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Man dies waiting for EMS

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This is unacceptable to me. Both this poor gentleman passing away and the EMS crew being put into a position to have to decide to get the guy or possibly violate policies and procedures in place. Would the EMS guys have gotten into trouble for not following every rule? I have no knowledge of EMS procedures, but I have been in health care long enough to know that there are silly rules in place. Such as not being able to go out into the parking lot to treat someone. Also, if you have clocked out, and go back to work to chart you are not "covered" if something happens.

If the EMS guys had done what many have reccomended and had gotten hurt or dropped the poor pt., would they also be in trouble for not "following procedure"? Darned if you do, darned if you don't.

According to their own internal report, (please see my post #40, includes link ), the EMS crew had several options including:

1. Walking to the guy's house.

2. Calling for a 4WD that the district chief was in possession of.

3. Calling for a fire truck.

Their inaction was not just because they were following policy and procedure. As a matter of fact, their policy and procedure gave them many opportunities to help Mr. Mitchell but they chose not to use them. Instead, there was an "overreliance on having the caller walk to the truck", their words not mine. So because of lack of communication? apathy? being overwhelmed? who knows? they did not avail themselves of all resources available to them to help this man.

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I will agree that there was something wrong with the system, but not the specific medics involved. One of the first times they went out to his house they started to dig their way there, but then the guy cancelled the call saying he'd take some pain medications and then go to bed.

I also read somewhere that the city refused to divert plows from their routes in order to help out the EMS.

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Inches vs. feet. Big difference even with 4 wheel drive.

Actually, it was over a foot of snow. Moreover, all the hills in Seattle made for treacherous driving conditions because all of it iced over. Still, I was impressed with how health care personnel handled the inclement weather.

At any rate, this was a rather unfortunate situation. It's easy to point fingers and ask, "what if...?" I feel bad for everyone involved. May Curtis Mitchell rest in peace.

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I am from Pittsburgh too! Did you hear about the elderly woman with ovarianc cancer that was on hospice and was stuck in her home without pain medications because the hospice staff couldn't get to her because roads were not plowed?

The DEA's rules caused her to suffer because her doctor was terrified to order a little extra pain med, just to have as a back-up for this type of foreseeable problem.

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I doubt any healthy body would croak in two feet of snow. Apparently, they didn't think the patient would die from it, or they wouldn't have suggested he walk to the ambulance. I guess now we go to rescuing people only when it's convenient. I hope the post office doesn't get wind of this. They might stop delivering through rain, snow, and all that.

Shame on you for not expecting people to put out a little extra effort when things are a little bit hard. If they weren't going to rescue anybody in the snow, they should have just called in that day.

I have to laugh at your mention of the P.O. Where I am, they long, long ago quit putting themselves out. They no longer believe in getting through no matter what. :lol2:

As for those who think it reasonable for the EMT's to hike through all those lovely white flakes, well, I have to wonder if you've read anything that's been said here about hauling not only their own bodies but all the equipment, and about what to do with their ambulance, and so on, all the points that have been made about how impassable the streets were, how apparently inefficient, disorganized, or just plain overwhelmed the National Guard and the city's E Op's program and personnel were, and so on. And then there was the matter of the calls being cancelled by the callers. Guys, c'mon, there just is sometimes a limit to human ability.

Little extra effort? Little bit hard? I guess we have different definitions.

It is sad that the fellow didn't make it, but I don't know that the staff were to blame. We'll see, I suppose, what a court has to say.

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Sounds like the medics did try to do more at one point and then the call was cancelled.

This is the part of the story that is not broadcasted on the news. I as well as others who only heard what was broadcasted were quick to jump to conclusions out of shear emotion. I still empathize with the family, that man regardless of the situation, died in pain. No, we cannot control the weather, but it still does not change the circumstances. We did have the National Guard in the city, and I am wondering why the city did not send them in to get him when they knew that the civilian ambulance company had requested the vehicle because they could not make it to him. Thoughts and prayers to the family because he was still somone who will be missed from thier standpoint, and it is still a great tragedy.....................

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Inches vs. feet. Big difference even with 4 wheel drive.
\

It WAS feet. I was witness to two feet of snow falling in an area that is not used to seeing snow (30 minutes from the Coast myself)...... that coupled with Seattle's very steep/hilly streets, became a disaster in quick time. No one could navigate many of the streets due to this. No trash pickup for two weeks and no plowing of streets except the largest arteries. It was a mess. Only those with the best 4WD could get out of my neighborhood to work for quite some time.

