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2010-05-30
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Unsettling State of National EMS

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It seemed that many people simply didn't realize how undermanned most local EMS crews were. Yesterday, CNN reported a major failure in the northeast where EMTs and First Responders were caught with falsified certifications, received despite not having all the necessary pre-requisite training. I'm no longer surprised by a statement of fraud like that within the EMS world - within the paid circles stories abound regarding shady folks you'd rather never have in your house, dying or not, and within the volunteer circles its a matter of herding cats to get people to give up even more time to take their training. So while CNN, and the states they're reporting on, seem to only be aware of a mere handful, it seems almost obvious the behavior is far more rampant. Our last town for instance featured a blind EMT that was recertified by instructors that knew he was blind1. Despite a request being sent to the executive board (which consisted of those same friends of his and himself) requesting the matter of physical ability and patient care be reviewed, it was summarily dismissed as a non-issue. That EMT continues to ride today and in many cases is the sole caregiver in the back of the ambulance since his second crew member has to drive (the lesser of two evils being the blind man not be behind the wheel). So you would be very surprised to find out who from your community is actually going to show up at the door in your hour of need - a pack of teenagers needing community service, the physically disabled, fraudulently certified or perhaps even criminals!

1 The instructors at the EMS academy happened to be friends and colleagues of his from the same EMS organization in Englewood, NJ.



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