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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:30 AM
EMS and EFS waiting for EPS to clear scenes: Discussion

This issue is divisive and I want to make it clear that I will be monitoring this thread closely. Keep it respectful at all times.

I am also going to give my POV... structured in part from First Responder training and enhanced by common sense. First and foremost as a responder (or if you happen upon an accident, DV etc.) you must assess and secure the scene to ensure you do not become a casualty yourself.

You cannot render assistance if you are hurt or worse yourself.

Our EMS/EFS and EPS do a fantastic job as far as I am concerned and already put their lives in jeopardy every day, there is a policy in place for EMS and EFS to wait for EPS to secure the scene if there is any question about their safety so I think debating this is moot but I am also cognizant that this has become a much discussed issue in Edmonton so I am putting it out there for the C2E community.

DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:31 AM
Get priorities straight

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Thursday, September 06

I was horrified to read about the Emergency Medical Services personnel who essentially watched a man bleed to death because of wanting to wait for the police to arrive to clear the scene.

This is the second such story I have come across in recent weeks -- the first on was about a friend of mine who is an Edmonton firefighter who arrived on the scene to see a stabbing victim bleeding on the sidewalk while the two EMS heroes waited in their ambulance for police to arrive, only to watch the fire crew provide medical attention.

It should not be lost on the EMS that in this most recent case, the ambulance driver became nothing more then a glorified hearse driver and for that he should be ashamed of himself.

If EMS don't want to face the potential risk of being in the field, then they should choose different professions. If a firefighter had been on scene, chances are that man would still be alive.

Darren Thompson, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:34 AM
Paramedic did right thing at violent scene

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, September 09

Re: "Get priorities straight," The Journal, Sept. 6

It amazes me that Mr. Darren Thompson was horrified to read about a man being beaten to death while someone watched. Being as he was only reading The Journal article about the Edmonton paramedic who remained in a safe area until police arrived, and it was that traumatic for Mr. Thompson, it blows me away to think of this simple man's lack of thought or respect for the EMS individual who witnessed it first hand.

Paramedics and firefighters are not sworn police officers with skills or tools to maintain the law or secure the scene of a homicide.

Edmonton Medical Services personnel put themselves at risk daily, but they aren't trained to deal with violent situations.

The victim died from trauma. The reality is that only a hospital could have saved this man's life.

EMS are highly skilled individuals who can offer a great deal of assistance. However, they still would not have saved this life. Rapid transport to a primary- care facility would have increased this man's chances, if he had any.

The City of Edmonton has a protocol for members of the Emergency Response Department to stage in a safe area to eliminate the risks of the rescuers becoming the victims.

At the end of the day, 10 out of 10 paramedics in this country will support that individual's decision to wait for police. This paramedic will have the luxury of going home at the end of the day to his loving family, instead of succumbing to similar traumatic injuries that were inflicted on the victim.

In regards to Mr. Thompson's closing statement, it is purely insulting to all emergency responders. If EMS wanted to deal with the law and enforce it, they would have became police officers. Instead they chose to assist people in need of help at medical emergencies.

Warren R. Gresik, St. Albert

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:36 AM
Paramedics aren't police

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, September 09

"Firefighter dies when rushing into dangerous scene, without waiting for EPS backup. Family and friends mourn loss."

Is this perhaps the headline that would not horrify Darren Thompson?

EMS and fire personnel are trained to wait for the police to clear a potentially deadly scene. If Mr. Thompson is willing to pay more taxes so the city can offer all of its emergency professionals the same training as the police, and still those workers wait for the police before entering a scene, he would then have something to be horrified about.

Connie McMahon, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:37 AM
Safety rules are strict

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, September 09

Edmonton paramedics and emergency medical technicians work in pairs; they follow a strict Emergency Response Department policy that blankets Fire and EMS for violent situations. They stage a minimum of five blocks from violent incidents until police arrive and clear the scene. In this case the EMS paramedic is by himself/herself. Who's to say the assailants would not return to finish off the victim and EMS worker?

Personally I reserve the designation of "heroes" for members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Police Service, who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, not EMS workers and firefighters who die in the line of duty as a result of poor judgment, or unforeseen circumstances.

Getting back to ERD policy... Firemen travel in groups of five and follow the same policy for violent events, so I have no idea how they could save a victim if they follow policy, or do they?

Firemen are trained to put out a fire; their band-aids will not prevent a loss of life.

Furthermore from what I read in Thompson's letter it sounds like his firemen friends broke another policy by divulging confidential patient information, that is, describing the patient's condition and circumstances around the stabbing event.

So really, who is the true professional here? What profession is over-glorified? I am disappointed you belittled the City of Edmonton's EMS personnel, and I hope there will never be a day that we may have to treat your loved one, as we may also have to pull your foot out of your mouth.

Alan Soderstrom, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:38 AM
Critic's views insulting

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, September 09

As the daughter of a retired police officer and a friend of countless paramedics, I am disgusted by Mr. Thompson's insults.

