Be Safe Out There

Many of us in the EMS community were shocked this morning when we woke up and read the News Headline about the Bucks County, PA Paramedic who was killed by a Psych Patient he was chasing after. I found out about it from my new friends on Twitter. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children who are now left fatherless.

So I went to work today, just like any other day, in my mid-sized far-from-safe American City. It was quite the typical day for the most part: MVA’s, a nice mix of medical, trauma and behavioral calls, busy ERs.. I’m sure many of you know how it goes. But one call stood out to me as soon as I was advised about it.

One of my crews had responded to an address for an unknown, which turned out to be a suicidal male. When they arrived, they found a rather irate man in a domestic dispute with is girlfriend. He had taken a handful of pills in an attempt to harm himself. When one of my medics advised him that he had lost any option by his actions of staying at home, and was going to have to take a ride to the ER, he got even more upset, and pulled a knife on my crew.

Somehow, the two Medics were able to get it away from him. At this point, they called on the air, and requested that the police department expedite their response. That is when I found out about it. They then stated that the patient was fleeing the scene, and gave out his description. The scenario played over in my head, based on what I had read earlier in the morning. What was going to happen next? My first concern was the safety of my Medics, and making sure they stay safe.

I arrived on scene moments before the police department, thankfully to find both medics standing on the front step of the patient’s apartment building, both unharmed. They showed me his weapon of choice: a kitchen knife with a half broken off handle. The patient’s girlfriend then pointed out that he was returning to the scene, and to make a long story short, with the help of the two police officers, we were able to subdue, restrain, and transport the patient to the hospital.

This call really made me think after what I had read this morning, and was a reminder that we must all look out for each other, because a tragedy like the one in Bucks County could happen anywhere. This one though, would go down as nothing very noteworthy, and eventually just fade off into one of about 200 or so calls in the day.

I spent some time after the call with the two medics, who both had very quickly moved past the situation, and reinforced the risks, and dangers that we face out there. I’m sure they both knew exactly what I was talking about, and had heard it before, but lets face it, it had to be said. Scene safety can NEVER be stressed enough, and we must always be on our guard.

So do me a favor, everyone.. Stay safe out there!

  • jeramedic

    what happened in PA was a huge tragedy. And from the look of things, we were lucky to not have had another. This is a harsh reminder about how hazardous this career can be. We must all take care, on any call. Because things can change in half a sec. "scene safety, BSI" are not just magic words to pass a test with.

    A very thought conjuring post.
    Stay safe out there my friend.

  • msparamedic

    I can't stress scene safety enough to ANYONE who will listen to me… I've been stabbed by a patient on a psych/drug call (I was a wee P student then) and never truly thought about my safety until that moment. What happened in PA is truly a tragedy… Thoughts go out to his young family.