SAVANNAH, GA - Several Emergency Management Technicians (EMTs) were suspended without pay last week for new tactics that had not been approved by their supervisors. The three EMTs - two men and one woman - have appealed their suspensions and are awaiting a decision that should come as early as today.
When TBNN asked the EMT supervisory board what the problem was, the board responded in writing, saying, "The three EMTs in question are responsible, as are all EMTs, to do all they can to help the injured or ill remain alive until they arrive at the hospital. These three individuals failed to do that."
We at TBNN wanted to get both sides of the story. Two of the EMTs agreed to grant an interview.
Gary Karver (pictured above), an EMT for several years now, said, "It used to be that when we came upon a dead or dying (we often can't tell the difference at first) person, we would do all we could to resuscitate him and get him to the hospital alive. This was my goal every time. Well, that changed a few weeks ago. The reason for this is that I realized that this violated the person's free will. I mean, what if he doesn't want to be saved? It simply doesn't seem right or fair to take away his freedom like that."
Stephanie Tate, Karver's suspended partner, said, "I agree with Gary. Who are we to save people without asking them what they want? What we had been doing for the last several weeks, before the suspensions, was offering what we call PREVENIENT ASSISTANCE. When we arrived on a scene, we would offer enough help to the accident victim to bring him to the point where he could decide for himself whether or not he wanted to be saved. For example, in one case I gave a man mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but didn't stop his bleeding. He came to consciousness, but unfortunately bled out and died soon after. The point is that he decided."
Karver chimed back in, "Last week, we arrived at the scene of a minor explosion. I quickly gave a little bit of help to everyone involved. However, I refused to make the decision for them. A few died on the scene, but most survived. My supervisor said I should have done more to save them, but this just seemed to me to violate their person-hood. I couldn't do that."
We asked both EMTs if they would change back to their old practices in order to keep their jobs.
According to Tate, "This is a hill on which I have chosen, proverbially, to die. I refuse to violate anyone's free will even if it is for their good. They must choose. That is the most important thing."