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  • fellow officer needs your input

    I have an issue. What are your thoughts on the public bypassing the ambulance and taking their family to the hospital during an emergency situation themselves? How do you handle this?
    This is what happened to me. I had a car doing 20 mph over posted speed limit fail to stop for me today. I followed him approx 5 miles at times 30 mph over speed limit and he was driving quite recklessly. He would not stop. I followed him to the hospital where he was taking his wife who was having a heart attack. I didnt ticket him, but I reamed him out about endangering himself, his wife and the public after his wife was taken into the hospital.

    I told my wife about this and she thinks Iam not compasionate and she said she would have done the same thing and not waited for EMS.

    In the 14 years as a police officer I have always handled this sort of situation this way. I dont think an *** reaming is wrong. What do you think?

  • #2
    Well, I tend to disagree with driving loved ones to the hospital during a life threatening emergency, but I dont know if I would have reamed the guy to bad. After all, the guys wife was having a heart attack. If it had been me, I probably would have said something along the lines of "Officer, I know your just doing your job, but leave me the F*** alone while I tend to the needs of my dying wife!"

    Now with that said, I dont think skipping EMS is a good idea. Here's why. After the first eight minutes of a heart attack the patients chances of survival start decreasing without advanced life support such as immediate CPR, the possible use of automated external defibrilation, and nitro, if the patient isn't on it already. Then there is the possibility of shock. Considering all that, I would rather wait for EMS, unless I lived close to the hospital

    You also have to consider the safety factor, with EMS you have trained professionals (yes Frank, I said professionals, meaning the participation in a profession) driving an emergency vehicle, in a safe manner, not Joe Schmoe in a Honda.

    [ 07-08-2002: Message edited by: SpecOpsWarrior ]


    • #3
      I can see both sides of the issue. In my case the hospital is 20 minutes away. If I called an ambulance, it would be at least an extra 15 minute wait assuming that they could find my house fairly easily,which I doubt.

      So, that basically doubles the time in which the patient recives medical care.

      In heart attacks, minutes can make the difference. I agree about the extended medical care with the AED and adrenaline, but you have to admit that 15 minutes is a long time to wait when your spouse could be dieing. Rather than wait and feel totally helpless, I think Id have to give it a try.

      If I had a choice of driving like crazy and saving the life of my wife or taking an *** eating by a cop ,take a guess which one I'd pick...
      "The American People will never knowingly adopt Socialism. Under the name of "liberalism" they will adopt every segment of the socialist program,until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened."

      Norman Thomas


      • #4
        I guess I am kinda torn in both ways about this. I have rushed a person to the hospital before becuase too far away for a ambalance to make it there in a reasonable time. While i did not brake any land speed records I was able to get to the hospital in a timely and a safe manner. I guess that is where years of pursuit driving have paid off. Now if I was put in the situation again I probally would do it again but in the area I am in now a rescue squad is a couple blocks away so I would rely on them and their life support skills. I guess it is gonna be a matter of time and the situation to determine what I would do in that case. Heck I may even drive to the nearest fire station to have the trained medics take it from there.

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        • #5
          I've been on both sides...

          18 years ago, when my wife went into labor, we were 2 hours from the hospital. 2 HOURS. I didn't think twice about 'rushing her' to the hospital. The interstate speed limit was 55 mph then. IIRC, I never exceeded 75 mph...and NEVER saw a cop. 3 hours later, I had a beautiful baby daughter.

          One thing that HAS to be considered, though, is the emotional state of the DRIVER.

          While it MAY be the best intent of the loved one driving, the emotions involved WILL have a play in their driving skills...whereas the EMS driver will be, for lack of a better word....detached from the situation, and better able to cope with the driving responsibilities.
          "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
          -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division


          • #6
            I've done the same put my son in the car and took him to the hospital. What I used to do if I found them speeding and they said they were on their way to the hospital I'd find out which one and give them an escort. Never reemed anyone out however.
            Stay safe and watch your back. Survived Katrina. Now a Official member of the Chocolate City Police.


            • #7
              We are not allowed to give escorts... As for the question at hand, I don't normally ticket, but if the subject being transported was NOT in a life threatening situation, I may. There is no need to risk everyone on the road by driving like a nut, when an ambulance could be used.


              • #8
                I've given escorts & been given one. But it was very difficult to keep the other driver in control. I would usually stop them & check on the patient's condition, advise them of what route we were taking, & remind them to drive safely. One woman I couldn't get to stop & she was in a panic & outrunning me. She drove into a major intersection & t-boned another car. Now I've got a major accident & can call a med unit for the patient AND other occupants.

