New York EMT Suspended For Saving A Life?

There has to be much more to this story.  This is LUDICROUS!

Qwasi Reid, who works for Assist Ambulance, was transporting a nursing home patient last Wednesday with his partner when he said they were flagged down at a red light by a frantic man who told them that a student was choking. Reid said his partner, who was not reprimanded by the company, told the man they already had a patient and there was nothing they could do.

Assuming the nursing home patient was stable, do you think he did the right thing?

 

EMT out of work for helping choking girl

Man suspended for trying to save a life

 

About Philip Hayes

Phil is currently an active career Captain with the City of Stamford Fire & Rescue Department. He spent more than 20 years with Stamfords' Rescue 1 and has experience as a former Paramedic, EMS Instructor, Rescue Diver and Fire Officer. Before moving to Connecticut to join the Stamford Fire & Rescue Department, he spent many several years as a paramedic in Southern Westchester County, NY. Phil is also experienced with graphic design, multimedia development, digital video and audio. Phil brings both vision and implementation experiences of internet technology solutions and is critical in developing the web-strategy plans and operational infrastructure to Sirius Innovations and the Village sites.

Home Forums New York EMT Suspended For Saving A Life?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Brian Kachaylo 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • #1383

    Philip Hayes
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    There has to be much more to this story.  This is LUDICROUS! Qwasi Reid, who works for Assist Ambulance, was transporting a nursing home patient last
    [See the full post at: New York EMT Suspended For Saving A Life?]

    #1386

    Mike Whooley
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    I’m willing to bet that he was suspended not for responding to the incident but rather for leaving his partner and patient stranded when he rode to the hospital with the patient

    #1387

    Philip Hayes
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    Oh…I missed that part. So he rode to the ED in another ambulance. That would be a problem.

    #1411

    Brian Kachaylo
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    So did Qwasi Reid transport the child via a separate ambulance, or is that speculation? Also, how did the child fair? I.e., was the child actually choking and was the child’s airway compromised through transport? Not that either question justifies patient abandoment. The questions are more relevant to help establish that Mr. Reid did the right thing.

    I think it’s important to get all of the facts, especially considering that this is the very type of forum that can be used effectively to help police EMS personnel and management alike.

    I personally hesitate to believe that Mr. Reid left his partner “stranded” while transporting the second victim. My first inclination is to trust he would realize that leaving his primary patient alone with his partner would undoubtedly subject him to patient abndonment. Further, if a second ambulance was called, either the child was in cardiac arrest (facilitating the need for a third ambulance), or the child was no longer choking. Regardless, it’s unlikely that backup would need him specifically to assist through transport — especially if the choking hazard was removed.

    Was Mr. Reid’s partner an EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, or Paramedic? Provided that Mr. Reid transferred care to an equally or higher trained practitioner, and did NOT ride in with the second patient (at least not without his partner having a second crew memeber to finish his original transport), I believe that his circumstances are simple: Patient needs out-numbered crew resources, thus requiring temporary transfer of care, followed by patient triage. If the patient he was transporting was more stable than the child, and as long a his original patient was not left unattended, his decision, in my opinion, was a no-brainer. Who among us would leave a child to possibly die? I guess it is nearly impossible to take any position without more facts to support it. I must note, however, that, in the event that he transported the child, leaving his partner to fend for himself without a second EMS practitioner, in my opinion he may have just put his certification at risk. It’s hard to say without more however.

    I also wonder where the original patient was being transported to and why. For example, was it a return trip back to the nursing home, to the ER for something life-threatening, etc.

    Regardless, if Mr. Reid did in fact leave his partner stranded with his patient in order to transport the child, he likely deserved suspension. However, I say that with great caution consiering I don’t know all of the facts. I’d be willing to bet that there is much more to the story, either for or against Mr. Reid.

    For that matter, if he was working with a higher trained partner, why wouldn’t the partner have attended to the child? Also, if the choking hazard was removed prior to transport, as it generally is, backup could’ve transported one of the two patients. Further, if push comes to shove, there’s likely nothing preventing him from having transported both patients simultaneously to the closest, most appropriate facility. Or, perhpas backup could’ve finalized the original transport — provided it was a routine transport for a non-emergent situation.

    In fact, considering that it’s likely that Mr. Reid’s standing orders did not address situations such as these (overriding ‘policy’), perhaps the best thing he could have done would’ve been to first help the choking child (if his original patient was less serious) while, simultaneously, his partner called medical command at the intended receiving facility. Leave the decision on medical command, then you’re covered. They WILL make a decision, even if it is a question that the EMS practitioner should already have known the answer to. It’d be better to answer for following (or even depending upon) medical command orders than to depend upon others (e.g., management) to sympathize and see things Mr. Reid’s way. In all my years in EMS (especially in management as EMS Ops. Officer) and flight paramedicine, I’ve both witnessed and had to address countless adverse circumstances that could easily have been avoided but for a simple call to medical command. Afterall, it’s an extension of the med. com. physician’s license that we work under. They have more training and (in may cases [not all] knowledge). Therefore, I wish EMS was less hesitant to call medical command than it often is. Again, it’s better to have unecessarily called medical command than to have failed to call when it was necessary.

    It’s equally important to note, however, that management (and patients) rely upon EMS crews to have problem solving skills, the ability to triage, make critical decisions at critical times, and to use common sense. The moment management takes those thought processes out of the realm of its crews’ responsibilities, the moment a cookbook crew is born — perhaps one of the greatest tragedies to the job of saving lives
    I’m anxious to hear more about this event. If anyone knows more of the facts, please post them. This could easily happen again tomorrow to anyone in EMS. IT appears to be a question of legal obligation, ethics, and professionalism versus common sense and humanity — all equally important aspects of EMS. Professionalism, morals and ethical values (including medicolegal aspects) are vital; however, so too are such characteristics as common sense, empathy, sympathy, problem solving skills, etc. I just hope that is not the case here!

    Brian J. Kachaylo
    Lt. Firefighter/Paramedic (Ret.)
    FD EMS Operations Officer (Ret.)
    Critical Care Flight Paramedic (Ret.)
    EMS Educator and Student Mentor (Ret.)

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