Bureaucratic Endangerment

You’re a firefighter. You have dedicated your life to saving lives and helping the citizens of your community. You arrive at a location where a little child is in medical distress. The nearest ambulance is 10-15 minutes away.

What do you do?

Do you grab the kid and transport her in your fire engine to the nearest hospital, or do you say, “Hmmmmmm…. My fire engine doesn’t have the proper restrains and medications to transport a sick child to a nearby hospital. I should wait for the ambulance to arrive and watch her maybe DIE!” and do nothing?

Two Virginia firefighters were suspended recently after making the decision to help the little girl.

Captain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom of the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg were the first to respond to a call of a child having a seizure at an undisclosed location near a McDonald’s and took her to a nearby hospital, according to Fox 5 DC.


Kelley explained to Fox 5 DC Saturday he told the driver to turn the fire engine on because the child was in desperate need of medical care and the nearest ambulance was about 10 to 15 minutes away. He said when he asked where the nearest medic was, he received vague responses.

Regulations. Paperwork. Licenses. Bureaucratic certifications.

Where’s the common sense?

15 responses

  1. So if a parent drove his own child to the hospital in a “non-transport” licensed POV without “proper restrains and medications,” would he be charged with child endangerrment in Virginia?

    Here’s hoping the Stafford County F&R chief needs transport one day, and his folks say, “Sorry, boss. Guess you better pray the ambulance gets here before you croak.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lemme see if I have this right: a VOLUNTEER firefighter decides a child needs to be in an emergency room, hooks the kid up on O2, transports the kid, maybe SAVES the child’s life, and gets a two-day SUSPENSION for using his brain instead of following a protocol that endangers a life…is that about it?

    Over-regulation costs money, lives, but mostly it costs respect from those who serve and from those who are served.

    Some little power starved bureaucrat needs to have his/her ass kicked down three or four city blocks on this one.

    Oh, wait…I forgot: “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.”

    Right…tell that to a frightened parent….or a dead kid.


    1. Bureaucracy doesn’t allow brain. Now back in your box, citizen.


  3. I would have to say that it was worth it, and the parents should step in and stop this crap. It is time for all of us to say no more stupidity from bureaucrats with no concern for any thing except their own fiefdoms and maintaining their own power.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sort of thing is nothing new to volunteer or paid departments. I’ve seen it a couple times in my 15 years in Emergency Medicine and it always ends the same way. The firefighters who think get the turd end of the stick.

    It almost always seems volunteer departments are run by little Napoleons more interested in pissing in other peoples Wheaties than actually caring for the people they are there to protect.

    Eventually the little Napoleon will need to call 911 himself. It’ed be a shame if it took the department forever to respond because they followed every letter of the rule book…


  5. Emergency responders can live with their conscience, if the only loss was dealing with bureaucrats, instead of life.

    Bureaucrats can live with their conscience, if the only loss is dealing with fired firefighters, instead of being chastised by a superior.

    Somehow, the importance of life is lost in the bureaucracy, and the demand for the correction of this problem is lost in the bureaucratic paperwork. Answers are forthcoming, upon completion of the proper forms.


  6. Lets see if I got this right, I can drive a soft top HUMVEE 65mph down I-95 with NO overhead protection except my Kevlar helmet (quit laughing) and it’s deemed safe but a fire engine with enough reinforced steel, lights, strobes, horns and sirens that could light up Studio 51 isn’t?


  7. So as a paramedic, I feel the need to chime in here. They mention that the child was having a seizure. Unless it was status seizure, the childs life was NOT in danger, and did not “desperately need medical attention”. The child did need medical attention, but to wait for an ambulance for 10-15 minutes in a post seizure child is certainly not life threatening. There is way too little information in this article to make a judgement. However, as firefighters, they should know the difference between ‘a’ seizure and ‘status seizure’. Armchair quarterbacking at it’s absolute worst here.


    1. I do trust what the firefighters said. I can’t imagine a Captain would just randomly shove a kid in a fire engine if he felt her life wasn’t in danger. I have no idea what a “status seizure” is, and that’s why I would rely on their judgment, so if the firefighters felt the situation was acute enough to warrant it, isn’t it possible that was the case?


    2. That’s still a bullshit attempt to justify delaying medical care. If you tried to use that if my kid needed medical treatment, you’d have a gun in your face.


    3. When she was about 9 or 10 years old, her parents discovered that my grand daughter had epilepsy. She was walking to the school bus, had a seizure, and fell down on the side of the road. Someone saw her and stopped and helped. Notwithstanding a boatload of testing and very careful medication, she still had a three to five minute grand mal seizure about every 4 to 8 weeks. She did not know they were coming. After the seizure she did not remember that it happened; she was exhausted and needed to sleep. According to several long-duration EEG tests, she was having multiple small seizures every day. About 8-9 months ago, she had a VNS device implanted. Since then, she has had one seizure. It happened on the day that she forgot to take her medication. I looked up status seizure. Her seizures were not like that.

      I don’t know the situation in Virginia but I think that it is bullshit to suspend a guy who made a decision on the spot when it ended up with a transported patient and no one was hurt. I’m a lot tired of lawyers deciding what constitutes good health care and too much liability and a lot of other crap that happens in our otherwise really-nice country.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The awful, overriding issue here is that we (the people) let courts mandate, or make necessary, protocols like this because we sat silent and let them get away with it.

        I live in a western city that was the go-to place for libs in the last two decades, and they brought their politics with them. Every last mistake California, New York, Illinois made in the last fifty years was transmigrated here, but faster, more intensely…same BS as in VA.

        We were doing fine without them, most people took proper initiative, took care of biz, like the VOLUNTEER firefighters who listened to themselves, their training.


  8. This sounds like a case of some small-minded idiot following regulations instead of being flexible and doing the right thing. Fire trucks are not set up to transport patients, but they are often first on the scene because they are staffed with EMT or Paramedic level responders, and they have the necessary medical supplies. If a kid was having a prolonged seizure (status epilepticus) it can certainly cause respiratory distress and permanent brain damage, and it would be a good decision to transport immediately to the hospital where medications could be administered to stop the seizure.
    There have been cases of people falling or having heart attacks in hospital parking lots, and not being aided by ER personnel because the rules were that ambulance personnel were needed to transport them the few feet into the ER.
    In the immortal words of the race hustler Spike Lee, “Do the right thing!”


  9. Bureaucrats suck!!! Kudos to the firefighters for doing the RIGHT thing! Piss on the paperwork!


  10. I’ll bet you a PB&J sammich that the firefighters have no regrets.


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