We’ll kickoff this week’s news with the alarming article that is something we talked about here on the show all the time. I’m talking about a news story coming out of the Utah. It’s the story of an ambulance that T-bones a van full of people at an intersection while taking a patient to the hospital, lights and siren on.
This is one of those things that happens all too frequently and in this case it was allegedly the fault of the ambulance driver according to this article. The article says the van had the green light and the ambulance ran their red light. They were running lights and sirens, which we know does not matter.
Drive with Due Regard
Folks, we need to be very aware of what’s going on when we are driving the ambulance. These providers had a stroke patient in the back of the ambulance and while I know that time is of the essence in this situation, a few seconds to stop at an intersection won’t make that much difference one way or another. Not make that much of a difference when weighed against the cost in human life and tragedy when an eight year-old girl lies in an induced coma from the impact.
All six of the passengers in the van sustained some injuries with that eight year-old girl’s the most serious. The providers, patient and patient’s family members were also all injured in the ambulance, according to the article.
Unnecessary Ambulance Speed
Why are we running lights and sirens through intersections at all? Your lights and your sirens do not protect you from going through those intersections. If you don’t have the right-of-way you MUST stop. I slow down at every intersection in the ambulance. I don’t assume that, even if I have a green light, I’m going to have somebody notice me and not running a red light.
You know if you have got a patient in the back, the driver’s just as much part of that patient care team as the providers in the back. The driver of the ambulance should be doing what they need to do to get the patient to the hospital safely. That is our role. It is not necessarily get there quickly, safely is more important so let’s think about this when next the next time you’re not in the back of your ambulance.
Use extra care when transporting patients. Honor all traffic signals even if you have the right of way. Our ultimate goal is getting the patient to the hospital safely. Speed is secondary to that. Let’s keep this in mind next time we’re in our units.
Catch this news item and more in this week’s episode of the MedicCast – Heat Related Emergencies Revisited and Episode 294.