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

- Rogue Medic

Video From Pittsburgh City Council

Here is a link to a blog with the video of the medics statements to Pittsburgh City Council.

LastChunit

This is must see video.

.

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning

So much attention has been placed on the recording of phone calls between the 911 center and paramedics, that nobody seems to have any interest in preventing problems during future disaster conditions.

Did any comment by any paramedic during any phone conversation make any difference in the outcome?

No.

Curtis Mitchell would still be dead, even if they did not have cellular phones.

I was working in that storm. I was wet, cold, and frustrated. I was fortunate that I did not have the same problems reaching any patients. I did not make any inappropriate comments on a recorded phone line.

Nobody can confirm that, because none of my patients had any bad outcome that might lead management to try to blame the outcome on my phone conversation.

The release of the phone recording benefits people who are trying to scapegoat the medics.

The release of the phone recording does nothing to prevent this from happening again.

Have I made inappropriate comments at times, due to working under very difficult circumstances?

No!

Of course not!

Never!

I’m perfect!

How dare those evil medics make other medics look bad!

Now that I have your attention, there is a nice bridge that I would like to sell you. Today there is a special price. If you act now, I will throw in some gorgeous swamp land at no extra cost. . . .

The truth is a bit different.

I have made inappropriate comments.

Few of us have not.

Many of us may claim that we would never say anything like what said was on the recording, but how many of us can prove it. How many of us really have made other inappropriate comments.

People make mistakes.

Discipline is about learning from mistakes.

Discipline is about preventing future mistakes.

If you think discipline is about punishment, you do not understand discipline.

Imagine if someone were to release selected portions of your phone conversations from work.

Even better.

Imagine if we were able to listen to selected portions of the phone conversations between Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss from that weekend.

Maybe that would not be comfortable to listen to, either.

When talking on a recorded line, we should always talk with the expectation that the recording will be played back in a courtroom, with the most devious lawyer possible spinning the story to make us look worse than Charles Manson on an especially evil day.

We need to avoid giving in to that emotional appeal to punish somebody because something does not sound good.

Why was EMS frustrated?

No plows.

Fewer crews.

Several times the number of patients.

The worst snow storm in over a century.

Oh, what about 1993?

1993? When there were many more people to drive plows?

1993? When there were many more 4 wheel drive plows?

1993? When the snow was heavy, but not turning to ice?

1993? When plows were actually sent to assist EMS?

1993?[1]

I can’t imagine why anyone would be frustrated under these circumstances.

The medical director investigated and did not blame the medics.

The state investigated and did not blame the medics.

Sharon Edge (Curtis Mitchell’s widow) does not blame the medics.

Maybe they know something that all of the people blaming the medics do not know.

Snow plows are for wimps!

We don’t need no stinkin’ snow plows!

Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire also has a bit to say about this decision to fire someone for a phone conversation. Human Sacrifice.

Maybe you think that TOTWTYTR and I are a bunch of touchy feely, it’s all about feeling good about what you did – not about the result kind of people. We aren’t any good at coddling incompetents. We are usually the ones criticizing the incompetence.

Late addition – 3/24/10 17:56 David Konig writes about this in The Assassination Of Pittsburgh EMS By The Coward Michael Huss. He makes some excellent points, such as –

So if these standards are higher, why are they secret? I would think that is something the Mayor would be proud of… unless he thinks that he can just conjure up higher standards after the event and make them retroactive.

I have also written about this here –

City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss – 02/18/10

Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? – 02/20/10

Public Safety Director Michael Huss and Others Continue to Blame the Medics for the Snow – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt – 02/24/10

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 03/02/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part I – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part II – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III – 03/22/10

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch? – 03/23/10

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished – 03/23/10

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning – 03/24/10

Josie Dimon was the Scapegoat of Public Safety Director Michael Huss in the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 02/16/11

Michael Huss – Pittsburgh EMS Only Needs Someone Good With a Shovel – 02/16/11

Links updated 02/16/11.

