Pittsburgh Resident Curtis Mitchell: Killed by EMS Laziness?

Let this episode be a warning to Madison authorities. Something like this could be worse than the 911 scandale du jour a year or so ago, and the failure to de-ice John Nolen Drive and other major thoroughfares during this winter.

Say Madison gets yet another blizzard that lasts more than two days. If emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are called on to navigate drifts to rescue and take to hospital a stricken man or woman, and if they’re unable to move forward, those guys had better get their asses out of the truck and walk to the person’s house and take charge. Because Curtis Mitchell of Pittsburgh, PA did not have to die. His common-law wife called ten times to EMS over a two-day period, begging for an ambulance. But the workers claimed that they couldn’t get through the streets with the ambulance. Adding insult to injury, they are recorded asking the Mitchells to walk four blocks to their truck or they won’t get help.

Can you imagine your elderly aunt, pregnant daughter, or Iraq War vet injured son or husband getting this kind of bullsh*t treatment? I don’t care if it was Super Bowl Sunday. You;ve got a job to do.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Excuse me? What is their job? Being an EMS worker doesn’t mean you sit on your asses with the heater on and bitch and grumble about why you’ve got to go out there, and especially who you have to carry on a stretcher in a snowstorm. You’re a first responder, no matter what area of town they live in, or who’s winning on the gridiron. You have a vocation as well as a job. You’re paid to go out and help any individual if they call for assistance, not to tell them to come out and walk to the truck when they’re having a major coronary. (This certainly looks like what Mitchell died from.) This episode shows a towering and amazing disrespect for life among these people who are charged with saving life, and particularly, for black life.

I don’t want to hear it that these guys were pushed beyond their limits during the blizzard, and they did an heroic job despite the elements and despite people who had nothing wrong with them, and blah-dee-blah, that they should get a break. I’m all for these kinds of people getting what is owed to them and them having the right to unionize, etc. But this episode is beside the point. I say again, this man did not have to die, and pure laziness (if not racism) on the part of these EMTs caused his death.

All the lawsuits and money settlements in the world will not bring back an individual once their lives are taken away from their families and friends. Mitchell from all accounts was a law-abiding individual who paid his taxes, taxes that are used to pay EMTs. People forget who they are working for and why when they are charged with providing a public service. All of a sudden, citizens work for them, and not they for us.

Thus endeth the lesson.

~ by blksista on February 18, 2010.

8 Responses to “Pittsburgh Resident Curtis Mitchell: Killed by EMS Laziness?”

  1. The report by Pittsburgh’s medical director is available at this link –

    It states that the report is confidential, but apparently Public Safety Director Michael Huss released this at the same time he put all of the blame on the medics. If Public Safety Director Michael Huss read the report, he did not understand it. The report does not blame the medics. Blaming the medics makes it seem acceptable to not plow the main street in a neighborhood that does not have electricity or gas.

    The medical director does spend some time explaining the circumstances of each cancellation. It appears to me that the two decisions to cancel were both made under the impression that the streets would soon be plowed and an ambulance would be able to make it much closer to the residence. The third cancellation was made by dispatch, but seems to have been agreed to by Sharon Edge (Curtis Mitchell’s girl friend/common law wife).

    Were these good decisions? It doesn’t seem that way now. I only have news reports, the information that is in the medical director’s report, and some emails from people in Pittsburgh to go on. It seems to me that these decisions were not unreasonable.

    The neighborhood had no electricity or gas. The city should have considered this to be an emergency that required them to clear the main road to get some sort of basic services to the neighborhood, as soon as possible. The electricity is not coming back on until after they can get trucks to the location of the damage. The gas is not coming back on until after they can get trucks to the location of the damage.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if one reason for canceling was feeling guilty about keeping an ambulance tied up for hours, when the ambulance could be helping other people in places where the ambulance can actually get to the patients. Then, in a little while, after the streets are clear, calling 911 again. That should have worked, but the streets were not cleared.

    I don’t know the details of what went on with each ambulance, but you have 3 different ambulance crews, an unknown number of supervisors (in 4 wheel drive trucks), and whatever other resources were available, working to get to Curtis Mitchell. Some of the news reports have shown pictures of the bridge. Going up the bridge may be impossible without the street being plowed and salted. Going down may have been an out of control slide being stopped by whatever they hit. Then the ambulance may need to be towed.

    Like

    • A lot has also been made about how there was no prioritizing of calls, especially repeated calls.

      It still doesn’t exonerate the men who, while the streets were blocked, could have made some way themselves to the Mitchells and have brought him to safety. Canceling by the Mitchells doesn’t mean that they felt nothing was happening; it may have been that they had decided to wait until the streets were clear and not tie up the EMTs. That being said, repeated calls should have alerted those dispatchers that something was going on. The truck is merely a vehicle. The men could have tried on foot.

