Burned Out Medic had a post up recently I thought I commented on, but apparently you have to hit ‘submit.’ Who knew?
The post is in reference to a Call the Cops story about an ambulance crew being reprimanded for going 90 MPH even though the vehicles govern out at 70.
Well let me start by saying I agree 100% and that I’m going to have to disagree 100%. Typical EMS Manager, right?
The trouble with the situation mentioned in the Call the Cops story is that there are no facts. There does not appear to be any investigation policy or framework, nor is there any documentation confirming the speed of the vehicle, the exact location, time of day, etc.
Most field crews believe EMS Managers are sitting in the office hoping beyond hope that someone calls in a complaint so we can puff up our chests and assert the hair’s width of authority we have.
Let me confirm that that is not the case at all. In between phone calls from hospitals, regulators, our own managers, chart reading, report filing and other mundane tasks involved with making sure you can still practice, citizen complaints are taken very seriously.
I used to get weekly calls from a fellow who swore up one side and down the other that a crew raped him*. Same crew, every week. Seriously. For over a year we were on casual conversation terms each time he called. Heck one week he didn’t call and I was actually worried. But the first time he called it was taken very, very seriously.
The conversation was recorded, run data was pulled, AVL signals gathered and only after confirming details from the caller was I able to conclude his complaint to be without merit.
The crew accused wasn’t even working that night but had transported this individual a number of times. That same crew had recently been accused of other things by other members of the public and medical system. Each time he called I’d pull the AVL map as we spoke to confirm the crew in question was in the clear.
You see my friends, complaints do not happen in a vacuum. They are most often the result of someone getting a bill for service or just plain not liking EMS in general.
The example given by Call the Cops that Burned-Out references is hilarious because it can be easily disputed:
- Obtain complaint in writing or verbally recorded.
- Pull the unit history for the ambulance in question.
- Pull AVL data for location.
- Access maintenance data to ensure governing device installed and properly working.
- Access previous violations for pattern behavior.
That’ll take maybe an hour. The thing most field crews don’t realize is that good people can still do bad things. If you’re a 5 star crew and get a complaint I handle it the same as a complaint about the crew that was in my office yesterday for what ever other frivolous thing the rumor mill says they were in for.
The tough call comes when the AVL data shows the unit traveling on the roadway in question, at the time in question, at the speed limit, but 3 hours earlier data show the vehicle traveling above the speed of the governor.
Now what do you do? The crew has been proven to not be guilty of the accused offense, yet we now have data that show their defense is faulty.
It’s easy to sit in the rig and gossip about how the managers are out to get you after what happened to so-and-so but just remember it’s a lot of work to get you in trouble, and you know how we pencil pushing EMS Managers hate work.
If your managers are so bad at what they do, promote. Nothing in EMS is easy, even sitting in a little room with a tie on reading charts and going to meetings. The ultimate answer to bad leadership is to become a leader yourself. Show me you can do it better than they can and your service will be the better for it and, as a result, your patients will have a better experience, which is all that matters in the end.
EDIT – *Forgot to mention, not the real reason he called, but just as unusual and hard to believe.