Footnotes:

[1] Cascade of Failures Paralyzed Pittsburgh During Snowstorm
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
by Carl Prine
Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2010
Updated: February 22nd, 2010 04:57 PM EDT
Article

.

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished

Apparently, my last post was just about the time the news was published.

Acting Crew Chief Josie Dimon, a union employee was fired after she was heard on transmissions between paramedics making disparaging, profanity laced comments such as “this ain’t no [expletive] taxi service.”[1]

Is that inappropriate? Absolutely.

Should someone be fired for speaking that way with dispatch? There are going to be many different approaches to that question.

How has the city handled any previous cases of use of obscenity on the radio?

How has the city handled any previous cases of bad attitude expressed on the radio?

If there have been any cases of similar behavior, was the person(s) fired?

Is the use of a public forum (using a press conference to announce the firing) special to this case?

Did the bad attitude and use of obscenity contribute to the death of Curtis Mitchell in any way?

If she is such a bad employee that she needs to be fired, why did I hear that she was working on the street and had to be called back to base just before the press conference?

Why was the discipline kept a secret, even from those being disciplined?

What is the top secret higher standard that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss are enforcing?

It certainly is not a higher standard of disaster preparedness, because they did not fire themselves.

Or maybe they did, but it is also top secret.

Were EMS crews told that they would not receive any assistance?

Were EMS crews told that they would have to dig themselves through the snow to their patients?

Since the snow was coming down fast and being blown back where people shoveled, that would mean digging their way to the patient and then back to the ambulance with the patient.

How long do we want to have a patient outside, while having medics do the job that should be done by equipment?

If a patient is dropped, is that the fault of the crew carrying a patient on snow and ice covered roads?

Who came up with this plan?

Not the medics.

What about 4 wheel drive vehicles? Supervisors could respond with 4 wheel drive vehicles to safely transport patients, rather than dragging/pushing/dropping the patient through the snow and ice.

That would be a good plan.

That was not the plan in Pittsburgh.

After the storm, the decision was made to send the fire department on calls to help shovel snow and carry patients.

Apparently, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss think that Pittsburgh has a bunch of fire fighters sitting around with nothing to do.

Let’s send fire fighters to do the work that should be done by snow plows and/or 4 wheel drive vehicles.

If there is a fire, maybe Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss will decide that the fire department should just walk to the fire and throw snow on the fire.

Why waste money on the appropriate equipment?

Nobody will mind waiting for fire fighters to walk to the fire. Would they?

We don’t need no stinkin’ snow plows!

An excellent plan!

What else is part of their plan?

Crew Chief Kim Long, also a union employee, and two non-union supervisors, District Chief Norman Aubil and District Chief Ron Curry were suspended for three days.[1]

There is no mention of anything they did that justifies these suspensions.

2 independent investigations cleared the medics. Even the wife of Curtis Mitchell does not blame the medics.

Scapegoats.

What about Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss?

They may not have created all of this mess, but they couldn’t seem to be able to figure out how to call the National guard until days after the death of Curtis Mitchell.

We all had ample time to prepare.

– Cecil County Director of Emergency Services Richard Brooks.[2]

I agree. We did have time to prepare.

Why wasn’t Pittsburgh prepared?

Just get out and walk is not an acceptable disaster plan.

Don’t worry. If anything bad happens, we’ll just blame the people who did not work hard enough to make up for our lack of planning.

I have also written about this here –

City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss – 02/18/10

Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? – 02/20/10

Public Safety Director Michael Huss and Others Continue to Blame the Medics for the Snow – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt – 02/24/10

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 03/02/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part I – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part II – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III – 03/22/10

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch? – 03/23/10

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished – 03/23/10

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning – 03/24/10

Josie Dimon was the Scapegoat of Public Safety Director Michael Huss in the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 02/16/11

Michael Huss – Pittsburgh EMS Only Needs Someone Good With a Shovel – 02/16/11

Links updated 02/16/11.

