EMS providers fight for regulations after fatal ambulance crash
Providers said more needs to be done in the industry to prevent incidents like the crash that killed EMT Mousa Chaban
By EMS1 Staff
SOUTH BEND, Ind. —After an EMT was killed in an ambulance crash caused by the driver falling asleep, EMS providers said more needs to be done to prevent further incidents from occurring.
WNDU reported that there are currently no state regulations to prevent fatigue for EMS providers who work for private agencies, and concerns have been raised after Christine Wesner fell asleep while driving an ambulance, resulting in the death of EMT Mousa Chaban.
According to reports, Wesner told police she fell asleep because “she had been working a long shift.”
“There are no specific regulations relating to hours that EMTs can work,” attorney Michael Misch said. “Unlike firefighters who have a specific law that say they can only work a 24-hour shift and have to take another 24 hours off, EMTs or paramedics don’t have that requirement.”
“You begin to realize that you don’t feel the same,” a 15-year veteran paramedic said about the effects of EMS fatigue. “Your eyes feel incredibly heavy; you’re fighting to stay awake. It’s very nerve wracking, very stressful.”
Another cause of stress EMS providers' face is that they often work multiple jobs to make ends meet, according to Indiana EMS Association president Nathaniel Metz.
“One of the issues a lot of services are having is that while an EMS provider may work a 24-hour shift for one company, most EMS providers work multiple jobs,” Metz said. “We have to admit that there’s an issue, and then we all have to be honest and know that we can talk about those issues safely … without fear of losing our jobs.”