Hello and welcome to our community! Is this your first visit?
Register

Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,785

    Post EMT says he was suspended without pay for trying to save choking girl

    A heroic New York EMT who tried in vain last week to save a 7-year-old school girl choking on her lunch said he was suspended because it is against company policy to make a stop without being called.

    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.

    Reid, who has driven ambulances for four years, said he knew the choking girl took a priority over the transport, and against his partner's urging, jumped out of the ambulance's back door and administered first aid to the girl, who he said had already turned blue. No one at the school was rendering first aid, he said.

    "I don't regret it," Reid, who said he is suspended without pay, told FoxNews.com. "I'd do it again. If I know there's a child choking, I'm going to do my best to help her."

    The 7-year-old girl, Noelia Echavarria, is on life support at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. She has been declared brain-dead. The family said through a lawyer that they maintain hope that she’ll recover, The New York Post reported.

    Reid said he was suspended because it is against company police to make a stop without being called and he said they are only concerned about insurance money. Assist Ambulance did not immediately return a phone call from FoxNews.com.

    By Edmund Demarche, published 10/28/2015 FoxNews

    So what do we all think about this?
    Having worked private, municipal, and volunteer EMS I can definitely see both sides of this call. What this EMT did was not only against company policy, it is also likely against NYS law. The article does not state what qualifications his partner may or may not have had, but when I was working private EMS in neighboring Westchester county it was not unusual for only 1 member of the the crew to have an EMS certification. His/her partner was literally the "ambulance driver". I don't agree with it, but it was common practice then. If that was the case here then he has a problem. Although he was on a non-emergency interfacility run, he was already legally responsible for the patient in the ambulance. At the minimum he delayed transport of a patient. At worst, he could be found guilty of patient abandonment. Under NYS law this ambulance crew has no duty to act beyond caring for their assigned transport pt. in this scenario.

    Of course the flip side is you have a member of the public begging you to help a little girl who is obviously in a life threatening situation. I know what my choice would be but others may choose differently. I know policy & procedure manuals are there for a reason but........ the streets aren't always black and white.

    P.S. Although this is a news item I posted it here as I thought it a more appropriate forum.
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Behind a desk, crying
    Posts
    2,563
    It's not an enviable position to be in, no doubt. That being said, would't he be covered under a "good samaritan act"?

    One doesn't have to be a qualified EMT to administer CPR and basic first aid, does one?

    But to answer your question, if BIG believed he could save a young child's life, more likely than not, BIG would at least attempt to do so.

    BIG would see his own child in that child and would not be able to just do nothing, if no one better qualified was there to do it and time was a factor.
    It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. - Niccolo Machiavelli

    Most people respect the badge, everybody respects the gun.

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. - Colonel Jessup

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    West of Ireland
    Posts
    645
    But from what the EMT said, it seems like there were plenty of adults in the school who could have done something to help the girl other than run around like chickens without their heads. If that were the case, the EMT wouldn't be in this predicament.
    ESFLEA
    Life is what happens while you're planning other things.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,785
    And unfortunately the EMT is NOT covered under Good Sam in NY. The same way that doctors and nurses aren't. If you choose to intervene, then you are held to the standard of your training and/or education. In all honesty, my guess is that there is a very remote chance that NYS will get involved in this case in any way. I was just pointing out that there at least was another side to the story.

    As for CPR instruction/certification, they continue to dumb it down in my opinion. They belief is that by making it simpler and "cleaner" that bystanders will be more likely to initiate care before professional help arrives. Unfortunately that means the "average" CPR course is now hands only and does not include airway clearing or foreign body obstruction recognition.

    The reason I brought this up other than the obvious public safety connection is that many of us will run into situations where "the rules" and the "right thing to do" may not be the same. How do we handle that and have we considered the consequences of our actions? I appreciate the fact that the EMT in question believes he was in the right and states he would make the same decision again. But I bet he hadn't once thought about being in that situation and risking the loss of his job.
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    7,369
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
    It's not an enviable position to be in, no doubt. That being said, would't he be covered under a "good samaritan act"?
    Good Samaritan laws, and similar protections, typically only protect the individual from civil liability for acting in good faith, not from disciplinary action for violating company policy. And this situation is more complicated because you have an EMT who already had a duty to care for the patient in his ambulance, and who worked for a private ambulance rather than a government public safety agency. A public safety agency would probably be more forgiving in this situation, depending on the specifics, but private ambulance companies are not out there for altruistic community service.