Footnotes:

[1] 4 Receive Disciplinary Action In Hazelwood Death
Mar 23, 2010 2:56 pm US/Eastern
KDKA.com Pittsburgh
Article

[2] From Mitigation Journal

EMS Under the Bus in Pittsburgh – 02/28/10

And in the Mitigation Journal podcast –

MJ156: Winter Storms: Interview with Mr. Richard Brooks, Director Cecil County MD, Emergency Services – 02/23/10

From the MedicCast

Snow Storm 2010 Response and Episode 208 of the MedicCast – 02/28/10

.

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch?

There is a video in the article. It cannot be embeded.

Tony Weinmann, president of the Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics, said Monday that the city notified two paramedics of pending discipline in connection with Curtis Mitchell’s death.[1]

These paramedics have received notice that they will be disciplined, in spite of being cleared of responsibility in 2 separate investigations. They have not been told what kind of discipline, although it has been leaked to the press that at least one will be fired. At the time this story was published, this morning, one of the paramedics was still at work on the street.

She was still not aware of what kind of punitive action will be taken by the city for being cleared by 2 independent investigations. If she is investigated a third time and cleared, maybe Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss will have to execute her.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Mike Huss would not confirm reports of discipline, but he said the city has completed its investigation and is planning a news conference at 1:30 p.m.[1]

It is now 3:00 PM and still there is no new report of the form of punishment.

His longtime partner, Sharon Edge, told WTAE Channel 4 Action News that she didn’t think the two paramedics should lose their jobs.

“I think they used them as a scapegoat. I don’t want them to get fired because that wouldn’t be right, and Curtis wouldn’t have wanted that,” said Edge.[1]

2 independent investigations and the person most affected by the death of her common law husband. The same conclusion. The medics are not at fault in causing the death of Curtis Mitchell.

Scapegoats.

The paramedics’ union criticized city leaders on Saturday, saying, “It is quite obvious prior to this incident that the city was ill-prepared for this snow disaster. The administrators in charge of the public’s safety did not put the employees of the city of Pittsburgh in a position to carry out their responsibilities in an effective manner.”[1]

Now, if I were the skeptical type, I might suspect that this is an attempt by the people responsible for the handling of emergencies in the City of Pittsburgh to deflect blame onto someone else. Secret higher standards for the people actually doing the work, but lower standards for those in charge. Why so many secrets?

Would that be an unreasonable suspicion?

We all had ample time to prepare.

– Cecil County Director of Emergency Services Richard Brooks.[2]

Cecil County does not handle emergencies the same way that Pittsburgh handles emergencies.

I have also written about this here –

City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss – 02/18/10

Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? – 02/20/10

Public Safety Director Michael Huss and Others Continue to Blame the Medics for the Snow – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt – 02/24/10

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 03/02/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part I – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part II – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III – 03/22/10

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch? – 03/23/10

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished – 03/23/10

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning – 03/24/10

Josie Dimon was the Scapegoat of Public Safety Director Michael Huss in the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 02/16/11

Michael Huss – Pittsburgh EMS Only Needs Someone Good With a Shovel – 02/16/11

Links updated 02/16/11.

Footnotes:

[1] Paramedics To Be Disciplined For Man’s Death After Snowstorm – Curtis Mitchell Died, Despite Repeated Calls To Pittsburgh 911
ThePittsburghChannel.com
Posted: 3:54 pm EDT March 22, 2010
Updated: 11:02 am EDT March 23, 2010
Article

[2] From Mitigation Journal

EMS Under the Bus in Pittsburgh – 02/28/10

And in the Mitigation Journal podcast –

MJ156: Winter Storms: Interview with Mr. Richard Brooks, Director Cecil County MD, Emergency Services – 02/23/10

From the MedicCast

Snow Storm 2010 Response and Episode 208 of the MedicCast – 02/28/10

.

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


I have not been on any of the podcasts covering the Pittsburgh EMS response in the snow and ice, when Curtis Mitchell died. I just listened to the EMS Garage podcast that covered this as a part of the episode.