The paramedic that was on scene did what his job mandated and waited for the police to say it was OK to enter.

There was nothing that could have been done in this situation regardless, and the last time I checked, neither paramedics nor firemen were surgeons.

Putting his life in danger would have not changed the outcome whatsoever.

These men and women work countless hours, day and night, in order to help all of us, working late, not being able to take a lunch break because of the lack of staff, people spitting in their faces, not to mention physical attacks on their being.

Let's stop the ridiculous criticism and focus on the facts. This city is overrun by crime, drugs and violence.

Attacking the Emergency Medical Services does nothing but insult and degrade the people that put their lives on the line everyday!

Please remember that paramedics and police officers are facing a crisis in Edmonton, and these attacks do nothing but demoralize them.

Let's stand by our heroes!

Nicole Wesley, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:39 AM
Victim needed surgeon

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, September 09

Mr. Darren Thompson, my priorities are to my family first(including co-workers). The safety of myself and partners while at work is paramount; at the end of the shift everyone goes home.

You make bold statements about if there had been a firefighter, there the patient might have lived. Firefighters provide basic first aid.

This person required the skills of a trauma surgeon.

Obviously you do not see that this is a team approach when dealing with these types of calls. Edmonton Police Services secures the scene; Edmonton Emergency Medical Services(EMS) transports the patients to hospital; hospital staff provide definitive care to these patients.

I guarantee you if you ask the chiefs of the firefighters, EMS and EPS where the safety of the members stands in a list of priorities, it will be No. 1.

I'm proud to be a City of Edmonton paramedic.

Jason Beaudry, Sherwood Park

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:41 AM
Paramedics not trained to dodge bullets

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

Re: "Get priorities straight," by Darren Thompson, Letters, Sept. 6.

As medical professionals, paramedics are caregivers and strive to help anyone in need.

However, in order to do their job, their safety cannot be compromised.

It is standard practice for all emergency responders to wait to approach a dangerous or violent scene until it is secured by law enforcement.

Edmonton Emergency Medical Services works closely with the Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Fire Rescue to ensure the health and safety of the public and all emergency responders.

As chief of EMS, I stand behind the actions of our paramedics. They do a very difficult job and provide an incredible service for all citizens.

Steve Rapanos, chief, Emergency Medical Services, City of Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:42 AM
A bad attitude

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

Re: "Victim needed surgeon," by Jason Beaudry, Letters, Sept. 9.

If what Edmonton paramedic Jason Beaudry boasts of is true -- that the safety of paramedics, police and firefighters is priority No. 1 -- why would they even respond to any emergency? Why not stay in their station houses safe and sound, and let the public fend for itself?

Let's hope that "safe-at-all-costs" attitude doesn't infect others, such as lifeguards or soldiers.

Gary O'Shaughnessy, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:44 AM
Rules too strict

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

The EMS protocol, where paramedics and firefighters are to wait for police to arrive before treating patients, is in place for good reason.

However, there is also the human element to this equation. If someone lies bleeding on the sidewalk and the assailant clearly is long gone, do you let them die because of Section 16 (b), Paragraph 2 of your union agreement?

I understand that emergency workers want to go home to their families at the end of their shift, as everyone else does, but give me a break!

If anything, it makes me a little uneasy to think that should I be a victim, the last thing I may see is an ambulance. Sitting there. Doing nothing.

Brent Reckhard, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:45 AM
Dead medic no help

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

The first step in our emergency medical services protocol is scene safety. A dead or injured medic is essentially useless.

My priority on scene is my own safety first. It sounds selfish, but that's the priority. I worked in EMS in Los Angeles County and was reprimanded for approaching a scene too closely before police arrived.

My job is to treat the injured and sick, not to dodge bullets. That's why I don't carry a firearm.

Brian Keppol, Fairview

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:46 AM
Reason for the protocol

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

I'm a paramedic with the City of Edmonton. Darren Thompson's letter ("Get priorities straight," Sept. 6) angered me.

Thompson is misinformed. Paramedics do not "sit around waiting for injured people to bleed to death" before entering a violent scene.

Paramedics don't enter violent scenes because of protocols which were put in place to ensure that every paramedic and firefighter can go home at the end of each shift.

As much as we'd like to think that paramedics and firefighters are bullet-proof, they aren't. The world is a violent place and there are important measures to protect people who care for others due to violent acts. It's called scene safety.

How would Thompson explain to the family of a paramedic or a firefighter who was killed while attempting to assist a "victim," by the same assailants that injured the "victim" in the first place?

Mike Willis, Paramedic No. 468, Edmonton Emergency Medical Services, Sherwood Park

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:48 AM
Sitting idly by

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

Darren Thompson put in writing what I thought after reading an account of the Sept. 4 homicide in the parking lot of Clarke Stadium ("Paramedic sees suspect flee fatal attack outside city park: Wait for police delays taking victim to hospital," The Journal, Sept. 5).

