While reading up on EMS blogs today I came across this link over at Burned Out Medic:
It links to a story written in a magazine called the “Cath Lab Digest” penned by a “Lead RN” with a bunch of certainly impressive sounding gobbledygook after her name. She writes the story of her outrage and subsequent fight against a traffic ticket she received while responding from home to a cath lab activation at her hospital.
Her story is written in her article, which can be found here: http://www.cathlabdigest.com/articles/My-Day-Court
Here’s the reply that I left her:
I read this and saw the “I’m Special” mentality breaking through all over this piece.
You indicate that by virtue of your job and your training:
- You’re so special your cath lab team cannot handle their job without your leadership, even for up to 12 minutes.
- You’re so special that your objective and destination are more important than the objectives and destination of everyone else on the public roadways.
- You’re so special that the law should not apply to you.
- You’re so special that the other healthcare providers on-duty at the time you are called in cannot possibly be taking care of the patient as well as you can.
- You feel cool being called in and being allowed to drive any way you want.
The officer who stopped and ticketed you disagreed with all of the above. I do as well.
In many states, volunteer fire and emergency medical services personnel are allowed to operate their personal vehicles with emergency lights and sirens when responding to emergency situations. This is because the situations they respond to are extremely time sensitive, requiring professional action within 5 to 10 minutes in some cases in order to mitigate the consequences of the emergency. These calls are usually in the hands of lay persons until the professionals arrive.
Your “emergencies” are time sensitive as well. The AHA recommends a 90 minute window from recognition of STEMI to Cardiac Catheterization. The patient is in the hands of trained people from the time of recognition. There is a huge difference in these standards that does not warrant the risk to the rest of the public for nurses driving in an emergency fashion… especially self-appointed “special” nurses.
I would think that the minutes could be saved in earlier recognition of the STEMI, field activation of the Cath Lab team, earlier notification by the hospital, and perhaps having more qualified people on duty around the clock. This would certainly pay for itself the first time the hospital was liable for you killing someone or being killed yourself while enroute to a page.
I’m sorry if I was perhaps a bit hard on you… but this comment goes out to the rest of the “special” people out there. Obey the law and be safe. Don’t kill me or my family because you believe yourself to be special.
Was I too harsh?