This month, Jeffrey Lindsey’s JEMS.com article on the 2010 National Association of EMS Physicians’ (NAEMSP) annual ambulance safety conference (“Taking Action on Ambulance Safety”) stirred a conversation about EMS’ response to safety issues. Do street providers need to step up to the plate and get more involved in ground and air safety discussions, so policymakers pay attention to this critical issue? Also, readers share their reactions to A.J. Heightman’s June 2010 JEMS column (“Frail & Forgotten”), which discussed the less-than-caring “care” elderly patients often experience.
The largest factor that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that many, if not most, ambulance accidents are caused by “driver error”—running through red lights and stop signs, traveling at unsafe speeds and being inattentive. Other issues, such as building safer ambulances, do nothing to correct these operator mistakes and will only add to the costs of already overpriced ambulances to the point that they’ll become even more unaffordable.
Seriously, why are the physicians leading the charge on ambulance safety when we EMTs and paramedics are the ones who put our backsides on the line in the backs of these unsafe vehicles? Why aren’t we engaged in the discussion?
Via JEMS Connect
Thanks for the article, “Frail & Forgotten.” I was moved to tears while I was reading this to my family and my dear mother, who was listening intently. As an educator and medic for several years who preaches people care, I’m totally astounded by the lack of sincere care that we, as a people, have for one another in convalescent care and EMS.
Michael Chavez, MICP
American Medical Response
San Diego, California
Thank you for your insightful wisdom. Thank God there are people like you who are committed to teaching other professionals. My father died in hospice care; he was provided with an oxygen generator, a bed and morphine to dull the pain. I’m happy he didn’t suffer long. I’m an engineer and EMT, and I take my job seriously. “Treat your patients as if they were your mom or dad, brother and/or sister” is my valued motto.
The lead illustration for “Hurts So Good: Easing IO Pain and Pressure” (September JEMS, p. 58) should have been credited to Brook Wainwright. We regret the omission. JEMS
This article originally appeared in October 2010 JEMS as “Letters.”