It seems that the less you know about what happened, the more you blame the medics. The topic seemed to be dominated by comments stating, the news said, or the news didn’t say.

Do we trust the news to get the story right?

Few people seem to be surprised at how little information was released.

Originally, the information released was that a couple of medics responded 3 times, but those medics refused to get out of their truck because they were lazy.

We now know that there were 6 different medics. The medics did not refuse to get out of the truck. The medics were canceled by dispatch. It appears that the crews were then reassigned to other patients, because they were running non-stop all day. Calls were waiting for ambulances to become available.

Running non-stop transporting patients in the snow and ice is somehow lazy?

This is to be expected during disaster conditions. This does not seem to be the experience of the critics, even though they claim to have extensive disaster experience.

These medics transported a lot of other patients.

How did the patients get to the hospital, if the medics did not get out of the truck?

How did the patients get to the hospital if these medics were lazy?

In this case, it appears that the media were fed misleading information by Public Safety Director Michael Huss. The man responsible for public safety essentially pointed his finger at the medics and squealed, They did it! They did it! They did it!

OK, squealed may not technically correct. That doesn’t mean that it is any less fair than anything Public Safety Director Michael Huss said. He is responsible for public safety, but apparently only when the sun is shining, but not too much sun.

Two mistakes, that many people have repeated –

The medics never got out of the truck.

And –

The medics never tried.

Does anyone have any evidence to support either statement?

Does anybody really think that this is true?

Why does anyone believe this?

Insanity?

Immaturity?

Gullibility?

Mass hallucination?

I believe that the reason is a lack of critical judgment.

Did any news report make either statement? If the medics did not get out of the truck, and no help was sent, who dug the ambulances out of the snow?

Public Safety Director Michael Huss did say something about the medics needing to get out of the truck, but is there any reason to believe that the words of Mr. Huss are at all credible?

The comments of Public Safety Director Michael Huss were what originally caught my attention. The comments remind me of a child trying to explain that he does not know what happened to the missing chocolate chip cookies, even though he is covered with melted chocolate.

Maybe the child is not guilty, but am I going to start looking for some mysterious stranger or maybe a cookie monster?

Still, this is the explanation that was repeated on the podcast. There was some dissent on the show, but the uninformed critics of the medics did seem to dominate the discussion. I like the EMS Garage. Chris Montera does a great job of encouraging discussion on important topics. This was a segment that will encourage people to blame the wrong people. This will encourage people to ignore disaster planning, because the medics can just get out of the truck and walk. The only way this is disaster planning, is by turning something that is not a disaster into a true disaster. Then management will blame the lowest people on the totem pole.

In a different podcast, covered on both Mitigation Journal and the MedicCast, there is a different approach to the topic. That is in Part II. Then there is Part III.

Podcasting on the death of Curtis Mitchell:

From Mitigation Journal

EMS Under the Bus in Pittsburgh – 02/28/10

And in the Mitigation Journal podcast –

MJ156: Winter Storms: Interview with Mr. Richard Brooks, Director Cecil County MD, Emergency Services – 02/23/10

From the MedicCast

Snow Storm 2010 Response and Episode 208 of the MedicCast – 02/28/10

From the EMS Garage

Up to My Pips: EMS Garage Episode 75 – 03/02/10

Writing on the death of Curtis Mitchell:

From Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire

Trouble Right Here In Three River City – 02/19/10

Comment From Someone In Pittsburgh – 02/20/10

More From Pittsburgh – 02/23/10

Update On The Pittsburgh Story – 02/28/10

And Then I Realized… – 03/01/10

Fertilizer – 03/22/10

Human Sacrifice – 3/24/10

The Tapes Don’t Lie, But People Do – 3/29/10

The Drama Continues In Pittsburgh – 5/12/10

Let The Scapegoating Begin – 01/06/11

Common Sense Prevails – 02/15/11

From David Konig

EMS Blog Rounds Edition 32 – 03/09/10

Why You Need A Social Media Presence: The Case Of Pittsburgh EMS – 02/22/10

Yes Mary, It Is A Transportation System – 02/19/10

From 9-ECHO-1

Pittsburgh…my take on it – 02/23/10

Still Don’t Make It Right… – 03/20/10

From A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver

As usual the truth is somewhere between the extremes – 02/20/10

From Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

The Power of Saying “I’m Sorry”. – 02/21/10

Medic’s Perspective on Mitchell Case. – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt. – 02/23/10

