1. #1
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    Post Clearwater Fla--2 Paramedics fired for refusing a call

    Dave1983 may be closer to this and have some inside info. Basically what I hear is that this lady constantly abuses the EMS system for things like helping her with toast in toaster (may be extreme)...but things like that. The day this happened she had alledgedly called 911 over 10 times. All information I have is 2nd/3rd hand other than the paper
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    St. Petersburg Times

    Ignoring 911 call prompts 2 firings
    Two paramedics are dismissed for failing to respond to a caller who frequently dialed 911 when there was no emergency.
    By JACOB H. FRIES
    Published May 10, 2005

    -----------------------
    CLEARWATER - Two city paramedics with clean performance records were fired Monday for not responding to a 911 emergency call on March 26, city officials said.

    The early morning call came from a woman who often dialed 911, only to have paramedics come to her door to discover there was no emergency, said city human resources director Joe Roseto.

    "That person could call 20 times and there could be nothing, but what if it is the one time this person is in distress?" Roseto said. "We can't have firefighters decide not to answer a call for whatever reason."

    Michael Jones, a 5-year veteran, and Trevor Murray, a 9-year veteran, have three days to appeal the decision. They had been assigned to Fire Station 49 behind Clearwater Mall.

    Neither of the paramedics could be reached for comment Monday.

    Fire Chief Jamie Geer said the Pinellas County medical director was also investigating the pair's conduct, and they could potentially lose their paramedic licenses.

    "It represents a safety issue of such serious nature that immediate termination was warranted," Geer said.

    John Lee, president of the union representing Clearwater firefighters, declined to comment on the case.

    The unanswered call was uncovered during a routine quality-assurance review of past incidents, which found the call's report did not specify the paramedics' arrival time, Geer said. That discovery prompted an internal investigation.

    City officials said they thought the incident was isolated.

    "This behavior is not indicative of the rest of our staff," City Manager Bill Horne said.

    While the female caller was okay, Horne said he took the failure of duty seriously.

    "When you call 911 and require medical assistance, you assume that they will show up," he said. "Without that confidence, you have a very serious public safety crisis. ..."

    [Last modified May 10, 2005, 01:02:19]
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  2. #2
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    Tampa Tribune

    Paramedics Fired After Ignoring 911 Call

    Published: May 10, 2005




    CLEARWATER - Two Clearwater Fire Rescue paramedics were fired Monday for failing to respond to a 911 call in March, officials said.
    Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer said paramedics Michael Jones, a six-year veteran, and Trevor Murray, with nearly 10 years of experience, failed to respond to a 911 call early March 26, News Channel 8 reported.

    The woman who called 911 received other medical care, Geer said. She had called for a non-life-threatening medical condition, he said.

    Jones and Murray were at Station No. 49 behind Clearwater Mall.

    Jones and Murray could have their ability to serve as paramedics revoked in Pinellas County, Medical Director Laurie Romig said.
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  3. #3
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    Default Union to back Firefighters

    St. Petersburg Times

    Union promises strong defense of fired paramedics
    The two veteran employees, who did not respond to a March 26 call, have until today to appeal their dismissal.
    By JACOB H. FRIES
    Published May 12, 2005

    -------------------
    CLEARWATER - The fire union representing two city paramedics terminated this week has issued a strongly worded defense of them.

    "Both men are long-term veterans of Clearwater Fire Rescue with excellent employment records," the statement reads. "Their firings are wrong and illegal. (They) will be vindicated."

    Clearwater Fire Fighters Association, Local 1158, president John Lee did not answered numerous calls to his cell phone or pager Wednesday. The statement, signed by Lee and other union leaders, was made public late Tuesday.

    On Monday, Michael Jones, a five-year veteran, and Trevor Murray, a nine-year veteran, were notified that they would be fired for not responding to a 911 emergency call on March 26. They have until today to appeal the decision.

    The firings this week come as the city's firefighters vote on a one-year contract proposal that was the product of contentious, lingering talks with city administrators. The offer includes a one-time bonus of $1,250 or 3 percent of a person's gross salary.

