Next up in the news is a completely different kind of safety issue, one which we all face too often. I’m talking about dealing with assaults from patients and bystanders on paramedics and other EMS providers. This article comes from Jerusalem, Israel. It details a case where a paramedic was assaulted by family members when cardiac arrest resuscitation efforts failed to revive a 60 year old woman.
Son’s Grief Spurred Attack
The woman’s son attacked the paramedic when he was informed that there was no further treatment that could be done for his mother. Not only was the paramedic injured, but thousands of dollars in equipment was also damaged or vandalized during the attack. Not only did the son assault the paramedics but he also threatened to return and shoot them.
This is an example of something I’d be willing to bet we all have been concerned about in a similar situation. As more and more protocols allow EMS to call codes in the field, this may become a more common occurrence in the future. Have you ever had to deal with irate family members when you pronounced a family member dead?
TV Sets Unrealistic Expectations
I think part of the problem has to do with the unrealistic expectations that people get from TV shows and their resuscitation efforts. You know what I mean. They shock the TV patient a few times, do some CPR compressions and push some drugs and Ta-Daa they’re alive again.
This is one thing that would be helped by community based CPR classes, for two reasons.
- First, more patients would receive early CPR leading to more survivals when we arrive with the defibrillator.
- Second, a well taught CPR class will prepare the bystanders for a patient who dies.
We teach people that we can’t save them all but that with good, rapidly applied CPR we can give them the best, albeit not perfect, opportunity to live. Just another reason to do more community outreach to your area with public speaking, articles and news items in local media and CPR and first aid classes.
Follow-up on the information in this article in the news links and other resources found in the show notes page from this episode of the MedicCast — Transdermal Patch Overdose and Episode 323.