For you new people, it’s been awhile since I’ve fired up the typewriter here at HMHQ to issue a formal reprimand, but this really got under my skin.


I was out as the supervisor when dispatched to a reported fainting on the sidewalk.  We get these calls all the time from out of town visitors not used to seeing the homeless sleeping off a bottle of $5 vodka in a puddle of their own urine.  I guess wherever they come from that’s abnormal.  This is not the reason for your letter.

Still lights and sirens because you never really know, I realize I am the only unit responding since there is a second alarm fire a few blocks away and all the local engines are at it.  Dispatch advises they are “out of medics” and will send one when it is available.  They call it “medic to follow.”  This is not the reason for your letter.

On scene there is a large line on the sidewalk for a concert at a venue a block away.  It appears a teen sensation is performing tonight (it’s only 1pm) and the line is already easily 10,000 deep.  Hidden within this throng of people both young and not so is a hand waving for my attention.  The crowd seems unwilling to part from their place in the 10 person wide line that wraps around the sidewalk and I have to literally push people aside.  This is not the reason for your letter.

A security guard from a block away sees my little buggy (that’s what we call our Chief and Captain cars) nearby and comes to help.  He removes the large gate the police have set up so that I can more easily access my patient, an elderly man who is unconscious in the arms of his maybe 14 year old grandson.  Of the HUNDREDS of able bodied men nearby, none step forward as, with ALS bag, O2 and Zoll M Series, I grab my patient (breathing with pulses) and carry him into a shady area out of the 90 plus degree heat about 40 feet away.  This is not the reason for your letter.

After my primary and secondary survey and the removal of some heavy clothing my patient is opening his eyes and talking about how hot it is.  A bit of cool water on a towel to the back of the neck and a 250cc bolus has him cracking jokes about the young pop star performing this evening.  As the ambulance arrives and takes a report I have a chance to stand up and take a better look around.  No one is looking at what is happening just outside the line to the show of the year.  This is not the reason for your letter.

Then you speak up.


You and your “girlfriend” sitting in the cafe not 10 feet from me the entire time.  Watching me call for an ambulance, check for pulses, apply the NRB, the monitor, start the line, have the crying 14 year old hold the bag so I could help his grand father…you.

Close to 12 minutes you watched this man in distress, the grandson too, not to mention a lone paramedic who could use one more set of hands…any hands.

You are an “Off duty paramedic” and she’s an “ER nurse” and NOW you ask if I need a hand?

A letter in the file for both of you.  Not for leaving me to help my patient alone, but for not coming over and offering your assistance to HIM or his grandson.  I was fine, but the kid needed someone to take the bag, hold his hand, anything, but you sat there within earshot the entire time, then jump in when the ambulance arrived?

If it was up to me you’d both be getting days off, but since you were both “off duty” and “drinking” I guess it was too far out of the question to help out doing something other than patient care.  Next time, just blend in with the crowd.

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