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Philly First Responders Attacked by Those They Seek to Help

Thursday, January 29, 2015  By Taunya English |

Punched in the eye, head butted, tackled by a drunk person — sometimes that's part of the job of working as a paramedic in Philadelphia.

Health researchers at Drexel University are gathering information from Philadelphia Fire Department reports to try to understand more thoroughly the injuries that emergency medical technicians and paramedics encounter on the job.

"We're seeing about six to ten assaults per year that resulted in an injury to a paramedic or firefighter," said Jennifer Taylor, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at Drexel University School of Public Health.

That's a very small number, compared to the nearly 340,000 emergency calls that paramedics and EMTs respond to in Philadelphia each year. Still, Taylor said she's worried about the stress that comes with knowing you could be hurt by the people you are trying to help.

The researchers interviewed workers struck in the line of duty by patients, family members or bystanders at the scene of a call.

"I have been kicked, punched, bitten, spit on, verbally abused. You name it, I've had it all," one female paramedic reported to the Drexel team.

The study participants were not identified by name.

A male EMT said: "I definitely don't take my eyes off a patient at all. Ever since I — I do my best, even if it's someone I don't feel was a threat at all. I don't take my eyes off them. I don't turn my back on them."

After those conversations, Taylor said she started to suspect that many unintentional assaults never make it into an official city record.

"They tend to not report those because they don't want to report that, 'some old lady hit me in the head'," Taylor said.

"The person didn't intend to hurt them, they just were medically out of their mind and they were combative when people were getting close and trying to care for them."

"From the male perspective, I can see them underreported because of the macho nature of the fire service," said city Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer. "Sometimes they are not reported because they've gotten the patient under control so they feel there's no reason to report the assault."

Sawyer would like to see better training for workers so they can walk into a home and spot the red flags that could lead to a combative situation.

When the researchers reviewed national data on assaults some common factors included patients under the influence of drugs or alcohol, people with mental health problems and patients suffering a seizure or low-blood sugar.

Sawyer said he wants to know more about the community members who strike emergency workers. He said a good next step would be to interview the people who've hit a paramedic or EMT.

Assaulting a first responder is a felony in Pennsylvania, and Sawyer said he pushes for prosecution.

"Sometimes judges may feel as though the assault wasn't intentional, and they may be a little more lenient. Once it gets to the court system, or the legal system, we have no more control over that," Sawyer said. "But I can say that getting it to the legal system, we support them 100 percent."




Ambulance tips over in accident; two hurt - Florida

Monday, January 26, 2015  By Austin Miller

OCALA -- An Ocklawaha man was ticketed by an officer on Friday night after his vehicle struck an ambulance that was transporting a patient to the hospital and tipped it on its side.

According to an Ocala Police Department report, a 2001 Dodge van, driven by Oliver P. Jones, 61, was heading northbound on U.S. 441 in the middle lane at about 40 mph and approaching Southwest 10th Street.

The ambulance was traveling eastbound on SW 10th Street in the inside lane coming up to U.S. 441 with lights and sirens on.

The driver of the emergency vehicle slowed down for the intersection, police said, and then continued to drive across U.S. 441 through a red light at roughly 10 mph after not seeing any vehicle.

Officers said Jones didn’t stop and slammed into the ambulance’s rear right tire, causing the ambulance to turn onto the driver’s side.

The paramedic who was in the back and the patient who was strapped into a gurney were taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The patient had been involved in an earlier accident and was being taken to the hospital, officials said.

On Saturday, both the patient and the paramedic in the back were listed in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson said. The ambulance driver, who was wearing his seat belt, was treated and released, officials said.

Jones, who was also wearing his seat belt, was not taken to the hospital. However, he received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way, police said. 



Ambulance Hits Pedestrian in Midtown Manhattan: FDNY

Saturday, January 24, 2015  An ambulance hit and seriously injured a pedestrian in midtown Manhattan Friday evening, the FDNY said.

The FDNY EMS ambulance was headed to a 911 call with its lights and sirens on when it hit the pedestrian at near 35th Street and Broadway at about 5:45 p.m., the FDNY said.

Another ambulance took the victim to Bellevue Hospital, where the victim was listed in serious but stable condition. 

Police are investigating.  



3 Injured After Hospital-Bound Ambulance Lost Control - Ohio

Saturday, January 24, 2015  SOUTH COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Kate Murphy) -- Three injured individuals have been transported to nearby hospitals after the report of their ambulance crash on South High Street.

