The cardinal rule of emergency response

Goal: Crew safety above all else. Keep patient count from increasing. When we say mitigating or abating emergencies or hazards, we mean it literally.

A Pennsylvania woman “rushing to the emergency room to be with a family member” wrecked and ended up in a different emergency room.

Dear public: This is why we don’t run or drive recklessly or push you into the intersection at red lights without any open lanes.

I always tell family members not to follow the ambulance, and sometimes even go as far as asking PD or fire to hold them up for a few minutes while we take off. Even then, I can’t even count how many times these people end up tailgating us all the way to the hospital.

Other times I tell family members to just meet us at the hospital later since EDs make them wait in the lobby anyway.

I always remind them to drive safely and ask if they have a vehicle that is working properly.

I always wonder if anyone listens to me anyway.

4 thoughts on “The cardinal rule of emergency response”

  1. “I […] sometimes even go as far as asking PD or fire to hold them up for a few minutes while we take off. ”

    They can do that? I thought the PD couldn’t hold anyone up unless they were being arrested.

  2. Just found your blog and spent the last two hours reading dammit! Absolutely hilarious shit. Why do so many people hesitate to tell it like it really is.
    Great reading, thanks!
    Mike Cyra, author of Emergency Laughter

  3. I don’t know if our politics line up exactly, but I swear a lot of the stuff you write could have come right out of my mouth. Thanks!

    I used to ask the family member to go on ahead of us, then stay on scene a few minutes doing the baseline vitals, IV, whatever, just to get them gone. Usually if you let them follow, even if you delay them on scene, they drive like lunatics to catch up to you and tailgate. I used to ask them to go on and let us meet them there. That usually works.

    One time I got an elderly guy (who was freaking out on scene on a rather minor call re his wife) to pull out before we left, though I had to explain the concept about six times. I got him to go, but he went to the main road and waited for us, then tailgated us eight miles to the hospital. He was so close if I farted he would’ve smelled it. I would’ve tried to lose him at a light, but honestly I think he’d just run the red and get killed.

    When we got to the ambulance bay he started to come in behind me, and at that point I had to put my foot down. I stopped and waved him to pass me and go to the parking lot, because if he pulls into that bay somebody will get killed. He sat there watching me the way a dog does when you ask where its ball is.

    I put it in park (now with my lights on so we don’t get creamed) on the road and went back to his car to tell him he has to go in the regular parking lot. He couldn’t wrap his head around it at all. A cop came up en route to the ER and got him to follow him into the parking lot, but holy crap, it was like pulling teeth.

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