Fielding more calls, city EMTs often attacked, injured - @ JEMS.com


Fielding more calls, city EMTs often attacked, injured


 
 

David Abel | | Thursday, August 30, 2007


One had his nose broken four times. Another was attacked with cinder blocks dropped off the roof of a housing project. Others have been stabbed with drug-filled syringes, chased by dogs, and strafed by gunfire after arriving at crime scenes before the shooting stopped.



Boston's emergency medical technicians, who often run red lights and speed through the opposite lane of traffic to save lives, are trained to confront broken bones and cardiac arrest.

But EMTs, who are responding to more calls each year, often become victims themselves as they face Boston's rampant street violence without the guns, mace, and nightsticks that police officers carry.

Last year, 28 percent of the 193 injuries suffered by city EMTs were the result of violence, a figure that has held constant over the past five years, according to Boston Emergency Medical Services. This year EMTs have been injured in 24 attacks.

Since 1994, four EMTs have left the department as a result of injuries from violence.

Nationally, no one tracks the number of EMTs and paramedics -- highly trained EMTs -- injured in violence on the job, but the National EMS Memorial Service, a volunteer group in Virginia, said 30 EMTs have died because of violence since 1993, 14 of them while responding to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Violence isn't something an EMT should have to deal with," said Richard Serino, chief of Boston EMS, who noted that more than half of last year's total number of injuries left his employees out of work for a day or more. "One EMT injured as a result of an assault is too many."

Last fiscal year, the city's 333 EMTs responded to 99,266 calls and made a record 68,943 trips to hospitals-- an increase of about 5,000 since 2002 -- without a significant change in staff.

Many EMTs said they are overworked and undertrained for what they confront. They said they are increasingly sent to calls that in the past may have been answered by the police -- such as a report of a "man down" or someone drunk in the street -- and too often must work without police assistance to subdue hostile patients or others interfering with their care.

When they encounter trouble, they have only a radio to call for help and handcuffs to restrain the attacker. Their radios, they say, aren't much help, because they can't call police directly; they must wait for an EMS dispatcher to e-mail police dispatchers.

Read full story




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Provider Wellness and Safety

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >