Ambulance pursuit of a reckless driver is not how EMS can serve the community
In EMS every decision we make is layered with risks and benefits which need to be considered
EMS providers are helpers. We help not only the sick and injured, but also the community as a whole, through volunteer activities, training, performing well-being checks and safety inspections.
But is it stepping over the line when we give chase to a possible drunk driver who is putting the community at risk?
Each decision we make in our business is layered with risks and benefits. A reasonable decision would tip the balance of benefit over risk. Most of the time, the decisions we make usually are low in risk.
However, in this case emerging from Johnson County, North Carolina, pursuing a civilian vehicle at high speed in an ambulance seems to be heavily laden with risk of injury to the crew and other members of the public.
Had the crew not given chase, would the alleged drunk driver proceeded at a slower pace, reducing the risk of a major crash? The crew took a very big risk in trying to help contain this reckless driver.
Could the crew have recorded the license plate of the vehicle, a description of the driver, and radioed that information to law enforcement? That might have been the more prudent decision to be made in this situation.
Even though there were no serious consequences related to the incident, other than disciplinary action for the crew, the end does not justify the means of putting the public at undue risk.
While I applaud the crew for wanting to make a difference, pursuing a reckless driver is not the way to do it.