The View from Foggy Goggle. – 02/25/10

I have also written about this here –

City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss – 02/18/10

Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? – 02/20/10

Public Safety Director Michael Huss and Others Continue to Blame the Medics for the Snow – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt – 02/24/10

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 03/02/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part I – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part II – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III – 03/22/10

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch? – 03/23/10

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished – 03/23/10

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning – 03/24/10

Josie Dimon was the Scapegoat of Public Safety Director Michael Huss in the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 02/16/11

Michael Huss – Pittsburgh EMS Only Needs Someone Good With a Shovel – 02/16/11

Links updated 02/16/11.

.

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

.

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


As opposed to what I wrote about in Part I, there is a more thoughtful, more thorough approach to disaster planning covered on both Mitigation Journal and the MedicCast.

Cecil County (Maryland) Director of Emergency Services Richard Brooks is interviewed.

This is a podcast that is very important to listen to.

There are many important topics that people do not understand. For example, if there is the possibility of a disaster, how much preparation is appropriate? When the disaster does not happen, there will be many critics, so some places avoid preparation.

Better not spend too much. That will look bad, if the storm is not as bad as forecast. If the worst happens, we can just blame the medics.

That is an important contrast between Pittsburgh and Cecil County. It is true that Pittsburgh has a lot of financial problems that other places do not have, but this should have encouraged them to call for help earlier. The National Guard has 4 wheel drive vehicles. Pittsburgh needed 4 wheel drive vehicles. The National guard has snow plows. Pittsburgh needed snow plows. The decision to call early should have been easy.

When 911 calls are put on hold for 10 hours, you might want to consider that you are dealing with a disaster. Maybe avoiding dealing with a disaster is their style.

When you have 911 calls on hold for 10 hours, you need to admit that you are overwhelmed. You need to use your brains, rather than having crews wandering around in the snow, doing things that should be done by equipment. The Luddite approach leads to deaths.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss clearly does not believe in using critical judgment. His response was for the medics to tie themselves up on one call for hours by getting out of the truck and walking to the patient. Then possibly endangering the patient by having 2 people try to drag him through the snow and ice. Mayor Ravenstahl seems to be defending his buddy.[1]

We all had ample time to prepare.

– Cecil County Director of Emergency Services Richard Brooks.

In the interview, Richard Brooks describes using critical judgment and encouraging his people to use critical judgment. He describes it as thinking outside the box. I do not like the phrase for a bunch of reasons. One is that it has become overused by so many people. Richard Brooks uses it appropriately.

Michael Huss doesn’t seem to want medics to appropriately use equipment. He seems to want them to just use their legs. If they do that, he seems to think that the lack of preparedness will not be noticed.

Why?

He knows what happened, so he thinks that he knows how to avoid it in the cheapest way possible. He is wrong. Monday morning quarterbacks usually are.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss encourages us to think as Luddites. Technology is evil. Destroy all tools. And blame the medics.

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.

That is not the bureaucratic response. The bureaucratic response is to sacrifice low ranking personnel to protect the jobs of their bosses (the ones who really caused the problem).

Cecil County will not have to deal with explaining a preventable death to the media, because they will be prepared for disasters. When their preparation does not lead to an easy solution, they will start trying other things.

How much thought is required to decide to send a 4 wheel drive truck to pick up a patient, rather than have the medics re-enact the Iditarod? If we use the right tools, we are able to help more people. If we use critical judgment, we are able to help more people. If we use the Luddite solution, we endanger everyone.

I am very critical of people who discourage the use of critical judgment.

