I really need to know: at what point did EMS stop being about patients and start being about providers? When did EMS become more about justifying jobs than about taking care of people? And when did scare tactics become an acceptable way of disseminating information to the masses?
I am sorry, but I am angry, and I am not willing, as a prehospital provider, to take it anymore. Preying off of the unjustified fears of others is just plain wrong. Telling someone that lesser experienced less equipped EMS staff geared towards saving jobs rather than saving lives is the best choice is like telling your kids there is a monster under their bed to keep them from getting up late at night. Anyone who takes these kinds of action, whether they be a public official, a private company, a fire department, a police department, a union, or anything else should be ashamed of themselves for utilizing such deplorable, unethical tactics.
We need to get it through to the public that what is really important to their well-being is that they have strong providers standing at their door when the need for them arises. A truly efficient high performance EMS system realizes the limitations of each of its participants and compensates for those by emphasizing the strengths of the other stake holders with one goal in mind: the effective delivery of prehospital care. They are proud of what they do, and they let everyone know it, and most importantly they are not vindictive and manipulative. They work together as a team. They stand up for each other and they don’t allow bad blood to simmer or go unaddressed because they realize that teamwork is so important.
One of the key goals of anyone employed in any branch of public safety should be to acquire the trust and support of the community. It is really sad when instead of rewarding that trust with factual information about what EMS is, what its purpose is, and how it is best delivered, some chose instead to prey on that trust, distribute misinformation (sometimes to the point of it being a blatant outright lie or fabrication) all for their own personal gain. That is not what being in this field is all about. That is not what being a public servant is all about.
When an entity fails to keep that trust in mind, and when they betray it, they are betraying everything that we as an industry stand for. The problem is though when that trust is so deep rooted in the community that the uninformed public does not see the betrayal, there is little one can do about it.
So what is the answer to all of this? Be honest. Live up to your limitations. Failing to come clean to the people you serve is disingenuous and truly sad. The majority of people might not see it and realize it, but above all else, you are the one who has to go home each day carrying the burden of your own actions, and if you can live with betraying the people who trust you most, well, I don’t know what to tell you.
A reminder: The views expressed on this blog are those of the author(s) and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors’ employer(s) both past and present, or the owners and other authors on the First Responders Network.