      Like

      • A lot has also been made about how there was no prioritizing of calls, especially repeated calls.

        They were prioritizing calls. In that system, a call for abdominal pain is considered a low priority call.

        It still doesn’t exonerate the men who, while the streets were blocked, could have made some way themselves to the Mitchells and have brought him to safety.

        I haven’t seen anything that says that they did not. We do not know how long each ambulance was stuck before they were canceled. Each ambulance had called for assistance in getting to Mr. Mitchell.

        Canceling by the Mitchells doesn’t mean that they felt nothing was happening; it may have been that they had decided to wait until the streets were clear and not tie up the EMTs.

        I did not mean to imply that nothing was going on.

        The truck is merely a vehicle. The men could have tried on foot.

        Once they get to a patient, what do they use to move him? Are they going to try to drag him on a backboard? How are they going to get traction on the snow and ice to pull him up the bridge? When one, or both, of them is injured, who is going to get him the rest of the way to the ambulance? Who is going to transport the rest of their patients?

        How long were they stuck in the snow before they were canceled?

        If they are canceled, the medics continue to dig themselves out of the snow and head to the next patient. There is no reason to believe that people working non-stop in bad weather are being lazy.

        3 different crews with the same result, canceled and assigned to another call, means that there was more to this than what is presented by the media.

        Like

        • Dude, I know that you are an apologist for your occupation, but the matter remains: isn’t there such a thing as hand stretchers any more to carry a patient to the truck? Couldn’t they have improvised such a thing while at the Mitchells?

          Who’s not thinking out of the box?

          I’m sure there is plenty of blame to go around, but the fact also remains that Mitchell is dead and these guys were still bitching that they couldn’t get through the snow. Again, what is their job? Hell, get through next time.

          Like

          • Dude, I know that you are an apologist for your occupation,

            If you were familiar with what I have written, you would know that I am regularly critical of EMS and of those who do the job badly. There is no reason to believe that the medics are at fault in this case.

            This is the heart of the problem with this case. Curtis Mitchell is dead. He should not have died. People are making judgments based on a lack of information and based on misinformation.

            This is not going to lead to the truth. This will just lead to the same thing happening again.

            isn’t there such a thing as hand stretchers any more to carry a patient to the truck? Couldn’t they have improvised such a thing while at the Mitchells?

            Try that on snow-covered and ice-covered roads.

            How many times is it acceptable to drop Mr. Mitchell while trying to carry him to the ambulance?

            How many times would they fall before one of the medics is injured and needs an ambulance?

            Then, Mr. Mitchell is outside lying in the snow, waiting for an ambulance. That is not better.

            what is their job? Hell, get through next time.

            Their job is not to make up for the lack of planning of the people in charge.

            They were canceled each time. Are they supposed to tell dispatch that they are not refusing to transport the next patient, because they will not accept being canceled?

            The three different medic crews did not refuse to transport Curtis Mitchell.

            The three ambulances were canceled.

            The report from the medical director did not blame the medics.

            Like

          • Are they supposed to tell dispatch that they are not refusing to transport the next patient, because they will not accept being canceled?

            Sorry, bad editing. That should read –

            Are they supposed to tell dispatch that they are refusing to transport the next patient, because they will not accept being canceled?

            Like

  2. I only see excuses from Public Safety Director Michael Huss. He claims that it was not his fault, because it was the fault of the medics. As if they were being lazy, in stead of running from patient to patient and digging themselves out of the snow every time they were stuck on streets that were not plowed. The decision to not help EMS get to patients was not made by the medics.

    Each time the ambulance became stuck in the snow about a quarter of a mile from the patient’s residence.

    Each time the ambulance was canceled by the caller or the 911 center.

    First call. Medic 5 was dispatched. The 911 call was placed at 02:09 02/06/2010. The response was canceled by the caller at 03:57 02/06/2010.

    Second call. Medic 8 was dispatched. The 911 call was placed at 04:53 02/06/2010. The response was canceled by the caller at 06:23 02/06/2010.

    Third call. Medic 7 was dispatched. The 911 call was placed at 11:18 02/06/2010. The response was canceled by dispatch at 21:31 02/06/2010.

    How is being canceled behavior that deserves blame or punishment?

    6 medics, several supervisors, and others, made requests for assistance and snow plows in three attempts to get this patient to the hospital. Each time the medics were canceled.

    Where was Public Safety Director Michael Huss while the medics were trying to get to Curtis Mitchell to keep him from dying?

    Like

    • I don’t get it, Rogue Medic. It can’t be that the Mitchells would have cancelled the call. Curtis Mitchell was sick all through that weekend. Please explain.

      Like

Comments are closed.

 
%d bloggers like this: