There has been a lot of discussion about this story in the media and around Blog world so I thhought I’d add my two cents in.
Ambualnce crews do a job that can involve a number of hidden dangers, which they only find out about when it is a bit too late. Many Paramedics and Ambulance Technicians (like others in the Emergency Services) are kicked, punched, spat on, verbally abused and sometimes worse. There is absolutly no need for them to go charging into a siatuation where there is a ery real and identifiable risk of them getting killed or injured: that is not what they get paid for.
They get (under)paid for being being highly trained and skilled in the art of saving lives and do their best to try and do this. They are no good dead or injured and those skills will be no use to them and of no benefit of the public.
The paramedic in Edinburgh was quite right to wait for police assistance. In this case there was a very real risk that an offender who has already stabbed one person leaving them in a critical condition is still on the scene. Nobody knows what that person would do if a paramedic or Technician were to enter the premises to start trying to save that individuals life.
The Police have the skills, training and equipment to deal with situations like this, the Ambulance service do not. Past the very basics of how to protct themselves when things unexpectedly go wrong then Ambualnce crews shouldn’t either – they are there to do one function and the polie another and together the two work brilliantly to ensure the saety of the scene and the patient gets the best treatment possible.
There are two things about this story that I have yet to see any of the media pick up on – afterall why would you want to pick up on seemingly non-important details such as these when you have a paramedic who allegedly stoodby and watched a patient die? The first of these things is why was this paramedic solo? Nobody in any of the media reports or debates on this story that I’ve read or heard has one person mentioned the inhertally increased danger a solo responder is in. They don’t have a crewmate who can watch their back – they are on their own and this is not good for the staff or the patient.
The other issue is why did it take so long for the police to get there. This was a request for assistance from the Amblance Service. They were attending the scene of a serious stabing in which a young man could have lost his life, which was the end result. The request for assistance was put in as it was still unkown as to whether the offender was still at the scene or not. To me, such a violent incident where life is at risk should be a priority and 13 minutes for the police to turn up is unacceptable.
The overwhelming majority of those from the Scottish Ambulance Service who I have met (and believe me I’ve met a fair few) have been nothing other than kind and caring individuals who do a fantastic job that comes with so many dangers. I am sure that this represents the vast majority of ambulance staff around the United Kingdom.