First up in the news for EMTs and paramedics this week is a look at how one news station in Milwaukee is covering EMS protocols that have crews stage at assault scenes until police arrive. They and residents are annoyed that people have to wait for EMS care in dangerous situations like these.

Stabbing Victim Waits for Staged EMS

An ambulance driving to an emergency on a snow dayThe case in point was a woman who was stabbed numerous times by her estranged boyfriend. The police and EMS were called but due to mixups in dispatching and police response, police officers didn’t arrive for 31 minutes. While they were waiting, EMS crews staged around the corner waiting. Neighbors and family members, however, could see the fire and EMS units nearby and pleaded with dispatchers to send them in.

The news reporter and the residents don’t seem to understand that fire and EMS providers are just not trained to handle dangerous situations or defend themselves in one. They must wait for police. The woman did survive but lost one of her kidneys due to her injuries. Now residents want some answers.

Developing Public Understanding of EMS

I bring this article up because what would your system or you do in this situation? This is a classic example of the public not being aware of how emergency services operate and those services having challenges explaining those differences. I applaud the Milwaukee fire department spokesperson for sticking to their guns and continuing to point out that the policy is written to protect EMS and Fire crews and will not be changed.

Still this points to how we all respond and what might happen were this to occur in your jurisdiction. I see a couple of problems that make this situation unusual and unique. If police had been dispatched appropriately, they would have likely secured the scene quickly and gotten EMS to come in and treat and transport the woman quickly.

But, what prevented the individuals in the building from taking the woman to where the ambulance was if the situation was truly as safe as they said it was? Certainly they could have done at least that much if they were so concerned for the woman’s injuries. It just outlines that in these situations, we must work harder to communicate after the fact than we might have done if the communication about EMS policies and procedures were communicated up front. Be proactive in your community outreach education programs.

Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Developing Confidence in Pediatric Resuscitation and Episode 425.

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