Next up in the news this week is a sad story about a line of duty death in South Carolina. An emergency medical technician by the name of Belinda Gail Rivers was laid to rest in her funeral on September 28. Sadly enough her driver or coworker who was driving the ambulance the night she died has been charged with misdemeanor death related to the motor vehicle accident in this particular situation. They had just dropped a patient off at the hospital and were headed back to their station.
Too Many Ambulance Accidents
Bystanders and witnesses said that the ambulance allegedly ran the red light and they came into the path of a tractor-trailer. Belinda was killed at the scene. I haven’t reported on motor vehicle accidents involving ambulances much recently, not because they haven’t happened, but because I feel like I’m harping on you.
This is why we really really need to be aware of how our driving affects those around us. We cannot become complacent when we’re transporting patients or when we’re going back to the station. Scene safety doesn’t stop once you’ve arrived and checked out the scene at the patient’s place of residence or the scene of the incident. Scene safety is part of the process you need to keep ingrained in your EMS brain all the way back to your station and beyond.
Death Devastates EMS Community
I hope you keep that in mind. I’m sure Jonathan Brown, who is the EMT charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in this situation is just torn up by this. Our hearts and prayers go out to him as well as to the family and friends of Belinda Gail Rivers, their entire EMS community and the responder community in South Carolina. This community is devastated by this so we need to continue to think about this and then take away from it what can we do to be better aware for how we can not have something like this happen to us.
This could’ve been any of you, any of us and I make myself included. If we start letting our attention drift, if we stop doing the things that we need to do to stay aware and alert during our transports and returning to station, we will be putting lives at risk. We are life savers not life takers.
For links to this news item and the full episode video and audio version of this show visit — Diltiazem ACLS Review and Episode 303.