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Man dies waiting for EMS

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You are reading page 7 of Man dies waiting for EMS. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

OK ... I've lived in western PA (surrounding Pittsburgh) most of my life. We know how to handle snow.

However - when upwards of 2 feet of snow falls in less than 18 hours, certain physical realities take over. Weather is what it is. Geography and topography are what they are. Pittsburgh is a city of narrow, hilly streets. You can't drive a military Hummer or similar vehicle through many of them, with cars parked on both sides - there just isn't room. We here in the snowbelt can and do manage winter weather - it just isn't instantaneous. It physically takes time and resources.

I am of average height for an adult female - 5'5". With my winter boots on, two feet of snow is 4 inches above my knees - mid-thigh. I challenge any of you from warmer climates to stand up right now and try to truly visualize walking through heavy wet snow at a depth 4 inches above your knees. (yes, it can be done, for a short distance.)

I'm not entirely convinced that the paramedics involved in this particular incident shouldn't shoulder some blame - just pointing out that there are no magic wands that clear snow and other physical hazards, or magical safety nets that prevent medical emergencies from unfortunately occurring during disasters when normal procedures are unworkable.

Edited by Altra
typo

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Emergency officials say they're sad, angry and sorry.

Pittsburgh public safety director michael huss is convinced that if ems did the right thing, curtis mitchell might still be alive.

"it's unacceptable. You've got to get out of your truck and you got to go there," huss said during a news conference.

"as dr. Roth tried to explain, that was work in force on some calls where we didn't get the ambulance back in the neighborhoods because we didn't want to get it stuck.

"i understand that. But you get out of that damn truck and walk to the residence. That's what needed to happen here. We could have carried him out across the west liberty bridge."

city leaders admit a significant number of mistakes. Twice, paramedics asked mitchell to walk to an ambulance in 15 inches of snow.

They did not walk to him.

Mitchell, 50, and his wife, sharon edge, called 911 10 times over nearly a three-day period. Ems never reached him and he died.

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

No Excuse!!!!! None! Period.

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I encourage ALL the amazing and dedicated professionals here to do a few things.

EVERY area has FINITE resources - there are LIMITS. All responders have them. The numbers and types of assistance needed can be infinite - this alone creates a situation where SOME calls cannot be responded to optimally. Period. I am not defending - nor condemning - it is what it is.

I know that we all live in a world where SOMEONE has to pay when something "fails" - right? I may not KNOW what happened - but, I will make certain odds that 99.999% of the Fire/Rescue folks I have ever associated with give each response the BEST they can at the time. Will it be enough? No, not always.

It seems that there was a difficult to impossible situation. Reality bites us at times and no matter how much we want to OR how much need there is - there are times that certain responses are not POSSIBLE. Sad and Tragic. I have been in the spot of two feet of snow, relying on the National Guard and 1 4x4 ambulance for transport - covering an area of 300 square miles (20K population) with an average transport time of 4 hours ONE WAY to the closest hospital - AND I was the only medic. No matter HOW sick you were - there were calls that just could not be answered and even if someone could get to a call - response times were a bit ... delayed. :eek: Careful to judge another without knowing what options they had. Now - did they carelessly and deliberately refuse when they could have answered the call? - hang 'em - but, I am betting that the responders did the best they could with what they had.

We do not know what we do not know. The media is not known for accurate and complete reporting. Maybe they try, maybe they go with the most sensational aspects. I don't know - so, until all the facts are clear ---

RESERVE JUDGEMENT. You NEVER know what your future may hold and being CONVICTED by PUBLIC OPINION is as tragic as the outcome. We DO NOT KNOW for certain every detail and circumstance of the situation. But, there seems to be a rush to condemn. What if you were the one working as hard as you could during that time - how would you want to be considered?

:angel:

Stay SAFE!

;)

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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?

Funny that the story about that lady was ON THE NEWS. Meaning.. the camera crew got there in their 2 wheel drive van. And a hospice agency couldn't get someone out there? But hey, I don't know the whole story. I just found it funny that during the big storm they got to her house to do the story.