Police say an ambulance driving northbound on route 23 lost control and flipped over the median to the other side of traffic on South High Steet in front of the Scioto Downs Racino around 11:00 a.m. Friday.

Officers say no other cars were involved in the crash, but three people were injured.

The ambulance was en route to a Columbus hospital with a patient. The patient was hurt in the crash and transported to OSU Medical Center in stable condition.

The driver of the ambulance and his passenger were sent to Grant Medical Center, also in stable condition.

Police say they will likely cite the driver of the ambulance in connection with the crash.

It is not clear at the current time what caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle. 

Both lanes of U.S. 23 are now cleared as of 12:30 p.m. 



Ambulance Involved In Serious Crash In Franklin County - Ohio

Saturday, January 24, 2015  COLUMBUS, Ohio - A crash involving a medic was reported on U.S. 23 in southern Franklin County before 11 a.m. on Friday.

The crash occurred near Scioto Downs. Both lanes of U.S. 23 were shut down from about 11 a.m. to approximately 11:45 a.m.

Officials say an ambulance was one of the vehicles involved. The emergency vehicle reportedly rolled over during the crash.

Emergency crews were on the scene. The number and extent of injuries was not immediately known.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. 



Ambulance involved in crash - Florida

Saturday, January 24, 2015  At 8:33pm on Friday, January 23, Marion County Fire Rescue Ambulance 24 was
in route transporting a patient from an accident in Marion Oaks was involved
in an accident on South Pine Ave., when a vehicle failing to stop at an
intersection while the ambulance was half way through the intersection with
lights and sirens. All patients were transported to ORMC in stable
condition. Both Firefighters received injuries but only was admitted.

Special Thanks to Ocala Fire Rescue and Ocala PD who assisted at the scene.



Rt. 23 open after ambulance crash

Saturday, January 24, 2015  By Theodore Decker

Columbus police have cleared a South Side crash in which three people were injured this morning when a private ambulance rolled over on Rt. 23. 

Police said the crash occurred about 10:50 a.m. on the stretch of 23 between Rathmell Road and Scioto Downs. 

According to police, a patient was being taken to a Columbus-area hospital by Portsmouth Ambulance Service when the driver veered into the median for an undetermined reason and the vehicle rolled. 

The patient was taken to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. The ambulance driver and a passenger were taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.  



Ky. EMS sued by son of retired fire chief killed by ambulance

Saturday, January 24, 2015  STANFORD, Ky. — The son of a retired fire chief who died after being struck by an ambulance has filed a lawsuit against Stanford EMS and the EMT driving the emergency vehicle.

Walter Manuel, 79, was a retired fire chief of the Lincoln County Fire Department’s Station One in the 1980’s. He died at the scene on January 14, 2014, when his car collided with an ambulance that was transporting a patient in critical condition.

His son Clarence W. Manuel filed the complaint last week in Lincoln Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that EMT Joshua T. Ruhe was negligent as the driver of the ambulance that struck Manuel’s car as he was making a turn from Lancaster Street onto U.S. 27, Central Kentucky News reports. 

The ambulance had lights and sirens on at the time, and was en route to Fort Logan Hospital, where a helicopter was waiting to airlift a critical patient to a Lexington hospital. Ruhe, the patient and two others in the ambulance were injured in the crash; the patient was eventually airlifted.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages for medical expenses, funeral expenses of $9,029, pain and suffering, and the loss of Walter Manuel’s ability to earn money. 



Crash involving ambulance on I-16 EB in Bryan County cleared - Georgia

Saturday, January 24, 2015  BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) -Emergency crews responded to a crash on I-16 eastbound just past Exit 280 in Bryan County Thursday morning.

According to Bryan County deputies, a Southside Fire/EMS ambulance was traveling east on I-16 in the left lane, when it made contact with a pickup truck in the right lane and ended up going into the ditch. No patients were on board at the time. 

The ambulance crew and the other driver involved were all treated at the scene. 

Traffic was able to get by in the left eastbound lane, but the right lane was closed just shy of the weight station. The wreck has since been cleared and all lanes are back open.

The Bryan County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash.   



Ambulance flips on side on I-20 - Mississippi

Saturday, January 24, 2015  By Harold Gater

An ambulance ended up on its side in Hinds County Friday morning.

The ambulance from the Vicksburg Fire Department was transferring a patient to a Jackson hospital, Vicksburg Deputy Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said.