I think that the only way that the statements of Public Safety Director Michael Huss make sense, is if we abandon the use of critical judgment. We would need to engage in a willing suspension of disbelief.[2]

Reasonable people only engage in a willing suspension of disbelief to enjoy fiction. Fiction, that otherwise would be seen as unbelievable.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss does not even provide good unbelievable fiction.

The official report from the medical director is not fiction.[3]

There is more in Part III

Podcasting on the death of Curtis Mitchell:

From Mitigation Journal

EMS Under the Bus in Pittsburgh – 02/28/10

And in the Mitigation Journal podcast –

MJ156: Winter Storms: Interview with Mr. Richard Brooks, Director Cecil County MD, Emergency Services – 02/23/10

From the MedicCast

Snow Storm 2010 Response and Episode 208 of the MedicCast – 02/28/10

From the EMS Garage

Up to My Pips: EMS Garage Episode 75 – 03/02/10

Writing on the death of Curtis Mitchell:

From Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire

Trouble Right Here In Three River City – 02/19/10

Comment From Someone In Pittsburgh – 02/20/10

More From Pittsburgh – 02/23/10

Update On The Pittsburgh Story – 02/28/10

And Then I Realized… – 03/01/10

Fertilizer – 03/22/10

Human Sacrifice – 3/24/10

The Tapes Don’t Lie, But People Do – 3/29/10

The Drama Continues In Pittsburgh – 5/12/10

Let The Scapegoating Begin – 01/06/11

Common Sense Prevails – 02/15/11

From David Konig

EMS Blog Rounds Edition 32 – 03/09/10

Why You Need A Social Media Presence: The Case Of Pittsburgh EMS – 02/22/10

Yes Mary, It Is A Transportation System – 02/19/10

From 9-ECHO-1

Pittsburgh…my take on it – 02/23/10

Still Don’t Make It Right… – 03/20/10

From A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver

As usual the truth is somewhere between the extremes – 02/20/10

From Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

The Power of Saying “I’m Sorry”. – 02/21/10

Medic’s Perspective on Mitchell Case. – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt. – 02/23/10

The View from Foggy Goggle. – 02/25/10

I have also written about this here –

City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss – 02/18/10

Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? – 02/20/10

Public Safety Director Michael Huss and Others Continue to Blame the Medics for the Snow – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt – 02/24/10

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 03/02/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part I – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part II – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III – 03/22/10

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch? – 03/23/10

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished – 03/23/10

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning – 03/24/10

Josie Dimon was the Scapegoat of Public Safety Director Michael Huss in the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 02/16/11

Michael Huss – Pittsburgh EMS Only Needs Someone Good With a Shovel – 02/16/11

Links updated 02/16/11.

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] Suspension of disbelief
Wikipedia
Article

[3] 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

.

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell

In one comment to City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss and in 3 comments to Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? there is a trend. One of the comments is repeated, but maybe the authors of these comments are incapable of interpreting material rationally. Maybe they are attempting to protect themselves from criticism for their failure to prepare for this snow storm.

In any case, I will address the lies presented in the whining.

First is an anonymous comment signed as Jack E. Davis, Sr. Actually, first and second, since he/she provided the same comment on both posts.

No, Mr. Huss, it isn’t rocket science and the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented. The EMTs are there for a reason, to save lives, if possible, and to carry out their duties as they were “HIRED” to do!

This person seems to think that sending the medics on foot to calls in the snow will help to create jobs in Pittsburgh. We don’t need to waste money on snow plows or 4 wheel drive trucks. We will just have the medics carry everyone. Then we can sit around and do some Monday morning whining and stoning. We aren’t good at anything else.

If the medics decide not to call for help, then the city will need many more medics to transport patients. How many patients would they actually have reached? How many patients with similar medical conditions, or more serious medical conditions (according to their dispatch criteria), would have been waiting for EMS for a much longer time?

The medics did not refuse to transport anyone.

The medics were dispatched 3 times.

The medics were canceled 3 times.

The investigation by the medical director did not find fault with the medics.[1]

Maybe this person is posting anonymously because of the embarrassing ignorance displayed in these comments.

