To most consumers, emergency medical technicians are heroes, the fast-thinking, on-the-spot pros who can be counted on to make sure their injuries don't get worse. In many situations, that may be the case, but what about when an EMT or paramedic lets patients get hurt unnecessarily, uses drugs or neglects their duties? In California, it seems, officials may never find out. And even if they do find out, there may be little they can do about it.
As it turns out, California doesn't have an agency in place to supervise the performance of its 70,000 EMTs and 15,000 paramedics, unlike other large states like Texas, Massachusetts and New York. What's more, different counties within the state have widely varying policies on how and when emergency responders should be reported for negligence or misbehavior. Meanwhile, if members of the public want to file a complaint, there's no single place to go. Even if they go so far as to sue, regulators may never hear about it, because unlike in cases of medical malpractice, nobody's required to report on such suits.
To get more details on the situation:
- read this Los Angeles Times article