Recently in my area, a situation arose wherein the local Alameda City Fire department and Police department did not provide rescue and aid to a mentally ill citizen that committed suicide by drowning himself in the San Francisco Bay. The man had attempted suicide in a similar manner before and was prevented. The man was large, 6'+ and >200lbs and had waded out onto a long sandbar in the San Francisco Bay. He stood there in 60 degree water for over an hour while police and firefighters waited on the shore for mutual response aid that never came. I went to high school with one of the captains of the fire department, so my goal is not to bash any department. But I have always maintained that fire department-based ambulance service is a conflict of interest of public safety and that a third service is preferable. As sworn officers of the city, don't public servants have a duty to protect? Wouldn't a fire department personnel be perfectly williing to risk his/her safety by running into a burning building to rescue somebody? What about a SWAT member doing forced entry to secure the safety of a citizen in a domestic dispute? Do you think that this couldn't happen in your fire-based emergency service? Moral is low with all the financial problems that our state is facing in all sectors of civil service. The fire captain in question, stated that his department had cut the budget for land-based water rescue, so they weren't certified for this type of rescue (I am paraphrasing). I find it hard to believe that a city, that is an island wouldn't have a small boat/rescue craft. But given the current economic situation, it appears that Alameda city didn't have a suitable rescue craft. Even so, the personnel may not have current certification but presumably some of them had been previously trained. The suicidal decedent was in standing water at the time although he was a distance away from the shore, reports said >100 yards and some reports said 200 yards. It is my belief that the personnel had an ethical obligation to at least approach the patient within a reasonable distance, so as not to be in physical harm from the patient and engage the patient in discourse for as long as possible given the water temperature and impending hypothermia. It is easy to monday morning quarterback this situation, I wasn't there and don't know all the details but this is a public relations nightmare, not to mention a costly wrongful death civil suit that is probable. In the end, what can we learn from this event to prevent similar situations in the future? http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18183837?source=most_emailed
Hi, its very interesting topic and it happens frequently in pre-hospial care environment.Yes, as Roger said i agree with him that safety come first but doing what is necessary in this incident has not been applied.The ethical and moral duty was not considered by those respond to the incident.when paramedic or phycisian should do no harm before benifiting or helping victims but he should consider safest way to cure his patients.I think they should do more to help this victim according to what been metion above they had to do more starting from getting as close as safely they can and communicate with him to calm him down etc.