Hot coffee and Krispy Kremes sound much better than a cold, wet trudge through the snow; let’s go back to the station, this guy will be alright, he’s probably just having a bad reaction to some drugs anyway.

Why presume that the medics were able to go back to the station? Because this person appears to have an overly active imagination. When it wants to make something up to suit its prejudices, it will. Why let the facts get in the way of reality?

The medics were transporting patients all day in the snow. They were digging themselves out of the snow every time they became stuck in the snow.

We know where the medics were and what they were doing.

The medics were working.

We do not know what this anonymous liar was doing.

Interesting that this abdominal pain call is presumed to be due to drugs. Where does this come from? Is this from personal experience? Is this from information that was reported after the fact? If the medics knew how the inaccurately reported story would be written, they could have told dispatch. You can’t cancel us. We know this guy is going to die. We are refusing to treat or transport anyone else, until we transport this guy, because we know he is going to die. Isn’t everyone psychic?

Prosecution for dereliction of duty sounds like the proper and justified course of action and a STERN message needs to be sent. If you’re a “public servant” and you’re not fully dedicated to the complete and proper discharge of your duties; C H A N G E J O B S !!!

Oh, the contradictions. Follow imaginary rules, but disobey actual rules.

This writer wants anarchy in Pittsburgh.

Ignore dispatch, when dispatch cancels you.

Ignore dispatch, when dispatch sends you to treat and transport patients.

Medics only need to use their psychic powers to predict which patient will die, respond only to that patient’s residence, transport only that patient, and ignore the rest of the patients.

In any case, the anonymous person posting as Jack E. Davis, Sr. is more than willing to give false testimony and cast the first stone. I don’t know what I am writing about, but I am willing to punish people because of the way I imagine things. And what an imagination it has.

Let’s not rely on facts. Let’s demand that the main stream media make all of our decisions for us. This person provides an example of what happens when our schools fail to educate. If only critical judgment were taught, we should not see so many people forfeiting their decision making to the media.

This lowest common denominator hates America and the rights that our Founding Fathers sacrificed so much for. This person just wants to lynch people. Especially the innocent. This is an example of the true American Taliban. Intolerance combined with ignorance.

Next, Melvin writes this comment.

I can not understand how we travel around the world to dig people out of destroyed rubble and assist with devestaing earthquakes, and all types of disasters, but whatever the reason our public service can not transport a man to the hospital regardless of the bad weather conditons.

3 different ambulances were dispatched. They became stuck in the snow/ice. They called for help getting to the patient.

All 3 of those ambulances were canceled. All of the help they called for was canceled, too.

The medics did not refuse to treat or transport Curtis Mitchell.

This is what they train for to be able to respond in the worst of conditions.

You would have to bring that up with Public Safety Director Michael Huss. Public Safety does not appear to have any plan to deal with these storms that happen every decade, or two. I agree that they should have some preparation for this. However, that failure is not a failure on the part of the medics.

Anyone can respond in nice summer day. My 95 year old grandmother on a wheelchair can respond.

Some modestly amusing hyperbole.

How does your 95 year old grandmother get the patients onto the stretcher?

How does your 95 year old grandmother get the patients into the ambulance?

What kind of treatment does your 95 year old grandmother provide to unstable patients?

You clearly do not know what is involved in treating and transporting patients.

Arriving at the side of the patient and transporting the patient are not even close to being the same thing. Not that your 95 year old grandmother would be able to get to the side of the patient without a wheelchair ramp and somebody to push her up the ramp.

What a shame and embarssment to not have been able to save this mans life.

I agree, Melvin. The medics were canceled each time they responded, so this is not the fault of the medics.

These EMT should be disciplined and or fired.

I think I have already established that you do not understand what you are commenting about.

The medical director reviewed this call.

The medical director found a lot of problems with the way the 911 calls were handled.

The medical director did not blame the medics for these problems.

Unlike these comments, there is a more reasonable comment. Sandra writes the following comment.