                When my son cut the end of his finger off my wife called & had the dispatcher send me home. The dispatcher didn't tell me what for but told other units who set up on all the major intersections between my house & the hospital. I had an uninterrupted run straight to ER. It sure was appreciated.

                We don't run escorts anymore but will block intersections if we can.


                • #9
                  I can see both sides of this too. In my opinion , maybe the driver should wait on the Ambulance , because family members emotional state will be dramitcally increased due to teh circumstances.

                  But there are times when you cant afford to wait , and i understand that too! I wouldnt have ticketed this guy for that , but wouldve probably did the same thing you did!

                  But also think if it were you or me driving our family member to the hosp. I agree with spec ops on that , I'd have maybe threw my license to the policeman and said " do what you have to , I'll be in here with my family if you need me ." I my self also am a policeman so that is just my opinion
                  We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

                  Nelson Mandela


                  • #10
                    I had to rush my son to the hospital when he caught his hand in the car door. Two things I remember. One was being scared out of my mind and the other was watching my son going into shock from the pain. AS I urnd to go to the hospital, I saw an EMS unit stopped at a convenience and stopped and got them. It did not occur to me to call EMS or police because I didn't think a hand caught in the door was a life threatening emergency. But he was onkly 3 and the pain definitley sent him into shock. They got him in the truck, on IV's and to the hospital quickly.
                    But, if someone were having a heart attack, I would call EMS. If it happend in the car while driving, I'd rush to the hospital and try to remain calm, stopping if I saw a police officer or EMS unit.
                    And shooter, you were lucky. MY friend and her husband made it to the hospital FIFTEEN minutes before their beautiful baby girl was born!


                    • #11
                      I like Shooter's angle...emotional state! This goes for anytime you get behind the wheel, but doubles whenever you add to the mix an emergency.

                      If it's a life or death emergency, I don't know of too many cars equipped with ALS equipment or the staffing to handle it. If it's something that needs to be handled, but there is no risk of immediate death, then go ahead and drive, in a reasonable and prudent manner to the hospital.

                      Conditions and circumstances also dictate. There's a big difference between someone in a very populated area and someone in the sticks. The cities will have a better response time.

                      One more thing to consider. In most areas (we're one), FD's do more medical runs than fire runs. Chances are the trucks will get to you, with BLS and staff, before an ambulance. I'd put my life in the hands of our county's EMT/P's any day!


                      • #12
                        Well, if this guy's wife started having a heart attack while they were driving and perhaps he didn't have a cell phone.. then yes I understand and support him driving her to the hospital if it was in a reasonable distance. However in most cases, it is more prudent and safer to wait for an ambulance. Even if it takes longer to get to the hospital, the patient is still receiving treatment from trained personnel and if serious enough, the paramedics receive instruction from the doctor on duy at the hospital and can administer the same drugs doctors do.
                        No partner is worth your tears -
                        the one that is won't make you cry. - Anonymous

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                        • #13
                          My concern is the guy failed to stop for the police officer. This is extremely dangerous and could have resulted in a felony stop...forcing him off the road, etc.

                          He should have stopped for the officer.....if the man was driving who was able to admin first aid should the victin meed it?

                          At the least I would have ticketed the man.

                          And Inspgadget, ask your wife who would have had compassion for someone that the driver could have killed by driving this way.
                          "Speed is fine, but accuracy is final"--Bill Jordan


                          • #14
                            I'm not a LEO, but if I was one, I would probably ticket him for failure to yield. It may not sound very compassionate, but when you are lit up by an officer you need to stop. How does the officer know that the guy driving isn't a felon, or has just kidnapped the woman who is crying and screaming in the back seat? Like someone else said, when he got to the hospital a felony stop would have to be done. Just because your wife is having medical problems, doesn't mean that you can totally ignore the police, and risk the lives of all the other motorists.
                            "True mean GREEN!"


                            • #15
                              I probably would try to stop the vehicle, and failing them stopping, I would have been on their tail right to the hospital. From there, I would have to see if the situation was an actual medical run, then whether or not it was life-threatening or not. If not life-threatening, then MAYBE a ticket, but if life-threatening, NO ticket. At a minimum, I would want to speak to the driver about the risk she/he just put themselves, the ill person, me and the rest of the public in, and dependent on their attitude decide whether the talk was sufficient or if the driver needed to speak to a Judge about their poor judgement.

                              2 weeks ago I stopped and charged a woman for speeding - she was taking her father to another city for a hospital appointment; he was in no immediate danger of death, they were just running late for the appointment. I served her the ticket and reminded her that it was better to slow down, remain calm and ensure that they BOTH made it there safely.
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