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October 17, 2014

Inside EMS Podcast: Does EMS need cameras in ambulances?

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In this week’s Inside EMS Podcast, hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss a medic accused of fondling a woman in the back of an ambulance, and how EMS can both defend itself against these types allegations and make them less likely to happen.

“I can’t help but think cameras in the back of the rig might be the nuclear response to this sort of thing,” Grayson said.

Cebollero says it sounds like it’s being introduced as a form of punishment, but contends there’s nothing wrong with that thought.  

“Is there really a negative?” he asked. “I think it could be very helpful.”

Grayson said he would like to think EMS doesn’t need “the all seeing eye of Big Brother,” but Cebollero suggests it makes sense to put ambulances in the back of the ambulance, and then even use that technology to send patient information to the ER.

“On the face of it, it sounds like a great idea,” Grayson said. “I just also think it’s ripe for abuse and unforeseen consequences that we may not grasp as of yet.”

They also debate whether more EMS providers are becoming involved in misconduct destroy the public’s trust. Grayson stands by his position that it’s not more prevalent than it has been in the past, it just appears more in the news. But he acknowledges that “perception is reality.”

“What’s it going to take to clean up our image?” Grayson asks.

They also talk about response time problems in San Francisco, and relate it to a story a Md. department that improved response times by 27 percent by adding more BLS ambulances and cutting back on dispatch protocol questions before assigning a unit.

“Hold on to your hats San Francisco,” Cebollero said. “They did it by adding more ambulances to the fleet. Image that. It’s like witchcraft.”

In the clinical issue, they debate the idea of putting more BLS providers on the street in order to move ALS providers to more of a community role, running ALS interception if it’s needed.

Cebollero brought up the problem that advanced-level providers are often not available for calls where their needed, such as cardiac and respiratory calls, or to do 12-lead interpretations.  

“You know why we’re not having them there? Because they’re too busy running calls that do not require their unique knowledge and skill set,” Grayson said. “We need more BLS providers, and let the ALS providers do ALS things.”

Guest Tom Bothillet also joins the show to talk about the importance of ECG knowledge and 12-lead interpretations. He discusses some common mistakes, and provides resources to improve our education. 

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