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

- Rogue Medic

Man Sues Rescuers Because of Unreasonable Expectations


Who encourages these unreasonable expectations? Frequently, we do.

Jamie Davis makes some important points about how we may be able to decrease these law suits. The story begins at 7:15 of the podcast, but listen to/watch the whole podcast.

MedicCast Episode 377

There is a commercial for an insurance company that has the insurance agents magically appearing at the side of the insured person and then, just as magically, transporting the insured person away from whatever danger the person had gotten himself into.

Should we be encouraging people to expect magic?

EMS person come help!


A number of cars went into Rock Creek on Sept. 12, when Dillon Road washed out. Roy Ortiz, who was among those rescued from their vehicles, could sue emergency responders claiming they did not rescue him quickly enough. ( David R. Jennings )[1]


Should EMS have shown up, disregarded procedures that are based on what happens when rescuers rush in and end up needing to be rescued?

We cannot help if we are in need of rescuing. Other rescuers cannot help if they are busy trying to rescue us.

No plan survives first contact intact, but that does not mean that we should rush in recklessly.

What would be the expectations in your community?

If your community is like mine, the expectation is –

EMS person come help!

The document claims first responders, . . . , failed to see Ortiz was trapped in the car, and that he ended up spending two hours submerged in Rock Creek until he was rescued.

In the document, Ferszt stated Ortiz survived “by pure grace.”[1]


He blames everyone else for getting him in to trouble, but when they get him out, he does not give his rescuers any credit. He sues all of the rescuers involved. Magical thinking is something we ought to discourage.

The article does not mention whether a backboard was used appropriately as an extrication device or whether the patient remained on the extrication board and it became a magic transportation board. Our patients are not the only one who use magical thinking.

Go watch/listen to the podcast.


[1] Broomfield man rescued from Rock Creek during September floods could sue his rescuers
By Megan Quinn, Enterprise Staff Writer
Posted: 03/05/2014 11:52:53 AM MST UPDATED: 13 DAYS AGO
Denver Post



  1. This is partially why people, good people, are leaving EMS in droves, and the turnover rate in EMS is ridiculously high. I think there are three big things, although not all inclusive, that are helping this.

    1) The ridiculous standards the general public holds us to, and our leaders managers don’t do anything to inform the masses that what they want is unacceptable, and why.

    2) Better pay for what amounts to less work, even if it is a trade off of more hours/days.

    3) The ability to make a good living for a family, be able to see that family(by not working every single day of the week to make ends meet), and in general not having a ridiculous amount of both responsibility and liability for the manner in which we are compensated.