A Question About Violence

I have been giving some thought to the recent events in Springfield involving an ambulance being struck by bullets, and a rather real looking BB gun being pulled on a tech in the back of an ambulance.  That, along with the law passed this year in Delaware got me thinking, and i figured I would pose a question of the readers.

If an EMT or paramedic is assaulted, where should the responsibility of filing charges fall?  Should services have a zero tolerance policy regarding violence against their employees?  Should they be encouraged to strongly advocate for their employees with law enforcement and encourage their people to file charges, assisting them along the way?  Or should they take a hands off approach and leave the decision and procedure of pressing charges to their individual employee?

So, what do you think?


  1. Just me /

    Scott (@MedicSBK)
    2013/08/26 11:57 PM
    Let’s start a discussion.. A Question About Violence only at medicsbk.com #CoEMS medicsbk.com/2013/08/26/a-q…

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    A good question. I have been working for a company for four years and they just don’t worry about their staff. I have been verbally assaulted by them for caring about my staff members that’s been working under me as I attend to keep them safe. Why should we as paramedic go to scenes where it’s not safe. This is in our bloods I love a little bit of adrenaline sometimes but have always been safe. I have been hijacked ones on my way back home from a case and was assaulted by the hijackers. The bosses did not even ones phone to make sure that we were safe and still turns around and blame you for what happened.


  2. Carl Viera /

    Unfortunately when it comes to this area, the method of filing charges is highly dependent upon Beacon Hill (or the state equivalent). In Massachusetts, unless several laws were changed, the responsibility would have to lie with the providers themselves. At least in Massachusetts, a complaint for simple assault (i.e. lacking a dangerous weapon) must be initiated by the victim and a police officer cannot make a warrantless arrest unless they were a direct witness. In my opinion, employees should be encouraged to pursue charges if they feel it is necessary. Employers should be required to provide the resources in order to pursue charges (i.e. contact information for the D.A., etc) and should also be forbidden from interfering with the legal process in any way. However, the services should adopt a zero tolerance policy if a violent patient damages any piece of their equipment in the process of a violent act.
    Just my $.02. Hope all is well

  3. Bob Sullivan /

    This came up in JEMS Connect discussion. I don’t like zero-tolerance policies about anything, but think that a culture should be in place that encourages pressing charges. Patients who assault medics and get away with it will likely do it again. I actually did press charges on an overdose patient who punched me shortly after this discussion came out. They ended up being dropped, but the red tape to do it was not as bad as I thought it would be.


  4. To your questions.

    1) Yes

    2) Yes

    3) No

    Earlier this month I heard Chief Kirkwood say (I am paraphrasing) “An assault on a paramedic should be taken just as seriously as an assault on a police officer. The effort to investigate by police and file charges by the district attorney should be just as vigorous for a paramedic.”