    The call that Murray and Jones ignored came from a woman who often dialed 911, only to have paramedics come to her door to discover there was no emergency, city officials have said. Since July 2003, paramedics responded to the woman's house 14 times, according to documents released Wednesday.

    During Murray's explanation to officials, he told them that the woman was often very confrontational with paramedics and had made false allegations against them in the past, according to an investigative report by fire officials.

    "With sincere remorse, (Murray) admitted utilizing poor judgment and expressed his intent to never jeopardize patient care," the report said.

    Neither of the paramedics could be reached for comment Wednesday.

    Fire Chief Jamie Geer said he was troubled by the union's defense.

    "It's certainly in direct opposition to both mine and the city's position that . . . in each and every case of emergency, we respond," Geer said.

    City Manager Bill Horne echoed the chief's remarks, saying he wondered whether union officials were properly informed about the incident.

    "I'm completely baffled by their response," Horne said.

    [Last modified May 12, 2005, 00:31:16]
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  4. #4
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    Default Letters to the Editor

    St. Petersburg Times

    Punish crank callers, not paramedics
    Letters to the Editor
    Published May 13, 2005

    ---------------------------

    Re: Ignoring 911 call gets 2 paramedics fired, story, May 10.


    I was greatly distressed to read about the plight of the Clearwater paramedics who stand to lose their jobs for failure to respond to a frequent caller of nonemergency situations. It reminds me of the child's tale The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Could the dispatcher not obtain a clear understanding of the "emergency"? Can we not do a better job of this? People who frequently waste taxpayer dollars calling for a team of emergency responders to nonemergency calls should be penalized, in my opinion.

    Let's face it: Our world is filled with many whose needs cannot be met by paramedics. They require the assistance of other professionals. They might be depressed, lonely or simply overwhelmed and unable to deal with life's situations. They can be attention seekers, or just think it is funny.

    People who call 911 for nonlife-threatening situations should be dealt with in some appropriate manner to discourage such actions. Initiating fines for a certain number of false calls in a given time, referrals to social service agencies for help, or contacting the person's family for assistance with this matter are just a few things that spring to mind.

    I hope I never live to see the day that someone I know and care about is kept waiting during a true life-threatening emergency because the paramedics were out on a "crank" call. City Manager Bill Horne was quoted as saying, "When you call 911 and require medical assistance, you assume that they will show up." If they're not busy chasing windmills, that is.

    -- Rhonda Weiss, Oldsmar


    The penalty doesn't fit the action
    Re: Ignoring 911 call gets 2 paramedics fired, story, May 10.

    What is wrong with Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer?

    Does he not realize that paramedics Michael Jones and Trevor Murray should be acknowledged for trying to rid the emergency medical services system of a potentially dangerous hazard? Hazardous to whom? How about you and I, who could have been having a real medical emergency while this disturbed individual was creating a crime by maliciously transmitting a false alarm?

    This is a common problem around this country, and I have never heard of a valuable employee being fired for trying to call attention to a potentially dangerous situation.

    At most, a reprimand would be appropriate, but to terminate an employee for this action is covered in most civil service law by the term "arbitrary and capricious," which means the penalty does not fit the action.

    I would ask the residents of Clearwater to take up the cause of these exemplary employees and encourage city leadership to notify the residents that they must be responsible for their actions, and transmitting a false alarm will not be tolerated. Reinstate these guys and put a stop to this nonsense.
    -- Joe Baal, Oldsmar

    No publicity for jobs well done
    Re: Ignoring 911 call gets 2 paramedics fired, story, May 10.

    I'm disappointed in your coverage of the two Clearwater paramedics fired for not going to a call. Maybe you need to write a story on the abuse of the 911 system in Pinellas County, or why they send anywhere from two to six paramedics for someone with back pain, or in this case for someone who has called a few times that day.

    Maybe you should write about the thousands of other calls Mike Jones and Trevor Murray ran and actually helped people with real emergencies.

    Everyone, including drivers, is at risk when a ambulance is going with lights and siren to a call. Mike and Trevor are a huge loss for the Clearwater Fire Department.