    As an aside, I find it pathetic but not surprising that no one at the school was administering aid. CPR and first aid should be taught to all school employees everywhere and should have a duty to act like any first responder within their level of training.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Western Hemisphere
    Posts
    541

    Rules vs. Do the Right Thing

    Well, Jim nailed it from the get-go. There was a case in North Jersey, in the late 1990's, where a paramedic responded to a chemical manufacturing facility and a worker had fallen into a huge tank of chemicals. When the co-workers pulled him out, he was having difficulty breathing as the chemical product was hardening in his throat resulting in an obstructed airway. The paramedic assigned to the call happended to be an active army reserve special forces medical sergeant (18D). he also happened to have his army med bag with him. He contacted medical control requesting orders/permission to perform a crichothyrotomy (cut the patient's throat and insert a breathing tube) and the ER physician responded in the affirmative. However, NJ did not allow this procedure in the field by paramedics; and the onus is on the paramedic to function within the scope of his/her training/licensure, not the physician. The paramedic successfully performed the crichothyrotomy and the patient survived with 100% intact neurofunction. NJOEMS swiftly suspended the paramedic's license pending a hearing. It took more than six months to get to the hearing. Citing his extreme education as a combat decorated SF 18D soldier; and stellar employment record as a NJ paramedic, the OEMS Board found that he violated the NJ regs, issued an administrative warning and issued a six month suspension. NJOEMS gave credit for the suspension balance from "time served" awaiting the hearing; and the paramedic immediately returned to work. He "did the right thing" and the triers of fact recognized that and gave him a break - which is unconscionable as hell to me since it is New Jersey - no offense to anyone but I lived there 4yrs. Hopefully, all the triers of fact regarding this NYS EMT will recognize that he did the right thing. Policies and laws are subject to "bending by interpretation." That's why we have Tribunals, Judges and Juries. God bless that little girl's soul.
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Where I hang my hat.
    Posts
    1,696
    He jumped out of the back of an ambulance that had a patient on board....sounds like patient abandonment to me. I have done hundreds of inter facility transports and they make the mind numb, but there is a reason why they are going by wagon versus a taxi...his duty is to the patient he already has and the driver should have called for another resource. If the patient in the back was stable enough to stop and render aid until another resource arrived, the driver should have been the responder vice the guy who was with a patient in the back. I get the intent and it appears that the action only put the EMT in the deep end of the pool...rules exist to protect patients, responders and departments/companies.

    If you are your way to a call and see an accident enroute...what do you do? You call dispatch and proceed to your call.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Western Hemisphere
    Posts
    541
    If I'm on my way to a call in my EMS region and I roll onto an accident en-route, I call the duty Battallion Chief and ask him if he wants me to stay w/ the MVC or continue to my originally dispatched call. He might order 9-1-1 to dispatch another unit to my original call and have me handle the MVC. But we're a whole different ball of wax down south. Our Fire & EMS is mostly combined. I'm usually in a Superlynx "Squad" with extrication equipment in addition to EMS equipment. I don't disagree that it may be abandonment in accordance w/ NYC's Regional EMS Council. However, this type of scenario has never happened to me while working the wagon; and I'm not certain that I wouldn't have done exactly as EMT Reid did. Also, take a look at the citizen's comments below the article on "crime feed." It appears that all or most of the comments are backing the EMT Reid's actions. There's your jury pool.
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,785
    Just a little more info on this incident. All of this comes from collected news sources and we know how often they can get it wrong.
    1) Not only did EMT Reid leave his non-emergent pt. to render care to this young child he also abandoned his 1st pt. his partner, and the ambulance to assist and go with the 911 crew that transported the child to the hospital.
    2) It has been reported but not confirmed that his partner on this call was also certified as an EMT
    3) According to Assist Ambulance (his employer) Reid was suspended for 1 day not for rendering aid but for failing to complete an incident report and a patient care report.
    4) Reid is reportedly refusing to return to work while he seeks legal counsel.

    I have to admit, if these new details turn out to be accurate this case takes on a different light...at least for me.

    P.S. Let us not forget the tragic outcome for the young pt. She was declared brain dead that evening, never having regained consciousness and died a few days later. RIP
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    West of Ireland
    Posts
    645
    Take the one day hit, return to work, enjoy the general public's positive view of you while it lasts, and don't turn this into a federal civil rights case for The Cochrane Firm or any of those lawyers who advertise during Judge Judy.
    ESFLEA
    Life is what happens while you're planning other things.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    737
    This is a "can you look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow" moment. Had he not stopped and the girl died, what would this look like?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Western Hemisphere
    Posts
    541
    Quote Originally Posted by JimSpoor View Post
    Just a little more info on this incident. All of this comes from collected news sources and we know how often they can get it wrong.
    1) Not only did EMT Reid leave his non-emergent pt. to render care to this young child he also abandoned his 1st pt. his partner, and the ambulance to assist and go with the 911 crew that transported the child to the hospital.
    2) It has been reported but not confirmed that his partner on this call was also certified as an EMT
    3) According to Assist Ambulance (his employer) Reid was suspended for 1 day not for rendering aid but for failing to complete an incident report and a patient care report.
    4) Reid is reportedly refusing to return to work while he seeks legal counsel.

    I have to admit, if these new details turn out to be accurate this case takes on a different light...at least for me.

    P.S. Let us not forget the tragic outcome for the young pt. She was declared brain dead that evening, never having regained consciousness and died a few days later. RIP
    Yep. Original coverage indicated he rendered aid until the new crew arrived. New coverage indicates an apparent total dismissal of common sense.
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent


 

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •