…is my email inbox at work. Or my voicemail…whichever…
I knew our CQI position handled citizen complaints, but I had no idea how many there were.
“It’s a thankless job” they told me when I took it. Like being a Paramedic in the City was a thankful job?
Almost like clock work most mornings I get a call from a person I’ll call “Bob.”
Bob doesn’t like the Fire Department, or my mother, or my race, or the fact that I am his employee since he pays taxes. Bob was taken to an ER for a complaint and was shocked and appalled we were directed to place him in the triage waiting area after a nurse assessed him. In other words Bob is 99% of our business.
Bob and I have a 30-45 second conversation about his most recent abduction by the Paramedics and how they assaulted him, robbed him and left him to die…at the hospital. When I pull up Bob’s run history the computer returns “Seriously?”
Some may say Bob’s calls are a hindrance or a distraction, but Bob keeps me on my toes. Bob is my window into the mind of someone who does not know our lingo, our policies or our commitment to his overall health and safety. Others may say I should report Bob, but that’s what he wants, a reaction, and all I do is listen, explain and then he hangs up. then I get a coffee. It’s a routine we have.
Other complaints vary from legitimate clinical concerns from local hospitals, to regulators who question charting, to folks who simply want to vent.
But my favorite calls of all are the ones I can tell in an instant are without merit. Bob helps he spot them easier. How do I know? They don’t know our lingo.
For example, if you tell me the ambulance people told you they would “throw you out of the truck” you’re lying. How do I know? Because a “truck” to us is a giant 5 man device with a 100 foot ladder on the back and is big and red. We do not call it a truck…only you people do. And by you people I mean the ungrateful masses who demand our services in 4 minutes or less only to complain that we took you to the wrong ER, since they “kicked me out” earlier today.
Kicked you out did they? How do I know you’re lying? Because they don’t kick people out.
When people get bored waiting 4 hours for a refill of Plavix (which they were never going to do in the first place, we told you that) they leave or are told to go to the pharmacy, but they are not kicked out.
We stole your wallet you say? (Keep in mind folks, I am required to investigate these complaints no matter what they are)
Doubtful since I recognize your name from my days on the ambulance and we keep track of these things. 2 years ago you claimed we stole $500 from your wallet, then 8 months ago another $700 and today the total is up to $900 and we somehow walked off with your brother’s bass guitar. I’ll investigate this but I should warn you, the No Merit letter is on my desktop I use it so often. (The Further Investigation by Investigative Services Bureau Recommended is there too FYI).
But just for once think about what you are about to say to me in your complaint. If the crew kicked you out of the truck how again did you get to the hospital for the nurse to sign our form that they accepted you?
If we stole your grandmother’s $2000 necklace, why can you not describe it to me?
I’ll take your call, I’ll treat it as true until I complete my queries, but put some effort into it first folks. If you’re unhappy and make something up you’re just wasting my time and yours. If you have a legitimate concern I want to know about it.
Think twice about questioning the professionalism of the folks who took care of you when you didn’t need it, only wanted it, and how they did everything you needed up to and including taking you to an ER you did not need for a reason you could have handled yourself.
But if they weren’t professional, if they didn’t do what you needed, I’ll be the first one to tell you so.
Talk to you again on Monday Bob.