Jullette Saussy, the most recent Medical Director to try to turn around our Capitol’s failing EMS service, resigned with a scathing indictment of the DC FEMS Leadership on Tuesday, Feb 9th.
DC FEMS, for those of you wondering what a FEMS is, was an attempt by DC Metro Fire to rebrand themselves from a Fire Department to a Fire and EMS Department. Turns out you have to do a little bit more than just change the logo on the side of the trucks.
Saussy is not the first Director (Assistant Chief) to quit, but is the first to do so with such blatant honesty I find it odd that there is so much uproar about it.
DC FEMS is broken. Has been for a long time. In the past we have all known why, but it was easier to blame the revolving door of EMS Directors for the short comings and move along.
DC FEMS changed Medical Directors and EMS Directors more often than most systems change the oil in their ambulances, Saussy lasting only 7 months before throwing in the towel.
At what point do you stop wondering why all your girlfriends leave you and look in the mirror?
According to DC FIRE…never. “It isn’t me, it’s them.”
This needs to be an awakening; a wake up call to all fire based EMS services. A disturbance in the Force so strong that it rattles the crossed bugles into realizing that the bulk of their business needs to be the bulk of their business. They need to hire and retain people who know what a healthy EMS system needs to survive and focus their energy entirely on that. Whatever other time we have we can devote to fire. You know, kind of the inverse of what you do now.
Full disclosure, I work in a fire based system. I work in one and go in everyday trying to make it better than it was yesterday and we’re seeing improvements.
Jullette Saussy tried to make DC FEMS better and was met with lies, distortions and outright negativity when trying to even assess the system. She states in her detailed resignation letter that she was not even allowed access to basic intervention information, provider charts or run time data. These are the nuts and bolts of the system that need to be adjusted to dial in the right levels of service. Without access to the true data and information, how can one propose changes to the system?
How can a Doctor treat a patient if they are never shown the patient?
Let’s call this what it is: DC FIRE is alive and well within the folds of DCFEMS while blaming EMS crews for long response times and not giving anyone in the tiny EMS Supervisory positions any ability to assess the system, let alone change it.
DCFEMS has failed. Again.
I call on the leadership of DC FEMS to admit that they are wrong, that their interior attack against EMS has failed and become a life safety threat to their citizens, their visitors and each other. It is time for DC FIRE to call a MAYDAY, evacuate and go defensive. The building is a loss, guys, get out before anyone else gets hurt. Get out of EMS.
If you won’t let people who know what they’re talking about do what they need to do, then you might as well hire a librarian as your next Fire Chief. Why hire someone who knows what they’re doing if you’re already decided on what you think might, possibly work based on a dream you had.
More ambulances does not mean shorter response times.
Shorter response times does not mean better patient outcomes.
More fire engines going to medical calls to “stop an imaginary clock” as Saussy says, isn’t working, never has, yet you are ready to double down on failure.
DC FEMS should be renamed DC EMS and the governing body devote the lion’s share of the operating budget to addressing the services provided. Then let DC FIRE fight for the scraps and figure out how to be revenue neutral while being managed by a Paramedic or Physician.
Is it dangerous to manage a fire department if they have no idea how to do so?
Now you sound like us. You sound like the Paramedics, EMTs, Physicians and anyone with eyes who see what you are doing isn’t working. Your management is non-existent and when you had the brain cells fire to hire Saussy you forgot to do the one thing a true leader does:
Trust their people to do their jobs.
I recommend Dr Saussy be immediately instated as Chief of DCEMS and get this thing turned around. And if you need some more help, Doc, give me a call. Resume on request.