    -- Kristin Webert, Clearwater [Last modified May 13, 2005, 00:57:16]
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    Prediction from the prognosticator George:

    1. People here will be saying that firing is too extreme. They have unblemished records, should be disciplined, but not fired.

    2. If they were cops, all other things being equal, people here would be calling for the death penalty.

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    There is a huge, huge need around the country to educate the public on abuse of the 9-1-1 system. It cost 10's if not 100's of millions of dollars a year in addition to putting responders at risk. The ones that should be fired are the "leaders" that refuse to address the problem.

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    Default

    George , you are probably right on your prediction.

    I agree with the firing, because it is definitly NOT up to the medics to just not respond. That in my book is 100% wrong. Like Conster said, respond, but if you know who it is, dont let your heart rate skyrocket, but absolutely RESPOND.

    For that matter it isnt up to the dispacher to decide either, if the caller tells the dispacher and states there is an emergency, (even if the dispacher may know otherwise) they have no choice but to send help (even if they know otherwise). In my opinion, this is a problem that needs to be reported EVERY time it happens. And the proper authorities must do something about it.


    Bottom line, if called you (we) gotta go, it is that simple.
    Last edited by pvfire424; 05-16-2005 at 10:48 AM.

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    It seems like the problem with the 911 abuser should have been addressed long ago. That, however, does not excuse the medics from performing their duty according to their SOPs.

    I personally would have gotten LEO involved and would have tried to persue legal action against the woman who kept calling for stupid crap. We had a 16 y/o who used to call us ever day or so for chest pain. He got a prompt response every time but we finally started getting the SO involved because we knew something was up. Someone did some testing and it turns out the kid was smoking crack. Needless to say he doesn't call us anymore.

    Anyhow, not sure if the punishment fits, but they definitely should be punished for not responding appropriately.
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    I would love to see a program developed where the concept of when to call 911 was explained better to citizens. We already get out and educate the kids on fire prevention so that would be a good place to start. We have to lay the groundwork with the kids so they are better informed citizens later on. As for the paramedics in question I am in favor of suspensions rather than firings.

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    After reading the "Letters to the Editor" that captstanm1 posted it appears to me that these people are not reading the story close, or have no Idea how 911 works. First several of the letters refer to a bogus call. I did not get from the story that this was a "bogus" call. Sure it may not have been what most refer as an "Emergency" but what is an "Emergency". Your idea on an "Emergency" will be different from the next person. Yes I understand how these Paramedic feel when they have to respond to the same residance day after day for minor incidents. I have had to deal with this as well as thousands of emergency responders across the nation do every day. It is not our job to determine what in the minds of a caller is an emergency. It is our job to respond to there request for help and then take action to correct what ever problem the caller is having.

    I feel that these paramedics were given just punishment for there actions. I also wonder how come it was not discovered until a routine QA review? Why did the dispatcher not realize they did not respond and take action at that time? Again I will state I know how these medic feel having to respond to calls such as this on a daily basis but, that is part of our jobs. Only a very small % of our call are really hot calls. If you can not deal with the minor "BS" stuff you do not need to stay in this business.
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    Default Total BS...

    I hope these guy fight it and win.

    Maybe next time, bill the 9-1-1 abuser.

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    I'm gonna have to disagree with you on this one BOU. I hope you dont think just a slap on the wrist and "don't do it again" is proper punishment.
    A "Good" fire is not measured by how big it is, but by the fact that everyone is going home safe, and that we possibly learned something new about firefighting. Member:IACOJ

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    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=69894

    I posted on this story when it first broke. You can read more details there
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    Originally posted by Station2Capt
    After reading the "Letters to the Editor" that captstanm1 posted it appears to me that these people are not reading the story close, or have no Idea how 911 works. First several of the letters refer to a bogus call. I did not get from the story that this was a "bogus" call. Sure it may not have been what most refer as an "Emergency" but what is an "Emergency". Your idea on an "Emergency" will be different from the next person. Yes I understand how these Paramedic feel when they have to respond to the same residance day after day for minor incidents. I have had to deal with this as well as thousands of emergency responders across the nation do every day. It is not our job to determine what in the minds of a caller is an emergency. It is our job to respond to there request for help and then take action to correct what ever problem the caller is having.

