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Feb. 14th, 2005

I rely on the 163/164 bus to and from the Port Authority for my access to NYC. In fact, it is the largest portion of my commute. Tonight I was annoyed... disturbed... enraged - yeah, that's the right word - by my experience.

This evening, I ran up the stairs, and was greeted with they typically LONG line waiting for this local bus. Fine. I jogged into line, and caught my breath.

I happened to notice, though, that there was something going on just ahead of where I was standing. Apparently, a middle aged - elderly woman had fallen and was bleeding from the face/head.

I'm a NY/NJ/Nationally Certified Emergency Medical Technician -B. Upon seeing this, I jumped out of line and tried to offer help.

The Port Authority worker - I'm not sure of what title/role she has - who was present, would not allow me to assist in helping this woman!

At the very least, I could have provided a more in depth assesment of the womans injuries than the average bystander - she had clearly been on the floor prior to my arrival, and was still there when I left. A PD officer arrived as our bus left, but I'm confident any EMS attention was going to be delayed. - NOT the fault of the NY PD or FDNY!

Although there may have been relatively little I could have done on my own without equipment, an informed, detailed assement provided to the EMS over the radio could better prepare for the treatment of the patient. Maybe this woman just cut herself on the face in the fall - fine. no big deal. BUT, maybe she had a skull fracture in the fall, or had a stroke - which led to the fall - I'll never know, but if allowed to examine her, I may have been able to provide useful info. Instead, she had to sit face down on the dirty Port Authority floor until someone arrived - I hope...

And, what if her injuries were not so obvious at first? No attempt was made to stabilize the womans neck - she clearly sustained a head/neck injury, and is obviously frail - she had a cane with her - broken bones would be an obvious concern here, I'd think!

Hopefully, all is well with her. It just angers me that I now know that this is the standard of care I can expect if I slip, fall, an smash my head in the PA Bus Terminal... Does your brain have to ooze out of your nose in order to get you any real attention???!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
mcfnord
Feb. 15th, 2005 04:32 am (UTC)
politics sometimes suck. but nobody died.
blaneyphoto
Feb. 15th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC)
nobody died... that we know of...
Yeah, I know.

I'm sure it was a "policy" thing - but this is MY place to rant! I hate not being allowed to help when I can.

And I can absolutely say that just because you don't see them die, doesn't mean they won't. Its not always the obvious injuries that kill patients... And whats worse, sometimes they refuse to go the the hospital - and die as a result. It's a depressing but completely common occurance...
mcfnord
Feb. 15th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
One would think the Authority would authorize people presenting proper identification to provide emergency services. But then again, what if you get injured? You are not on the clock, and are not insured in a professional capacity. How complicated it all is.
blaneyphoto
Feb. 15th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC)
I carry more cards that attest to my training than I do to buy credit/subway rides/rent movies/etc - yet nobody asked for those. There's also a really fun maze of Good Samaritan laws and Obligation to Act Laws that one has to balance - on top of keeping the rules straight for two states! All in all, I'd rather act and get sued than do nothing - not much I could do in this case though.

All I was hoping to do is help the woman, and I really do put myself in the patients place when I'm either going on a call or randomly helping like this - I'd rather have some one help!

Oh well - thanks for letting me vent. I just hope she turns out ok!
madamebovary
Feb. 15th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC)
This reminds me of an article i read in the sunday times about a man who was hit by a car. the sherriff thought he was dead, and the doctor who arrived on the scene said "that's good enough for me." so they put him in the morgue at almost freezing temperatures. They later realized that he was actually kind of alive, and he's in the hospital now.

I find it so petty that everyone is so afraid of being sued that they won't let people even help anymore. What a horrible state of mind to be in!
greenquotebook
Feb. 15th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, their fears of litigation are well-founded. When I was single and childless, I might have stepped in to help, but now that I have a son to care for, I don't think I'd risk my home to help a stranger... and that's exactly what you're doing when you try to help someone in an "unofficial" capacity.

Still, I admire blaneyphoto for wanting to help and I think the PAPD were foolish for stopping him from at least evaluating the situation.
sbgrl
Feb. 15th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
That's totally crazy. Any thoughts on writing them a letter about how poorly the situation was handled? I know it's more powerful to come from the person who sustained the injury and was not seen to properly for quite some time it seems, but still.

Just crazy.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )