I don’t think the dispatchers / EMTs were necessarily in the wrong. But I do think this incident throws a spotlight on an unfortunate fact of our times.
I’m not usually the guy to complain about our litigious society, and how people will sue at the drop of a hat. But in this case, I think they chose to follow the letter of the law as they understood it in order to stay out of a liability situation. And despite the bad press, they may well have been wise to do so. Without that mindset, however, they might have chosen to do something else.
That bothers me.
Understand, I’m not second-guessing the people in this incident. I wasn’t there, don’t have all the facts, etc. But I’ve seen enough of this attitude to think I’m recognizing it in this situation. Who’s to blame? Everyone. We’ve allowed the law to be structured in such a way that someone has to be blamed for just about everything.
When I took CPR they told us the “Good Samaritan laws” would protect us if we acted correctly within our training. Except then, several lawyers of my acquaintance told me they absolutely would not. That kind of thing causes people to pause instead of act, and that’s bad.
What do we do about? Hell if I know. But it’s still bad.