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Home > Topics > Research Reviews
May 10, 2012
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

EMS: Too big to fail?

It's better to acknowledge problems and move on with solutions than allow media to sensationalize situation

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is facing criticism after admitting that he didn't "bother" to read a recent 911 report.

"Too big to fail."

We've heard that phrase to describe financial institutions during this long recession and recovery. It was frustrating to bail out organizations facing major challenges just trying to get out of their own way.

Well, in EMS, it seems we have similar issues. Large-scale departments such as New York, Detroit and Washington have shown how difficult it is to meet the challenge of call response.

It doesn't help when the perception of a cover-up permeates the community.

Trite comments like "we're the best" and "the citizens are safe" really don't work; we tend to be fairly suspect of such sayings.

As the article points out, the media will laser in on comments like that and place officials in a bad situation.

The mayor of New York not reading a report — that's not surprising. I'm sure there are dozens of reports generated daily for him and it's impossible to read each one.

But his staff not analyzing it and providing key points for his review? Maybe it's happening, and maybe it's not.

Regardless, it doesn't look good, so the media has a field day with it.

As always, if there are problems, be ready to admit it. It's OK — we're all human, after all. Better to acknowledge the problem and move on with a solution.

Indeed, that might be happening here. But the story doesn't address that, and it would simply make the situation murkier.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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