Another unhappy taxpayer

In another story this week in idiots and groceries, this Oroville, California man is angry at firefighters for getting groceries on duty. He is in particular mad that the firefighters preferred to shop at a much cheaper store farther away from the station. I suppose he prefers, well, you know what – I don’t even know what he wants. I’m pretty sure no one cares what he wants anyway.

I love how “taxpayers” love to use “paying taxes” as an excuse to do and say whatever they want like “I pay your salaries” to emergency crews and especially cops (as well as other government employees). I also love how every single time such a person goes on his/her rant, s/he is making it sound like s/he is footing the bill of one employee’s salary as if s/he’s paying the ENTIRE salary by him/herself.

I mean, let’s say I own 100 shares of Google stock. (If I did, it obviously wasn’t because of this civil service salary. Note to angry Oroville man.) Try as I may, no one is going to take me seriously if I go on some rant and demand Google do what I want them to because I own Google stock.

Eat a dick.

Anyway, it’s almost hilarious to me that near the end one firefighter pretended to apologize some more and then offered to tell him where and how to file a complaint before asking if there was anything else they could do for him, like he did it all on purpose just to poke the bear some more, all while appearing extremely professional.

Guess who abuses 911 even more than civilians?

You shouldn’t be surprised.

Readers from San Jose, California have brought to my attention this piece from NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit, which aired recently about a clinic 213 yards away from an emergency room belonging to the same health system on the same campus AT THE SAME ADDRESS that routinely used 911 as transport instead of just pushing a wheelchair or a gurney over there.

Obviously, those of us who actually work 911 already know that this isn’t really that out of the ordinary. Clinics are some of the worst abusers of 911, along with doctors’ offices, drug rehabs, nursing facilities, staffed elderly living facilities, psychiatric group homes, homeless shelters, schools (where they have nurses), jails (where some even have doctors), etc. When confronted and asked to explain themselves, they always use as their excuse “liability” and “protocol.”

Civilians abuse/misuse 911 too, but they’re civilians, and we don’t expect them to know any better. People who know better don’t misuse 911; they abuse 911.

One of the best parts of the story has got to be Dr. Jeffrey Arnold, the Chief Medical Officer at Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System, who claimed with a straight face that he had no idea this was going on at the clinic. He also attempted to shift the blame onto EMS by, more than once, saying that someone could have said something sooner to “medical leadership here,” which is completely laughable as we all know this type of stuff has been plaguing all sorts of EMS systems for a long, long time without anyone in management actually doing anything about it no matter who we in the field complain to, including the press. Watch this story lead to exactly zero improvements.

“I think taking somebody by ambulance is the safest way to transport them,” Dr. Arnold insisted. “It is very typical for large health systems, large campuses, to use 9-1-1 to call for emergency assistance. It did not register as something unusual.”

Except most of these calls are not for emergencies and staff could have just walked them over to the ED, assuming the ED needed to be involved in the first place. I mean, I don’t take an armored car to the bank to deposit money even though it “is the safest way” too; I drive myself. Sometimes I even walk.

I wonder what the ED staff would say about all this. That particular ED is very busy even without this flood of non-emergencies and is so infamous for 2-hour destination delays for ambulances that crews would do anything and everything to avoid transporting patients there.

Now, the EMS director for the county did not respond to questions from the Investigative Unit, and I think that is a huge missed opportunity. Santa Clara County’s EMS Agency even has what is known as EMS Reference 808, which is a document they wrote specifically as a guide for such facilities to interfacility transports. It’s certainly one of the more detailed documents on the subject, and the fact that they even have one is slightly uplifting and somewhat surprising considering the general wussiness of EMS managers everywhere.

Download (PDF, 343KB)

Now if only bureaucrats everywhere would grow some balls and stop giving us so many reasons to dismissively roll our collective eyes at the status quo.

Commissioner Carey: Go pound sand

Speaking of other idiots

A super smart Seminole County, Florida commissioner named Brenda Carey is up in arms about firefighters getting some groceries while on duty.


Let me make one more attempt to explain this: Emergency service providers AND THEIR EQUIPMENT stay together AT ALL TIMES so they can respond immediately to a call for service without stopping anywhere such as the station to pick up other crew members or equipment.

So, in other words, Ms. Carey, thank you for your useless opinion.

***Update #1: No disciplinary action considered.

***Update #2: Commissioner Carey is going the typical chickenshit politician “la la la la la la I can’t hear you” route.

The worst part of our work

If your friends and relatives are like mine, then you’ve entertained questions about the worst calls you’ve been on, or similar questions phrased differently.

Obviously, they expect to hear about the blood and guts and explosions. However, rather than seeing someone’s head fall off, I think, really, the worst is when I witness up close the abject poverty some people are unfortunate enough to face in what is supposedly the “world’s only remaining superpower,” the stunning ignorance some people are too ignorant to realize they display, the classless words some people choose to open their mouths and spew, the heartless cruelty some people inflict upon others, the lost innocence and increasing viciousness of the ever-younger criminal underclass, and the absolute hopelessness with which some people live their entire lives.

And only the single-minded kindness, determination and dedication of our crews can make any of it just a little bit better.

CYA culture run amok

One of my most hated things is going to the airport for calls. Some of the most ridiculous calls I’ve been to were at the airport. In short, airlines love passing the buck to 911 so they can cover their asses.

Obviously, many of you are familiar with this phenomenon of entities calling 911 so they can pass on the liability. Not just airlines, but doctor’s offices, schools, SNFs, dorms, rehab, shelters, group homes, buses, trains, taxis, etc. Basically everyone. Instead of THINKING, it’s easier to press a few buttons on the phone and let someone else take care of the problem. Just because it’s ubiquitous doesn’t mean it’s right.

By now I’m sure many of you have heard of The Great You-Can’t-Fly-Alaska-Airlines-If-You-Have-Cancer Incident. Basically, on Monday, Elizabeth Sedway, a woman with a 5-year ongoing battle with cancer, was kicked off her flight home after Alaska’s on-call doctors said she didn’t have a doctor’s note and wasn’t fit to fly. Of course, as usual, Alaska said it was “policy” to consult with their on-call doctors, who obviously remotely determined that she was too ill to fly. Good job. A monkey can do that. Stranded in Hawaii, she then missed chemotherapy back home in California on Tuesday, and her husband and kids missed work and school.

Like Ms. Sedway said, in more polite words, how the fuck did Alaska think she got to Hawaii in the first fucking place?

This is just like those stupid advice line nurses who insist everyone who calls them calls 911 instead.

So what if she had a doctor’s note? Is the note a guarantee that absolutely nothing bad will happen? Can you blame her doctor if something happens to her while having a note in her possession? What about everyone else on the plane who doesn’t have a note? Shouldn’t they have notes to guarantee that they won’t have a medical emergency? If airlines are so worried about safety, isn’t there more of a chance that some drunk asshole will disrupt the flight instead?

You call, we haul. Now get in the friggin' ambulance.

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