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Why Giving Two Shits About a Patient is Not a Bad Thing

Those of you following me on FB probably already saw this comment and you can go there to find it, I want to summarize some thoughts here.

You may be wondering why on Earth the title of this post even has to be a thing.  A recent incident near my home led to law enforcement taking a man into custody following a motor vehicle collision.  A local media outlet was on scene and snapped a few pics.  One of them showed a man being assisted out of the back of a Police SUV, apparently with handcuffs on, and also wearing a cervical collar.

Being the keyboard commando I am I commented about the uselessness of the collar being applied, then the spinal movement of the patient seen in the photo.  My comment was about the application of the collar possibly not being part of the local SMR protocols and how I questioned the application.

In pops another keyboard commando, this time from the LEO side who said the following:

Who gives 2 shits about this guy? He’s a violent resister who put everyone at risk by running from the cops. He didn’t care about our safety. Besides, he’s walking fine. Pick another c collar “victim” as an example.

I responded that I give two shits about this guy.  Not only as a Paramedic but as a human being.  Did he hurt someone?  Are they being tended to appropriately?  The comment above is a perfect example of why some people can’t tell the difference from “good cops” and “bad cops.”  I’m not passing any judgement on the officers at the scene, just my fellow keyboard commando.

You’re better than this.  At least I’d like to think you are.  Regardless of how someone gets injured, we need to help them.

He resisted?  I don’t give two shits.

He put other people at risk? I don’t give two shits.

You think we should let him suffer?  Now I give many shits.

He is uninjured?  I’ll be the judge of that.

 

Your attitude wreaks of burnout and I hope it was just blowing off steam.  If this is how you truly, really, honestly feel you may not be far from making a career ending mistake.  I’ve seen it before, we all have.

Whether it’s a comment taken out of context, an utterance in front of the wrong audience or negligence, it could happen very easily.

 

I too am sick and tired of people doing bad things to bad people and seeming to get away with it.  Perhaps that is where you should focus your anger and energies instead of getting upset that I’m curious as to how he is being treated.

 

Quick story:

Long ago I was called to the scene of an assault, 2 victims, PD on scene.  First patient was being tended to by the first in unit and they were already intubating her and getting ready to head to the landing zone on the nearby roadway.  Significant head trauma from a baseball bat.

My patient had bruising to his face and abrasions to his neck and chest from Police restraining him.  He was intoxicated and kept shouting some of the worst profanity I have heard in my life towards the young woman on the ground.  What sticks in my mind is how he kept describing the sounds of the bat on her head and how she “finally shut up.”

Did I leave him there?  Did I ignore him?

No.  I did my fucking job and treated his wounds, assessing him for masking injuries, then driving him an hour to the hospital, thinking over and over how I hope he rots in prison, then in hell, then in hell again…all the while doing what I can to treat his wounds.

She died, he lived.  As far as I know he’s still rotting.

Caring for the injured is not a choice we in EMS get to make.  I can’t imagine withholding treatment based on someone’s actions, especially someone accused of actions like so many cases we roll on day in and day out.

 

I will not mention the author of the comment on FB in case they take my original advice and delete the comment but just remember…what we say in public forums is only the tip of the iceberg of our true beliefs, feelings and ideas.

-HM

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