Washington DC Whistleblower

I wrote this for tumblr last week:

It feels very sad to me that we have to have whistleblowers in EMS. This has happened in my area where in some instances it was very minor infractions (the lack of tourniquets comes to mind) in others it was very extreme (child sex offenders operating on the ambulances). No matter what the item was however, the whistleblower had to do what he felt necessary while at the same time being completely secret about his identity. I have great respect for those that are bold enough to say what they deem is necessary and the courage to do it in public. The ability to face your accuser has always been a very important aspect of the judicial system after all. Unfortunately we have very few real protections from a biased attack when we do it in public.

If I was being accused of something I would want to face my accuser. Is this not the way we can more closely align justice? Is this not how we figure out if there is a true crime, problem or fault? I know we have rules for HIPAA and they are there to protect the patient’s rights. Sometimes, however, I think we narrow in on the small topic and forget the bigger picture. I am reminded of a story I heard of a Christian college that had a student drown in a river when a dam was released who then punished his friend, who was out with him, for swimming on a Sunday.

The minor infraction is punished severely while the bigger issue is disregarded.

In Washington, DC a paramedic has written a letter to the city council detailing a call that went bad and was a direct link to low paramedic numbers for the city. He makes a point that two engine companies closer to the call could not respond with paramedics because they didn’t have any on shift. He has been reprimanded and, according to the JEMS article, it sounds like if the privacy officer is involved. So, he is getting reprimanded for maybe revealing a patient’s information, but the information that may have saved a life is disregarded.

I am not saying I know the entire story, but it always sounds suspicious to me when someone gets reprimanded when calling out a company for something.

Here’s the link to the story from JEMS: http://m.jems.com/article/news/dc-paramedic-disciplined-over-letter-cit

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