Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III


Why the flurry of posts on the death of Curtis Mitchell?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has exonerated the paramedics of any wrongdoing, but that ruling seems to carry little weight with city officials.[1]

Just a few quotes to highlight the problems in Pittsburgh

Mr. Huss (public Safety Director Michael Huss) said they should have walked to Mr. Mitchell’s home to retrieve him. “It’s that simple,” he said.[2]

On Friday, (Mayor) Ravenstahl reiterated that the city has its own rules.

“When you look at the state’s requirements that nothing was done wrong, we feel differently,” said Ravenstahl. “But one thing that’s important to understand is that we have higher standards — in terms of what we expect from our paramedics here in Pittsburgh — than what the state requires.”

Ravenstahl, along with other city officials involved in the case, has not revealed what those standards are.

“We’ll disclose that at the time when we make an announcement. It’s not [public disclosure] at this time. We will make it available,” said Public Safety Director Michael Huss.[3]

Double secret probation?

[youtube]Y0cF2piwjYQ[/youtube]

Apparently, Mayor Ravenstahl thinks he can shield his friend from any blame for poor planning, by blaming the paramedics, who were following lawful directions from dispatch. The medics were not as tactful as they should have been, but that was addressed by the medical director before the first press conference.[4]

This would be suspicious, if someone were attempting to get rid of Pittsburgh EMS and have the fire department take over EMS. Has anyone asked what the fire department was doing during this storm? Was their behavior better than the behavior of EMS? Public Safety Director Michael Huss is a retired fire chief. Maybe he knows.

We’re successful because our business, be it fire department, EMS, combination, career, volunteer, emergency management, emergency operation, or in my case emergency services – We have got to be flexible, forward thinking, out of the box type people. That’s when we’ll do the best job.

When people come at you with something that you did not predict, and you can sit back for a few minutes and go, “There’s a way we can deal with this,” and make it work, then refine it for the next time. That’s how we’re going to have success.

– Cecil County Director of Emergency Services Richard Brooks.[5], [6]

That kind of thinking doesn’t seem to be possible in Pittsburgh.

For links to other writing/podcasting on the subject, see Part I or Part II.

Footnotes:

[1] Investigation Clears EMS Workers In Snowstorm Death – Mayor Says City Has ‘Higher Standards’
ThePittsburghChannel.
Posted: 4:58 am EDT March 19, 2010
Updated: 5:34 pm EDT March 20, 2010
Article

[2] City may discipline EMS workers – Man died at home despite repeated calls to 911 during snowstorm
Thursday, February 18, 2010
By Sadie Gurman,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Article

[3] Investigation Clears EMS Workers In Snowstorm Death – Mayor Says City Has ‘Higher Standards’
ThePittsburghChannel.
Posted: 4:58 am EDT March 19, 2010
Updated: 5:34 pm EDT March 20, 2010
Article

[4] Medical Call Review for 5161 Chaplain Way 2/6/2010
Ron Roth, MD Final 2/15/10
Medical Director, City of Pittsburgh, Department of Public Safety
Medical Director, Allegheny County Emergency Operations Center
Free Full Text

[5] MJ156: Winter Storms: Interview with Mr. Richard Brooks, Director Cecil County MD, Emergency Services
Mitigation Journal
Podcast

In the Mitigation Journal blog on the same topic –
EMS Under the Bus in Pittsburgh – 02/28/10

[6] Snow Storm 2010 Response and Episode 208 of the MedicCast
MedicCast
Podcast

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