As reported by WPTY in Memphis, Memphis Fire EMT Kenneth Montgomery was assigned to a unit transporting a patient.  Instead of completing the transport he steered the unit to Firehouse 16, parked and went looking for a relief to take the rest of the job.

Kind of a no brainer to me and I hope to you too.

Finish the job you’re sent on.  That’s a letter in your file and in case you thought this would get you off the ambulance, think again.  Unlike many folks on Facebook, I’m not asking for your resignation, your EMT card, or anything else.

Why not?

The video posted at the news website includes certain “details” that got my memory spinning.

You see, I’ve been on this call 100 times.  I’ve even been on the call that is the 1 in a million like this, but I know that wasn’t an actual emergency and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Using my amazing holistic detective skills I can tell you this was a morning run to a rehab center for chest pains.  I would honestly be surprised if they had to look at the map book for this one.  999 out of 1000 times the chief complaint does not match the signs and symptoms, someone will start to hospital shop, refuse a 12 lead ECG etc.  Treat every job like that 1 in a million until proven false.

I have no details as to the patient care or condition in this circumstance so don’t even comment that I’m not being compassionate.

I do have one set of details that, had it been happening, the press would have mentioned it for sure:

No lights and sirens to the hospital.

We can debate the benefits of playing Paramedic Pinball code 3 to the hospital, but it can tell us a lot about what may or may not have been happening in the back of that ambulance.

Had this been a code 3 return Mr Montgomery would indeed be facing harsher punishment from the likes of me, but having recently taken a promotional exam that dealt with similar situations there are a number of statements I need to gather before passing on a recommendation for disciplinary action:

1. Interview the call taker and pull the E911 tape to confirm the call.

2. Interview persons at the scene as to the disposition of the crew.

3. Obtain admission condition and discharge condition of the patient.

4. Interview Paramedic in charge of patient care.

5. Interview Mr Montgomery as to his thought process and justifications, if any.

and most importantly,

6. Were there actually any rules or regulations broken?

Is there a rule in your system that mentions being required to go straight from the scene to the hospital?  Even something as vague as “Timely Discharge of Orders” might stick to the wall, but my guess is Memphis is about to get one of those rules that can be traced to a name.

Mr Montgomery, what you did may not have been right, but it brings us into focus in a way we don’t need.  I’m sure private ambulance companies will be mentioning this event at the next system bid for sure.

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