Ethics in EMS Continue to Decline - Administration and Leadership - @ JEMS.com


Ethics in EMS Continue to Decline

EMS and the Law


 
 

W. Ann "Winnie" Maggiore, JD, NREMT-P | | Tuesday, June 26, 2007


 

This year I saw the trend of declining ethics in EMS continue. The media highlights every instance of public safety personnel involved in substance abuse, sexual misconduct and fraud/theft. Although 9/11 made us all heroes, we are making ourselves fools by our behavior. Each time one of these articles comes out, we lose credibility, and the community loses confidence in us.

I now teach the Roles and Responsibilities portion of our paramedic class here in New Mexico. And I have developed a presentation to get these students thinking about the ethical dilemmas they will face as paramedics and how they can rise to the challenge of keeping our profession with its head held high. What I don't know is whether we are just seeing an increase in reporting of these incidents, or whether the number of incidents is really on the rise.


The "generational thing" is also interesting to me, having been among our state's first paramedics and passionately involved in system development for many years. I've asked myself who the "movers and shakers" are now, and I have a hard time coming up with names. This is the "me generation" and paramedics have a very different point of view coming out of school than we did 25 years ago. They are on the clock, punch in and punch out. Few of them seem to have the passion that we did to make things better, to improve education and to make progress. We didn't have any great leaders because no one went before us we had to become leaders ourselves. No one can ever fill the shoes of people like Jim Page, who fought with bureaucracy to make a place for EMS among the most respected professions, when few had faith in us.


EMS however, continues to be the bastard child of emergency services overlooked in funding and still truly not recognized for what it is and what it does. While police and fire are clearly recognized as essential public safety components of our society, EMS is not. It's our own fault. I personally have a bias in favor of public sector services. I think that one of the main reasons we still don't have a place at the table when the big money is given out is because we have one foot in public safety and the other in the nasty business of health care for profit.

Unless and until we figure out who we are, no one else will either. Each time I see another paramedic service going down because of budget cuts, I think about how they wouldn't do that to the police or fire departments. As cities grow, and the percentage of penetrating trauma (which doesn't pay) rises above the percentage of blunt trauma (car accidents, which get paid for by insurance), we see many cities changing to public services. Trying to make a buck out of EMS is tough; though there are a few out there who have done it well. I've worked in both public and private sector EMS, and hands down, I preferred the public sector. It is a philosophical trait I shared with Jim Page.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Administration and Leadership, Legal and Ethical

Author Thumb

W. Ann "Winnie" Maggiore, JD, NREMT-PWinnie Maggiore is an attorney and paramedic in Albuquerque. She is a shareholder at the law firm of Butt, Thornton & Baehr, PC where she defends physicians, dentists, oral surgeons, nurses, paramedics and other health care providers, as well as law enforcement officers, against lawsuits and administrative enforcement actions. She is an author of many EMS legal publications, a member of the JEMS editorial board, and holds a volunteer faculty position in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico.

BROWSE FULL BIO & ARTICLES >

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

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

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

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


More Product Videos >