Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You can lead a horse to water...

Millstone, NJ is having emergency service problems.

Millstone, NJ has a first aid squad. They also have a fire department. According to an article in the Examiner of Allentown, NJ, they don't work together.

It appears that first aid squad members respond from home some of the time. Firefighters sit in the station, able to respond, but can't.

Even more absurdly, it appears that when the Millstone First Aid Squad is on a call, another Monmouth County, NJ mutual aid squad responds to Millstone...while the firefighters still sit in the station.

Here are some killer quotes from the article:

Millstone Committeeman Ramin Dilfanian in reference to the First Aid Squad and Fire Department:
"I can lead the horse to water, but I can't make it drink," he said. "I can get the groups together, but I can't make them cooperate and work together."

and in the "I'm glad its not my heart category.."
First aid squad member Tina Mitchell said the first aid squad currently does not need the help of the firefighters and that the squad's response times are in line with the mutual aid system in Monmouth County.

So, Tina, what you are saying is that it could be faster if the FD responded but since we're in line with the county, the extra minutes a loved one spends in cardiac arrest is OK.

No, wait! The First Aid Squad has now decided the fire department can respond to cardiac arrests and unresponsive people.
At the fire commissioners' monthly board meeting June 11, first aid squad Capt. Bob Trifiro attended to discuss the first-responder issue. Trifiro told the firefighters that they could respond to emergency medical calls involving unconscious victims and to calls during which cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is already in progress.
I'm sorry if that doesn't leave me teary-eyed with the spirit of cooperation. Its not enough.

But what about the breathing difficulty patients, the patients with anaphylaxis, those with chest pain that haven't yet died? At least death finally invokes the First Aid Squad's blessing for the FD to respond.

There is a fable about a dog walking over a bridge with flesh in his mouth. He looks into the water and sees another dog with a bigger piece of flesh. He opens his mouth to grab the other dog's meat and loses his into the water--his greed costs him everything.

If I lived in Millstone, NJ and I had to wait even two extra minutes when EMT trained firefighters were there to respond sooner--or if an out of town squad had to respond in while firefighters were there to respond much sooner I'd be livid. Litigiously livid.

Like the dog with the flesh, some squads turn down help when they need it out of a sense of pride, threat--or greed. This leads to the demise of a squad faster than if they took the help and built the team that best served the citizens.

Plus--it is never wrong to do what is best for the patient.

1 comment:

Moonshadow said...

Very interesting post ... and I don't know enough about the relationship to defend the first aid squad. Their building is closer and they've been here twice ... for me ... through 911, most recently almost a year ago.

MONOC responded too, but the state police were first on the scene, within minutes.