The accident happened around 1:50 a.m. in the westbound lane of Interstate 20 near the Edwards, Miss. exit. Deputy Chief Danczyk said the ambulance struck the median, flipped onto its side and skidded to a stop.

There were two crew members in addition to the patient onboard. Both crew members and the patient were restrained, however the driver did lose consciousness when the ambulance crashed.

Another Vicksburg Fire Department ambulance traveling in the eastbound lane of I-20 coincidentally came upon the accident and assisted the crew of the wrecked ambulance. The injuries to the crew members are said to be minor.

An ambulance from American Medical Response transported the patient from the overturned ambulance to a hospital, according to AMR spokesman Jim Pollard.

GPS data from the Vicksburg ambulance indicates that its speed was not excessive before the accident. A little over an inch of rain fell in the metro area Thursday and weather is believed to be a factor in the accident. 



Violent Idaho man assaults paramedic

Saturday, January 24, 2015  BOISE -- A Boise man was arrested Monday after police say he struck a paramedic as he was being placed into an ambulance.

Nathaniel Eugene Hammersmith, 26, appeared to be under the influence when he walked up to a fire station near South 16th Street and West Front Street. The firefighters tried to talk to him, but Hammersmith was "uncooperative and aggressive," and ran across the street, police say.

Officers arrived and found the suspect, who couldn't stand up and was barely able to talk, police said. They called for paramedics to take the man to a hospital to be evaluated.

But Hammersmith became violent as he was loaded into an ambulance, and punched a paramedic in the shoulder, according to police.

After he was cleared by doctors at the hospital, Hammersmith was arrested. He was booked into the Ada County Jail and charged with felony battery upon a health care worker.

Hammersmith is due to appear in court Tuesday afternoon. 



Ambulance driver at fault in U.S. 41 crash - Florida

Sunday, January 18, 2015  By Josh Taylor

Thursday night an ambulance crashed into a car waiting at a stop light on U.S. 41 in Sarasota, causing a chain reaction. Even though the driver was rushing someone to the hospital, the Florida Highway Patrol says he was at fault.

The crash involved five vehicles in total and sent nine people to the hospital, including the patient inside the ambulance who was being rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. First reports indicated the driver of the vehicle initially struck was in critical condition while the rest were stable. According to the Sarasota County Fire Department, one of the other paramedics inside the ambulance was undergoing surgery Friday.

Florida Highway Patrol is citing 55-year old Delbert Miller with careless driving. 



OCFA ambulance damaged when it collides with vehicle in San Clemente - California

Sunday, January 18, 2015  An Orange County Fire Authority ambulance sustained minor damage when it was struck by a Jeep Saturday in San Juan Capistrano.

The crash happened about 2:45 p.m. at the intersection of North El Camino Real and Camino Capistrano, said Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. M. Donald Kiernan.

The OCFA ambulance was traveling north on El Camino Real when it collided with a Jeep Cherokee, Kiernan said. The ambulance was responding to a medical call at the San Clemente Pier with its lights and siren running when it was struck by the vehicle, OCFA Capt. Shane Sherwood said.

Two emergency medical technicians were aboard the ambulance.

As a result of minor damage to the ambulance, another amublance was assigned to the call at the pier, Sherwood said. There were no injuries in the crash. The cause of the incident remains under investigation. 



Ambulance involved in 5-vehicle crash on Dan Ryan - Illinois

Sunday, January 18, 2015  By 

At least one person was hurt in a five-vehicle crash involving an ambulance on the inbound Dan Ryan Expressway in the East Pilsen neighborhood Friday morning, police said.

The accident happened around 5:45 a.m. on Interstate 90/94 near Cermak Road, said Illinois State Police Trooper Ark Wozniak.

Several people were injured, but it was not immediately known how many, Wozniak said.

The vehicles involved in the accident were moved to nearby Canalport Avenue, and no lanes on I-90/94 were closed as a result, Wozniak said. 



Ambulance involved in hit-and-run DUI crash in Detroit

Sunday, January 18, 2015  Author:  Troy A. Blevins

Police say a 17-year-old driver was under the influence of alcohol and driving without his headlights on when his car collided with an ambulance.

The teen was traveling northbound in his Dodge Stratus on Trumbell Avenue at a high rate of speed with no headlights on.

An ambulance was traveling with its lights and siren on, and hit the Stratus at the intersection of Trumbell Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard.

Police said the teen driver then fled the scene on foot and was arrested for DUI.

Two paramedics who were inside the ambulance struck suffered minor injuries. A patient inside the ambulance was picked up by another emergency vehicle. 



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