An upstate New York volunteer emergency medical technician has been suspended after breaking the rules to drive a sick four-year-old child to the hospital in an ambulance.
Stephen Sawyer, 20, was at the rescue squad’s headquarters in Ellenville, N.Y., with another EMT and an ambulance driver, when a call came in about a child having seizures.
A paramedic already at the child’s home asked for an ambulance, reports New York’s Times Herald-Record.
Two minutes later, another call came in about an elderly man injured in a fall. Sawyer advised the ambulance at the station to respond to that call, not realizing no other emergency vehicles were available to respond to the child’s home, according to the Daily Freeman.
Sawyer called four ambulance services over the next 15 minutes, but but all were busy or too far away to respond. Despite squad rules requiring ambulance drivers to be 21 years old or older, Sawyer climbed into the ambulance himself, drove the five miles to the child’s house and took the child, his mother and the paramedic to Ellenville Regional Hospital.Rules are made for a reason. Sometimes its for good reasons and sometimes for whatever reason. I'm sure in this case we don't have all the facts. The dept. captain is saying that there is more to the story than it appears. That could very well be true, I don't know. It could also be true that Stephen Sawyer had been a pain in the butt and that's why they dinged him as hard as they did with a 60 day suspension. It seems like they wanted him out, and being a rash young kid that's exactly what he gave them.
Looking at the facts this whole situation is just plain dumb.
Fact #1. A more experienced EMT was on the scene with the child that was having problems. That EMT made the decision that they needed transport to the hospital.
Fact #2. Sawyer exhausted all other avenues to provide transport before he personally took the kid to the hospital.
Fact #3. If you are the captain, and you hate this kids guts and he is the biggest screw up in the history of EMT's and you have thousands of great reasons to kick him off the squad: THE KID DID THE RIGHT THING.
Fact #4. There isn't a sick person, or the parent of a sick kid in the world, who when they need an ambulance give a damn if the guy driving it is over 21. They only know and care that he get them medical help in time to save them.
Fact #5. There is no way in the world that you can pounce on this kid, even though he broke the rules, and not look like an ass for doing it.
Fact #6. Even if the Capitan is 100% in the right, the news media isn't going to paint him in a good light and there is no way the department can win the publicity game until the community forgets about the matter.
Looking at this from an organizational perspective, what actions would have produced a better result?
1. Temper the punishment for breaking the rules with a pat on the back for saving the kid.
2a. Make the punishment less harsh. Most people would accept a 2 week suspension as a reasonable consequence. Two months seems overly vindictive and unreasonable given the circumstances.
2b. Maybe even "suspend" the punishment altogether, but leave a written warning on his record about adhering to departmental policy.
3. If the kid quit anyway, the first words out of your mouth should have been; "we wanted him to stay but he wanted to quit..." That way the employee looks like a hot head. Unfortunately that 2 month suspension does make it look like you have an axe to grind.