An EMS member witnessed a noon-hour violent attack in the parking lot and approached the scene in his vehicle. The attacker fled in his vehicle. I take this to mean that the attacker drove away and was no longer in the area.

The EMS member then stayed in his vehicle for seven minutes while waiting for police to arrive.

The victim died shortly after arriving at the hospital. One has to wonder if he would have survived had he been treated immediately by this highly trained EMS member.

Maybe this question cannot be answered with any certainty, but it would seem obvious that his chances of survival would have been far greater had he received immediate care. One can only imagine his last thoughts as he lay dying in his car while an EMS member sat passively within plain sight.

I only hope that the next victim of a violent attack receives the immediate care that one would expect of uniformed emergency personnel.

Greg Richardson, Edmonton

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:49 AM
Everyone has a job to do

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

EMS workers treat sick people in emergency situations. They are not supposed to create more patients once at a call. Firefighters are there to assist EMS by extricating and transporting patients and dealing with fire-related issues. Police are there to make the scene "safe."

Paramedics and firefighters do not have the training or the equipment to make a scene "safe."

Running blindly into an unknown situation only increases the potential for fatal injuries. Tragic as it is that these things happen, surely it would be a bigger tragedy if those who came to assist were taken from us needlessly.

Sean Kelly, Calgary

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:50 AM
Unnecessary risk

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

As a fully cross-trained firefighter/paramedic, I am in a unique position to address the irresponsible points made by Darren Thompson.

In the dangerous and unpredictable field of emergency response, there are proven reasons for all of the protocols that are in place. Of these, the primary edict of both firefighting and EMS is to maintain the safety of the responder, above all. As a rescuer, if I am hurt or killed, not only am I of no use to the victim, but I have now further strained the system by adding to the casualties.

Emergency scenes are chaotic. Neither firefighters nor paramedics are properly trained or equipped to deal with armed and violent people; we leave this to those who are -- the police.

I have been worked in emergency services for 12 years. I have received specific training and equipment to deal with the physical and mental challenges of operating as safely as possible while entering burning buildings. This training does not eliminate the dangers, but it does minimize them to acceptable levels.

It would be unacceptable to expect anyone not similarly trained and equipped to be put into that situation and assume those risks.

While purely physical inanimate dangers can be predicted, human behaviour often cannot and, consequently, some of the most dangerous situations I have been in while working have been while providing medical aid, and have come from directions that could not have been predicted.

We face enough risk from unforeseeable dangers without knowingly placing our selves in the way of foreseeable harm.

Matt Sibbald, Sherwood Park

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
13-09-2007, 10:51 AM
Peace of mind

The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 12

My wife is a paramedic with EMS and a mother of four young boys.

We are extremely proud of her and are always concerned about the dangerous situations and the individuals whose lives she is often sent to save. We only have peace of mind that she will come home from her work knowing that EPS and EMS have a safety protocol of staging (staying back at a safe distance until police arrive) whenever the dispatcher warns that a dangerous situation may be at hand.

Alan G. Holmes, Beaumont

The Edmonton Journal 2007

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DebraW
03-10-2007, 10:19 AM
Edmonton Journal Letters
Ocober 03, 2007

Some weeks ago, a man wrote in about paramedics and getting their priorities straight ("Get priorities straight," by Darren Thompson, Letters, Sept. 6).

Monday, I was drving home on Manning Crossing when I noticed a car stopped in the middle of the road. The driver appreared to be having a seizure. I stopped and watched cars as they just drove by and ignored him.

I was about to get out of my car when I saw another car had stopped. A man got out and approached the other driver. He introduced himself as an off-duty Edmonton paramedic and asked if the man needed help. The driver told him his car was not working properly and that he was just really frustrated.

I asked the paramedic if he needed me to call anyone and the paramedic said no, that his wife was calling on their cellphone. The paramedic then asked the driver if he could call anyone for him and the driver asked him to call his wife.

The paramedic, who was with his own wife and child, managed to help the man get his car to a nearby parking lot and waited with him for police to arrive. The driver was a little confused and the paramedic did not want him to drive home, especially in an unsafe vehicle.

This paramedic is my hero. He helped the driver and prevented other people from getting hurt. I thank him and I applaud all paramedics.

Becki Wright, Edmonton

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DanC
03-10-2007, 10:54 AM
Is this thread REALLY 16 straight postings of news clippings?

Question: Is it really necessary then?

DebraW
03-10-2007, 11:00 AM
I thought that it would generate discussion...but it did not.

If it is necessary would be subjective.

North Guy66
03-10-2007, 03:20 PM
When this story first came out, I was a bit disturbed by the paramedic's inaction.

I understand there is a policy for emergency personnel to wait for the police to secure the scene before they can offer medical care. But every situation is different, and in this case the paramedic should of acted since he watched the suspect vehicle sped off after the man got stabbed.