I, cannot believe that this man have lost his life after making all these calls for help and then with so many days that it took.

The medics did call for help. Each time they were stuck. Each time they were canceled. If they had not been canceled, Curtis Mitchel would have been transported. This may have required the Public Safety Director to divert a snow plow, or a supervisor, to transport the patient in a 4 wheel drive truck, but Curtis Mitchell would have arrived at the hospital.

I, also agree with Mr. Melvin it is a shame that Mr. Curtis could not get the help that he needed and these people need to be disciplined and a lawsuit needs to be filed.

I also agree that those at fault need to be held accountable. You use the term, these people. I think that the people you need to look at are those trying to blame the medics.

The medical director’s report makes it clear that the medics are not at fault.

My heart goes out to his girlfriend Sharon Edge. I, hope that this do not get swept under the table.

I agree.

Curtis Mitchell should not have died. I do not know what the cause of death was. I am assuming that the cause of death was something that would have been successfully treated in the hospital.

Sharon Edge should not have had to deal with his death.

People are trying to sweep this under the rug by blaming the medics.

The medics are the only people who have been cleared by any investigation.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss had the results of that investigation, but still made his ridiculous claim that this was all the fault of the medics. Why is Public Safety Director Michael Huss providing false information?

Podcasting on the death of Curtis Mitchell:

From Mitigation Journal

EMS Under the Bus in Pittsburgh – 02/28/10

And in the Mitigation Journal podcast –

MJ156: Winter Storms: Interview with Mr. Richard Brooks, Director Cecil County MD, Emergency Services – 02/23/10

From the MedicCast

Snow Storm 2010 Response and Episode 208 of the MedicCast – 02/28/10

From the EMS Garage

Up to My Pips: EMS Garage Episode 75 – 03/02/10

Writing on the death of Curtis Mitchell:

From Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire

Trouble Right Here In Three River City – 02/19/10

Comment From Someone In Pittsburgh – 02/20/10

More From Pittsburgh – 02/23/10

Update On The Pittsburgh Story – 02/28/10

And Then I Realized… – 03/01/10

Fertilizer – 03/22/10

Human Sacrifice – 3/24/10

The Tapes Don’t Lie, But People Do – 3/29/10

The Drama Continues In Pittsburgh – 5/12/10

Let The Scapegoating Begin – 01/06/11

Common Sense Prevails – 02/15/11

From David Konig

EMS Blog Rounds Edition 32 – 03/09/10

Why You Need A Social Media Presence: The Case Of Pittsburgh EMS – 02/22/10

Yes Mary, It Is A Transportation System – 02/19/10

From 9-ECHO-1

Pittsburgh…my take on it – 02/23/10

Still Don’t Make It Right… – 03/20/10

From A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver

As usual the truth is somewhere between the extremes – 02/20/10

From Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

The Power of Saying “I’m Sorry”. – 02/21/10

Medic’s Perspective on Mitchell Case. – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt. – 02/23/10

The View from Foggy Goggle. – 02/25/10

I have also written about this here –

City may discipline EMS workers – Public Safety Director Michael Huss – 02/18/10

Where Was Public Safety Director Michael Huss during the Death of Curtis Mitchell? – 02/20/10

Public Safety Director Michael Huss and Others Continue to Blame the Medics for the Snow – 02/22/10

The Need for Evidence Before Assessing Guilt – 02/24/10

Anonymous Comments on the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 03/02/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part I – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part II – 03/22/10

Podcasting, Critical Judgment, and the Death of Curtis Mitchell Part III – 03/22/10

What kind of punishment do you get for NOT disobeying dispatch? – 03/23/10

The Scapegoats Will Be Punished – 03/23/10

Pittsburgh – Punishment, not Planning – 03/24/10

Josie Dimon was the Scapegoat of Public Safety Director Michael Huss in the Death of Curtis Mitchell – 02/16/11

Michael Huss – Pittsburgh EMS Only Needs Someone Good With a Shovel – 02/16/11

Links updated 02/16/11.

Footnotes:


[1] 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

.