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I have to laugh at your mention of the P.O. Where I am, they long, long ago quit putting themselves out. They no longer believe in getting through no matter what. :lol2:

As for those who think it reasonable for the EMT's to hike through all those lovely white flakes, well, I have to wonder if you've read anything that's been said here about hauling not only their own bodies but all the equipment, and about what to do with their ambulance, and so on, all the points that have been made about how impassable the streets were, how apparently inefficient, disorganized, or just plain overwhelmed the National Guard and the city's E Op's program and personnel were, and so on. And then there was the matter of the calls being cancelled by the callers. Guys, c'mon, there just is sometimes a limit to human ability.

Little extra effort? Little bit hard? I guess we have different definitions.

It is sad that the fellow didn't make it, but I don't know that the staff were to blame. We'll see, I suppose, what a court has to say.

Well, obviously we don't have that problem where I live. I guess I will change my ideas about the postal system.

I wonder if you read where I said they expected the man to walk to them, but they couldn't walk to him. There was no need to trek 100s of pounds of equipment through the snow. A backboard, some straps and a cell phone would have been all they needed to get the guy back to the ambulance and if they couldn't get him back, they could've called for a 4WD vehicle, which was available, or they could have air lifted the guy out.

Also, I'm not familiar with "cancelling" 911 calls. Calling 911 isn't like calling a taxi. You can't "cancel" it here in Arizona. If somebody calls 911, the cops and/or the paramedics WILL be at your door. You can cancel it then, but they will make sure you are alright before they leave.

I've said all I can say on this subject. It seems the apologists abound. Hopefully your understanding nature will never be tested by having something like this happen to you, or one of your own.

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http://kdka.com/kdkainvestigators/Hazelwood.man.death.2.1498838.html

There is a partial transcript of his 911 call with the walk comment in the background.

We got 6 INCHES last week and the big mud run type wheeled trucks were out running the roads til there were no flakes left on the asphalt. I used to say SC is lovely cause it doesn;t snow. But it has been increasing in frequency every year for the last decade. And we have 1-that's ONE EMS ambulance for 1/2 of the largest county in the state.

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A 911 call can be canceled by the caller for many reasons. An incomplete 911 call (dial 91....hang up and see what happens) will get a response from EMS. But if you call 911, say you need help, then call right back and say you were mistaken...I don't know of many places that will still send police/fire/EMS.

There are plenty of places to hang blame. I think that the people who have said the family has "no responsibility and doesn't share in the blame whatsoever" are incorrect. Very, vew few people are completely blameless, either inadvertantly or deliberately. someone stated the medics were totally to blame and that they hadn't "availed themselves to all available resources".

The resource statement is true, and could also be applied to the family. We don't know what resources the family may have had that could have avoided them being stuck in the snow. None of us know for sure, because I don't believe anyone discussing this thread was actually there (including myself).

Walking someone to an ambulance is often a bad idea. We could debate all day long about why they didn't walk all the way to the scene, or get a NG vehicle to take them in and get the patient.

The bottom line is that (like most things) everyone involved shares some of the responsibility for the outcome. I truly wish the best for the family and my heart goes out to them for their loss. I worked a code in some housing projects a long time ago, the husband had died and the wife was not only a paraplegic but he had collapsed in a doorway and essentially trapped her in the room where there was no phone. She had been just yelling out the window for help. We had already transported one of her neighbors, she watched me carry a guy up the stairs. I can't imagine how horrible it must have been for her to see the fire dept 50' from her front door and then drive off with her husband on the floor. finally someone heard her and called us back.

You try to create some order out of chaos, bring something good into something bad, put yourself out there in order to help a stranger....paramedics, nurses, fire fighters and police do it everyday. To use strong language in denigrating people you don't know, who were placed in situations you aren't familiar with is at best foolish and at worst slanderous.

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According to their own internal report, (please see my post #40, includes link ), the EMS crew had several options including:

1. Walking to the guy's house.

2. Calling for a 4WD that the district chief was in possession of.

3. Calling for a fire truck.

Their inaction was not just because they were following policy and procedure. As a matter of fact, their policy and procedure gave them many opportunities to help Mr. Mitchell but they chose not to use them. Instead, there was an "overreliance on having the caller walk to the truck", their words not mine. So because of lack of communication? apathy? being overwhelmed? who knows? they did not avail themselves of all resources available to them to help this man.

The problem is that the first story posted stated that they did try to shovel and did call for a 4 wheel drive. Was that disproved later? That's what I find so frustrating about this. You are also assuming that the four wheel drive that the district chief was in possession of was of was not busy at the time. It was also mentioned that ambulances were getting stuck and out of service for hours...not a good alternative either.

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Wow...lots of talk on this subject. So many unanswered questions too. I guess we can talk for ever on what should have happened, but I'd really like to know what did happen?

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