Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:20:45 PM We don't let anyone ride in back with the exception of a parent if it is a young child and would serve as a benefit to the patients health. Otherwise I don't need someone with no training telling me what to do or complicating things on the ride to the hospital. The back of the box is my office. That being said if there is no indication of additional trauma then there was no need for the removal of her clothing. Both sides of the story will be told and judgment will be handed down.
Jon Hoerner Jon Hoerner Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:27:51 PM Good insurance won't cover that level of reckless and amateur-ish patient care. This is what happens when we train people to follow protocols instead of being clinicians.
Jon Hoerner Jon Hoerner Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:30:52 PM I'll buy you a beer if you can find a law that says what you claim. If I had more time on my hands I'd make it my personal mission to debunk all of these claims about mysterious laws and rules in EMS that don't actually exist.
Roxy McQueen Haag Roxy McQueen Haag Monday, June 09, 2014 8:15:07 AM Jeff Moos because they're in the way and can't let EMTS do their job. That's why.
Bryan Quick Bryan Quick Monday, June 09, 2014 9:03:50 AM I am against having anyone in the front due to the possible distraction to the driver, their sticky hands on personal items, and/or hygiene. Not having someone in the back with a female is asking for trouble. As long as the friends or family are not intoxicated or rude, it is in our best interest to have someone along. I usually with take a cop if its an OD or if trauma, other ff. Better to have the safety than the lawsuit.
Bryan Quick Bryan Quick Monday, June 09, 2014 9:05:34 AM Also, Document everything, even profanity that the patient is calling you.
Pat Riel Pat Riel Monday, June 09, 2014 9:13:28 AM Roxy, I think Jeff said "if the situation allows it". There are countless times when it is appropriate to have a family member escort accompany a patient in the back of the truck. If its a company policy that's one thing, but if it's not....good God. What the heck are you trying to do that results in such a rigid opinion?
Pat Riel Pat Riel Monday, June 09, 2014 9:17:19 AM Well said Skip Kirkwood.
Ivan Barrenechea Ivan Barrenechea Monday, June 09, 2014 10:11:17 AM Michelle Sandefur Proctor Unfortunately Michelle, here they sue for anything. Unless the child/minor is unstable, in NYC, they MUST come with a school rep, police, or parent in the back of the ambulance. And if the patient is a female, the male techs must be be careful with the assessment of that patient. I personally have family or female first responder present when doing my assessment, unless again the pt is unstable. All you need is a female edp or intox saying "he touched me inappropriately" and the male tech will be guilty before proven innocent in everyones eyes. When was the last time a female tech was accused of inappropriate behavior? In my 20 yrs in EMS, none that I know of. Be careful out there and protect your livelihood .
Michelle Sandefur Proctor Michelle Sandefur Proctor Monday, June 09, 2014 12:21:50 PM When my boss tells me no that no one is to ride in the back I will not lose my job over a belly ache.. if it is not an emergency then the only reason to let someone in the back is the hell of it... I have only had ONE occation in 10 years a family needed in the back.. it was a transport home. The child was hurt in an accident years before and had to have constant suction.. she got upset over anyone else suctioning her. And my mgt did approve it. I am not going to do anything against policy on a non emergency call. An emergency call they are in the way. But here it IS against policy and I have only one time ever had a time that it was in the patients benefit. The same ones that are sue happy would also "see" things in the truck that would be twisted in their heads and still want to sue.
Ivan Barrenechea Ivan Barrenechea Monday, June 09, 2014 1:00:00 PM Michelle Sandefur Proctor Well that's where the places we work for differ. I see it as protecting ourselves from misunderstandings and false accusations. And I hate bringing sex into this conversation, but men techs are accused 99.99999% percent of the time before any women techs are for inappropriate behavior, and unfortunately, some of them deserve it. If the family or other people get in the way, that's what pd is there for, or request a supervisor to the scene asap.
Matthew Whitt Matthew Whitt Monday, June 09, 2014 2:10:22 PM Jesse Bell it does not open any HIPAA issues
Matthew Whitt Matthew Whitt Monday, June 09, 2014 2:13:19 PM I don't know where these policies come from. Maybe they exist but I have yet to see one. I often times let a patient's family member ride inside the unit with them, especially if they are a pediatric. I also don't know of any HEMS operations that forbid patient family members from flying with them as long as there is enough room. If insurance will cover them in an aircraft then I see no reason why they would bar them from a ground unit.
Matthew Whitt Matthew Whitt Monday, June 09, 2014 2:14:05 PM Hell, I'll buy you an entire 12 pack if you can post the law.
Bill Comstock Bill Comstock Monday, June 09, 2014 5:15:46 PM unless it is a very small child's parents i do not let anyone ride in front or back period
Jeremy Federer Jeremy Federer Monday, June 09, 2014 5:35:43 PM The only people that are allowed to ride in the back of the ambulance are parents of small children to help keep them calm. Anyone else has to ride in the front seat next to the driver for safety reasons.
Steve Murphy Steve Murphy Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:20:48 AM You ride in the back of my ambulance or you don't ride. I never allow anyone in the front. Have someone urinate one time in the seat you or your partner sit or transfer body lice to the upholstery and you see my point. Ask me why I have these rules.
Doug Zalud Doug Zalud Tuesday, June 17, 2014 3:52:56 AM Over here it's very different. Because of the culture, the back of my ambulance sometimes looks like a G*@ D*&mn clown car when I pull up to the ED. Nothing that I can do about it either. It's an insult to not let them in the back. To argue creates even worse problems. And God forbid if it's an OB call. I'm required to have a female nurse, or female family member at the least. Sometimes the best thing is to just go before they figure out who is riding with you. Nothing like working a code with family in the back praying.
Mark Dettinger Mark Dettinger Tuesday, June 17, 2014 4:17:28 AM One of our Troop's Eagles just finished EMT training, any opportunities for him over there? I know he could learn an awful lot from as good a Medic as you, Doug.
Mark Creaven Mark Creaven Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:18:38 AM i will not comment on the details of this particular call. i just hope that the individuals involved have a valid reason for doing what they did. I'm trying really hard not to judge their alleged actions. really, i am. i wasn't there and i don't know what the provider was thinking. oh wait. my carefully constructed sense of propriety is crumbing. must not...........judge..... argghhhhh. i cannot find any clinical reason to cut/remove the clothing of this unconscious/altered patient based on the stated MOI. but what where they thinking?????? oh wait. maybe i know. does the word "prurient" mean anything? how about teeny-bopper lust? soooo. i said i wasn't going to comment on the particulars of this situation. nothing to see here. move along.
Amanda Nicole Amanda Nicole Wednesday, June 18, 2014 8:46:12 AM While this is horrible and 100% wrong. I do not let anyone ride in the back of my ambulance. Even if it's family. He shouldn't be in trouble for that. But the fact that he drove around and supported it he should be charged.

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