Ambulance planWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I understand this is a sensitive issue. Rarely have I seen such diametrically opposed, yet valid, viewpoints collide. Unfortunately, such incidents create volatile situations. I respect the viewpoints of Richard Bage and D. Jeff Kish in the news story "City’s move into ambulance service debated," March 18 and Thomas Pounds’ opinion column "Ambulance decision sets off many alarms" in the same issue, as they debated against the idea.
What I do not understand, nor respect, are the personal attacks by Bage on the Toledo Firefighters themselves, nor Toledo Free Press printing them without checking the facts. Bage’s comments ranged from scare tactic commentary ("If you don’t have paramedics on board, someone will die!") to near slanderous ignorance: "Patients needing transport to a hospital will find slower, sub-standard care by ill-trained firefighters who have not handled basic life support runs."
I am a 14-year veteran of the TFRD. Every shift I respond to an average of 7 to 10 basic life support runs. This does not include advanced life support runs and fires. Generally, all Toledo Firefighters have similar experience. We are state-certified EMTs and have refresher courses every three years. We also are trained on the latest medical technology designed for street use. We are also Red Cross certified CPR technicians. Many of us are also fully credentialed paramedics.
We are the first responders. How patients will receive slower care, I’m not sure. Upon arrival we assess the situation. We then mitigate the problems and/or stabilize the patient(s). If necessary, we call an Advanced Life Support Life Squad, if one hasn’t already be sent. If we need a Basic Life Support transport, we call for an ambulance. We then prepare the patient for transport. When the ambulance arrives, the attendants either come in and take the patient by cot, or we escort the patient out.
Slower, sub-standard care by ill-trained firefighters who have not handled basic life support runs? I think not.
I understand Bage is upset. But there was no reason to evoke invective personal attacks on hard-working men and women. It leads to an unnecessary uneasiness between the firefighters and ambulance attendants who still have to work together.
PRIVATE MICHAEL W. NICELY, TFRD