Quick Clip: Should EMS use a stretcher for every patient?

A lawsuit filed by a patient injured when EMTs carried her to the ambulance sparks a discussion on if and when it’s acceptable for EMS providers to not use a stretcher

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In this week’s Inside EMS Quick Clip, co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss a patient who sued FDNY, claiming EMS providers lifted her into an ambulance instead of using a stretcher, and caused a gash to her leg that required 21 stitches. 

The lawsuit states EMTs told her they weren’t able to lower the steps to carry her into the ambulance because they were “unserviceable.”

“We really have to be able to make sure we’re keeping that person safe,” Cebollero said. “If they fall and they get hurt, it’s our responsibility.”

He said EMS providers can’t get complacent when it comes to putting patients on stretchers. Grayson, however, said it’s not feasible to bring a stretcher into the house on every call, and it’s often easier to pick a patient up and carry them to the unit.

“That’s the problem when you let your EMTs and medics use their judgment in that regard,” Grayson said. “Inevitably someone practices bad judgment, and it burns everyone.” 

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