A Hypothetical Emergency: What Do You Think?

A hypothetical situation...

You are employed by a college and are in your office working. In the hallway outside, you hear a thud, some gasps, and then a voice saying "are you ok?"

You exit the office and see a female student lying on the floor. She has obviously fainted, has a visible bump on her head, and is pale. She is conscience and trying to answer the questions being asked by a former (at least he tells everyone he is) police officer and current professor.

His questions to the victim are on the silly side regarding how big the lump on her head appears.

You interrupt the playful interrogation and ask, "has anyone called 911 yet?"

Another female employee standing next to the question-answer session informs you that the "professor" is an emergency responder and does not believe that 911 is necessary.

You mumble a few choice words under your breath, scramble down the hall, and have another worker call 911 and campus security. The female employee follows you reiterating that no ambulance is needed and states that the student does not want one because she cannot afford to pay for it.

You ignore the comment, verify that the EMTs have been contacted, and proceed back down the hall to the student.

The victim is now standing/leaning against the wall, and rather than wait five minutes and have hundreds of students gawking at her in the hallway, you move the victim to an adjacent office to wait for medical personnel who arrive a few minutes later.

The ambulance personnel treat the victim and determine that her condition and vital signs are concerning to them--enough that they persuade (as all good EMTs know how to do) the victim to go to the hospital via ambulance.

When told about this hypothetical situation, I commended the responsible worker for taking action, contacting the proper authorities, and overruling the "emergency responder" professor on scene. The correct action in that case was to contact medical professionals for a proper evaluation.

A victim with a head injury and other visible signs of concern is likely not in any condition to be evaluated as "ok" after a few questions by a professor. Use the 911 system and let the EMTs make that call.

As in this case, the victim can always refuse treatment, but you, as a representative of the institution, involved the appropriate services to make an educated decision in resolving the situation.

I complimented the family member on her handling of the incident, and she thanked me for those conversations long ago about situations involving injured persons and being first on the scene.

At last report, our former police officer professor is developing a cover story to make himself the hero.*

Wait, sorry, this was a hypothetical story, please pretend I did not mention the last two paragraphs.


*Note: I am always suspicious of anyone who promotes themselves as a great former police officer, soldier, instructor, or high school football player for that matter.

I follow Iwo Jima flag raiser John Bradley's (as recorded in the book Flags of Our Fathers by his son James Bradley) observations concerning such matters (paraphrased):

We all were just doing our jobs. The only heroes are the ones who did not come home.


J. J. in Phila said...

As someone in a car accident this past weekend (and it didn't stop me from approving your comments), you call 911 and security/police. End of sentence.

I went to the hospital almost as a precaution.

Christopher said...

Yep. Make the call. Can't hurt if you do, could only hurt if you don't.

Natalie said...

I really appreciate this post. I overthink situations and doubt my skills when facing dilemmas, so I'd probably be wishy-washy if this was to happen to me. Thanks to Christopher for simplifying it in the above comment.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Interesting story. I say make the call.

Damsel Underdressed said...

I know one "former officer" and I have a certain level of doubt and mistrust in what escapes his mouth. It is all usually harmless but suspicious nonetheless.

mappchik said...

A simple trip & fall would have been different. Without knowing why the girl fainted in the first place, there's a big "?" that needs to be answered. That's why we have EMTs. So, to the very sensible hypothetical caller... good call.

Cindy Beck said...

Interesting hypothetical situation. I say it never hurts to call the EMTs, especially on a head injury.

(Oh, and thanks for commenting on my blog post, "The Bodies Are in the Basement." Glad you enjoyed it!:)

angelcel said...

Absolutely no doubt at all that the call should be made, probably even more so when it involves a head injury. Can you imagine if something vital was missed? The College could be sued.

BTW, I'm also with you, I take apparent 'experts' with a reasonable pinch of salt in a situation like this.

Oz Girl said...

Great *hypothetical* post. :)

Definitely make the call, esp with the recent emphasis on how head injuries can appear to be nothing, when in reality they can be life-threatening, even if the injured party claims to be ok.

Sorry you guys are getting such crappo weather lately. Ugh.