Some recent headlines regarding attacks against EMS workers:
- In Detroit, MI – Paramedics were called to the scene of a house party where a woman was reportedly unconcscious. Greeted by a large group of people on the front porch, the responding paramedic asked if he could help the woman, and was then punched in the face. The group of people attacked him as he lay on the ground until his partner rescued him and they fled the scene
- In Oklahoma City – A motorist got tired of waiting for a road to open after a serious car accident, and so punched a paramedic working at the scene.
- In Dorset, England – A female paramedic was flagged down by a man who appeared to need help. When she rolled down her window, he punched her in the face
- In Cairns, Australia – A female paramedic was attacked by a man who tried to pull her out of the driver’s seat of her ambulance. In far north Queensland, where this took place, five paramedics were assaulted in July and August alone.
- In Victoria,Ã‚ Australia – An ambulance was pelted with projectiles that smashed through windows and cracked the windshield. The paramedic involved said it was the third time in four years that an ambulance he’d been driving had come under attack.
So what’s going on? Most medics have experienced violent or dangerous situations from patients from time to time, but this latest round of violence seems to defy explanation. Could it be that paramedics in uniform and their emergency vehicles represent law enforcement to some degree, and therefore incur the wrath of the general public? That seems far fetched. Is EMS somehow developing a bad reputation? In the past, rescue personnel have enjoyed the respect of the general public and the gratitude of people they serve. So why is this changing? For the sake of the medics who continue to face this intolerable situation, I hope we discover the answer soon.