“Two Virginia volunteer firefighters were suspended for transporting an 18-month-old girl to the hospital in a fire engine last Saturday, ultimately saving her life.” When the girl had a seizure, the two were first to respond and took her to a Fredericksburg hospital. “[Captain James] Kelley said they were suspended because their fire engine is licensed as a ‘non-transport unit’ and doesn’t have the proper restraints and medications that an ambulance would have. He said when this kind of thing happens firefighters are praised, but then disciplined.” [FoxNews]
“You hired me to reform EMS in the District of Columbia…” Amazing resignation letter sent to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser [Jullette Saussy]
Fire unions have secured laws requiring that firefighting units be deployed to mishaps at which there is no fire risk [Coyote]
…but counsel for the Maryland State Medical Society told a panel in Annapolis that doctors fear liability should they prescribe it. In recent years police and first responders have increasingly been trained in the use of the emergency drug Naloxone, which counteracts overdoses from heroin and opiates, and a proposed bill would allow physicians to prescribe the substance to users, family members, and others who might intervene in case of an overdose. [Rebecca Lessner, Maryland Reporter]
George Tolley, representing the Maryland Association of Justice, a trial lawyers group, asked that the immunity provision be taken out of the bill, over a concern that it would have “a domino effect” and could impact people administering other emergency drugs, such as for epilepsy and diabetes.
“If (doctors) exercise reasonable care, then they cannot be sued,” Tolley said.
Bill Sponsor Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, D-Baltimore County, responded “That’s the crux of this whole bill.”
“A Colorado man, despite acknowledging that he’s lucky to be alive after being trapped in a submerged car, has filed an intent to sue his rescuers for half a million dollars.” Roy Ortiz says “he needs help paying medical bills,” and his attorney Ed Ferszt adds, perhaps not entirely helpfully, “It’s unfortunate to have to try and cast liability and responsibility for this act of God on the men and women who risked their own lives.” [ABC, CBS Denver, The Denver Channel, Broomfield Enterprise]
- Defense medico-legal expert sees 1,000+ cases a year, testimony infuriates NYC judge [Eric Turkewitz: first, second, third, overview posts]
- More commentary on Supreme Court’s generic drug pre-emption case, Mutual v. Bartlett [James Beck, more, Michael Krauss, earlier]
- New JAMA paper, “The Looming Threat of Liability for Accountable Care Organizations and What to Do About It” [Bill of Health]
- “Obamacare and Activist State Courts Drive Up Health Plan Costs” [Hans Bader, CEI “Open Market”]
- New York: emergency medical technicians protected by sovereign immunity principles [Alex Stein, Bill of Health]
- “A New FDA for the Age of Personalized, Molecular Medicine” [Peter Huber, Manhattan Institute via Alex Tabarrok]
- From an unexpected source? Left-leaning Center for American Progress publishes report on reducing cost of defensive medicine by Ezekiel Emanuel et al. Meanwhile, trial lawyers trumpet study of veterans’ hospitals they say undercuts defensive medicine case [client-recruitment site AboutLawsuits.com] And in the UK: “13,000 died needlessly at 14 worst NHS trusts” [Telegraph]
EPA-mandated diesel-engine governor shuts down ambulance carrying patient in cardiac arrest to emergency room. [WTTG; Washington, D.C.] The D.C. fire union says emissions-control engine governors, the result of an EPA mandate, have shut down rescue vehicles during missions at least three times since August. Following strenuous protests from rescue squads around the country, EPA last May waived the application of the rules for fire trucks and ambulances, but D.C. is apparently stuck with vehicles acquired before the waiver.
After all, what if something should go wrong? Following a resident’s death, a California senior facility defends its “protocol” of ordering nurses to stand by for rescue personnel rather than perform CPR themselves [L.A. Times]
More: Plenty of pushback from readers, including warnings that CPR is not necessarily an appropriate or desired intervention in the resident’s situation, even in an independent-living arrangement in the absence of a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. The resident’s family has expressed satisfaction with the senior facility’s actions and says it has no plans to sue. More: ABA Journal, White Coat.
“The family of a man shot and killed by his neighbor in Skagit County can proceed to trial on claims that the county’s emergency communications center mishandled its response to his panicked 911 call, Washington’s Supreme Court ruled.” According to his family, a 911 operator told William Munich that help was on the way but did not code the call as an emergency; a sheriff’s deputy showed up 18 minutes later, by which time Munich had been shot by the irate neighbor. “I am concerned the majority’s decision will put unwarranted pressure on every statement made by 911 operators, straining communications that depend on the free flow of information,” wrote dissenting Justice James Johnson. [KOMO; Munich (Gayle) v. Skagit Emergency Communications Center, holding, dissent (wrong link fixed now); background on Washington’s unusual approach to sovereign immunity]
P.S. Another Washington sovereign liability case of interest: Robb v. City of Seattle, “Whether the city of Seattle may be liable in an action for wrongful death brought by the survivor of a murder victim based on the failure of police to confiscate ammunition while detaining the murderer for questioning just before the murder occurred.” [Temple of Justice]
The director of Orange County, N.C. emergency services had terminated the squad following complaints of unprofessionalism from other emergency responders, and it proceeded to sue. “The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claimed to be a class-action lawsuit for all the citizens of Orange County and those who transit through Orange County, but U.S. District Judge William J. Osteen Jr. wrote in his opinion that the rescue squad lacked standing to bring a class action lawsuit.” [Herald-Sun; background, Daily Tar Heel]