    I feel that these paramedics were given just punishment for there actions. I also wonder how come it was not discovered until a routine QA review? Why did the dispatcher not realize they did not respond and take action at that time? Again I will state I know how these medic feel having to respond to calls such as this on a daily basis but, that is part of our jobs. Only a very small % of our call are really hot calls. If you can not deal with the minor "BS" stuff you do not need to stay in this business.
    I agree completely!!

    I too work in an urban area with a large amount of 911 abusers. It can definitely be frustrating, but at no time did I ever consider not responding to a call... At the end of the day, that is the only thing we do that really matters. People expect (and depend) on us to show up when they call 911. I see far greater harm in letting medic/firefighter Joe Smith decide what he will and won't respond to than assuring that when someone/anyone calls WE RESPOND!! It is a public relations nightmare and just flat out bad business to pick-and-chose calls based on we determine to be an emergency. If we wouldn't terminate employment for someone who did something like this, what should we terminate employment for?

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    Our job is to respond, not judge. Failure to respond to a 911 dispatch is ground for immediate termination, in my opinion. I'm sure there are policies in place to handle 911 abusers, but it is not our (the responders) place to enforce them, simply because we are tired of going out on them.

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    They didnt do the job. They shouldnt have the job. There are probally hundreds of applicants out there that would do this job in a heart beat.
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    Default Re: Total BS...

    Originally posted by CALFFBOU
    I hope these guy fight it and win.

    Maybe next time, bill the 9-1-1 abuser.
    ------------

    I might be in the minority, but I'm with you, Bou. This woman has a history of irresponsible behavior. If she were to have a real emergency sometime, it would be her own fault if she didn't get the attention she needed. She sounds like a sponge who lives off of the government and wastes all of our tax dollars. What if the paramedics' response time to a legitimate emergency were compromised because they were responding to this idiot?

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    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sh...?threadid=69894

    I posted on this story when it first broke. You can read more details there
    Thanks, Dave..... Thought this all looked familiar.......
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    FYI, I posted an update in the other thread.
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Prediction from the prognosticator George:

    1. People here will be saying that firing is too extreme. They have unblemished records, should be disciplined, but not fired.

    2. If they were cops, all other things being equal, people here would be calling for the death penalty.
    Here you go again, defending cops when they have nothing to do with this. If you are a cop why don't you post on a police forum. I swear every post out of you defends cops, well, this is after all a firefighter forum!

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    In our business we have a duty to act. As professional Fire fighters/EMS responders it's our job to respond to the call dispatched. I know in our City we have our frequent flier calls to the same home with no emergency. We would report this type of incident through our Chain and let the proper authority handle the case. It's never good to here someone being terminated from this great profession, but remember you were trained to act and make sound decisions, in this case they failed to act as Professionals. STAY SAFE.

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    Just as the fire service has its fire false alarms, EMS has its hypochondriacs and abusers.
    Each call has to be treated with the same, serious response, because if we get complacent, the false alarm is actually a fire and the EMS call is a trap for some nut who wants to kill the paramedics.
    And if a call was knowingly false, have the person arrested and charged with filing a false report.
    No one should be afraid to call 911, but they need to understand that it is there for a reason.
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    What if the paramedics' response time to a legitimate emergency were compromised because they were responding to this idiot?
    So, we're supposed to judge for ourselves on every call whether or not it merits our response? Come on...there are avenues to take when dealing with troublemakers like this, and simply refusing to answer the call is not the way to do it. This is very vindictive behavior that will bite you in the butt, sooner or later. I sure wouldn't want it to be my responsibility to hold up emergency response/care, just because I think the call is bogus and I'm trying to teach someone a lesson.

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    Everyone should check out the other thread that Dave initially started........ He has some other info posted in that thread that is not listed in the articles posted in this thread.......
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    thanks Dave ........I was pullin my hair out trying to search it out and GULP ..couldnt find it but knew we had discussed it here before...glad they got the boot......
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