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I definitely agree with everyone's posts about calling the Fire Department/Road Crew to somehow get to the house, or for the Ambulance Crew to just get out and walk. As a Firefighter I like to work calls like this, different than our "normal," because it presents a new challenge.

Something else to consider though, which I had not thought about until I talked to a few other Paramedic/EMT friends, was this guy a "frequent flier?" Now, even if he was, that DOES NOT AT ALL justify Dispatch/EMS's shortcomings, but its one of those "you can only cry wolf so many times." Even with the frequent fliers I deal with in the hospital and in the field, I try to approach each call as a brand new one, even though I know I'm going to the same house/same patient. But this is a hard thing to do and I'm jealous, as I think many of us are, for going "Oh God, this guy/girl again?"

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I live on Cape Cod where we don't usually get huge amounts of snow. A few years ago we had an horrific storm...close to 4 feet. I made it to the LTC where I was the ADNS. Things were okay until the town called to say they had to close the road to the facility....not only 4 feet of snow but high winds and downed trees. The Fire Chief said "You're on your own...we can't send any ambulances"...so there I was with at least 15 subacute residents and 100 other residents and no EMS to help out. But...what can you do? Mother Nature will always win in the end. Should they have used all the resources to plow one road because there were patients there? We all managed to make it through and thank God no one coded. Nature is nature and unfortunately there are somethings we just can't do.

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Why are they not coming forward? There is not one mention of that in the local media????

Because their lawyers have probably told them to keep their traps shut.

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I live on Cape Cod where we don't usually get huge amounts of snow. A few years ago we had an horrific storm...close to 4 feet. I made it to the LTC where I was the ADNS. Things were okay until the town called to say they had to close the road to the facility....not only 4 feet of snow but high winds and downed trees. The Fire Chief said "You're on your own...we can't send any ambulances"...so there I was with at least 15 subacute residents and 100 other residents and no EMS to help out. But...what can you do? Mother Nature will always win in the end. Should they have used all the resources to plow one road because there were patients there? We all managed to make it through and thank God no one coded. Nature is nature and unfortunately there are somethings we just can't do.

Sort of puts Katrina in perspective....yes, a deliberate blow (not at you - just in general), but really, at some point you start doing what needs to be done and just pray no one dies because of something you did or didn't do - and if the unthinkable happens, you just have to keep pressing on.

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Funny that the story about that lady was ON THE NEWS. Meaning.. the camera crew got there in their 2 wheel drive van. And a hospice agency couldn't get someone out there? But hey, I don't know the whole story. I just found it funny that during the big storm they got to her house to do the story.

Could very well be that the hospice company said "DON'T DO IT" and you have to remember the press will do anything to get a story.

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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.

I am assuming nothing. I was summarizing from the report that the medical director for Pittsburgh EMS wrote. Do you think he was not in possession of the facts of the situation? I posted a link directly to it but either no one read it or no one understood what they were reading.

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I am assuming nothing. I was summarizing from the report that the medical director for Pittsburgh EMS wrote. Do you think he was not in possession of the facts of the situation? I posted a link directly to it but either no one read it or no one understood what they were reading.

I did read that post..that is where I found the information that ambulances were getting stuck and were out of service for hours. Unfortunately I can't quote from your article. It also mentioned that asking patients to walk did work for some. As a EMT for 15 years I know that most times what we hear from dispatch and what we actually find on the scene can be night and day. And that is also reflected on in your attachment. Medics were not privy to the conversation between the patient/caller and dispatch.

Dr. Ron Roth, a physician with city EMS, said medics started shoveling and requested a four-wheel drive for help, but said when Edge learned the paramedics were stuck, she canceled the call, saying they would call back later "should he hurt anymore."

This one also came from a dr. with EMS. So I think it has some credibility. Although it was not from your article.

As I stated before, it does sound like things need to be fixed to anticipate another emergency like that. But I hold off trying to demonize the EMTs themselves since they were probably doing the best with what they had.

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I am assuming nothing. I was summarizing from the report that the medical director for Pittsburgh EMS wrote. Do you think he was not in possession of the facts of the situation? I posted a link directly to it but either no one read it or no one understood what they were reading.

With all due respect, why post that here, and why is it public record? This is disturbing me.

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