Bystander Complaints

sirengirl

Forum Lieutenant
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So, just ran a call for a fall at the local flea market. Get there and the flaggers direct us to our patient, who seems to have fallen just outside on the wheelchair ramp. Park the truck, get out, do our thing, end up getting a refusal.

Here's where it gets fun.

I am putting equipment back in via the side door and the car to the immediate side of the wheelchair ramp starts to back up towards me, rolling quickly until slamming on the brakes about a foot from me. I give the driver a cocked eyebrow- how can one possibly miss a 12' tall ambulance parked behind their back bumper, with a uniformed medic directly in your rear view?- but nonetheless I say nothing.

The driver, however, proceeds to get out and start screaming at my partner and I about how rude we are, how inconsiderate, how we should have parked over THERE (where it is impossible to access the ramp upon which the patient lay without walking around 4 cars and a curb), etcetc. I left my partner to deal with it, as no response I had would be HR appropriate, and he explained that we were, in fact, called there for a traumatic injury and were working an emergency. She said, "I understand that but you are RUDE and should have parked SOMEWHERE ELSE!!"

He continues to try to placate her before she storms back into her car and watches us expectantly. We finish packing up and I ask if he wants to sit there and complete his entire report before we go.

In any case, this woman was literally complaining about where an emergency vehicle, on an emergency call, was parked. I had to wonder if she would have been yelling at the crew had we been Fire or Law... What other ridiculous bystander complaints and situations have you all experienced? I'm sure there's loads of good ones out there...
 

STXmedic

Forum Burnout
Premium Member
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This happened to one of my buddies at my PT gig a while back. I got a pretty good kick out of it.

We get complaints like that from time to time. From blocking people in at a parking lot, to "don't park in front of my house!" when the 911 call is next door. Hmm... I've gotten accosted for taking the elevator and making someone wait.

I'll be nice until they start being unreasonable, and then they get a piece of my mind. They usually walk away after that. If they want to make an issue out of it, I will gladly get pd to respond so they can voice their complaint to them.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
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I've had this happen before (us and the fire department closed down the freeway for a car accident). We politely informed the driver that we were there for a car accident and had to close down the freeway for a short period of time. The driver continued to complain. We gave the driver our supervisors number and informed them that calling our supervisor isn't going to do anything.

Driver did call the supervisor. The supervisor politely talked to the driver for 5-10 minutes then changed his tone to more of a this is what we had to do so we did it. If you have a problem with it too bad. Another 5-10 minutes went by and the supervisor ended up hanging up to go on a call.
 

medicdan

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
2,494
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So, just ran a call for a fall at the local flea market. Get there and the flaggers direct us to our patient, who seems to have fallen just outside on the wheelchair ramp. Park the truck, get out, do our thing, end up getting a refusal.

Here's where it gets fun.

I am putting equipment back in via the side door and the car to the immediate side of the wheelchair ramp starts to back up towards me, rolling quickly until slamming on the brakes about a foot from me. I give the driver a cocked eyebrow- how can one possibly miss a 12' tall ambulance parked behind their back bumper, with a uniformed medic directly in your rear view?- but nonetheless I say nothing.

The driver, however, proceeds to get out and start screaming at my partner and I about how rude we are, how inconsiderate, how we should have parked over THERE (where it is impossible to access the ramp upon which the patient lay without walking around 4 cars and a curb), etcetc. I left my partner to deal with it, as no response I had would be HR appropriate, and he explained that we were, in fact, called there for a traumatic injury and were working an emergency. She said, "I understand that but you are RUDE and should have parked SOMEWHERE ELSE!!"

He continues to try to placate her before she storms back into her car and watches us expectantly. We finish packing up and I ask if he wants to sit there and complete his entire report before we go.

In any case, this woman was literally complaining about where an emergency vehicle, on an emergency call, was parked. I had to wonder if she would have been yelling at the crew had we been Fire or Law... What other ridiculous bystander complaints and situations have you all experienced? I'm sure there's loads of good ones out there...

I've certainly had this happen before... many times in many ways, and found the best thing to do (as others have mentioned), is to give the community member a place to vent/complain. They want to feel like they have a place to go, someone to listen, like they've "moved it up the food chain." I generally don't say "you can call, but they won't do anything", because I know that just having the opportunity to gripe is often therapeutic. I've been in the supervisor role where we needed to maintain customer service standards, and found it's valuable to let the caller vent, say I will investigate, and follow up in a week or so...
 

Handsome Robb

Youngin'
Premium Member
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I'll be nice until they start being unreasonable, and then they get a piece of my mind. They usually walk away after that. If they want to make an issue out of it, I will gladly get pd to respond so they can voice their complaint to them.

This is why you and I on an ambulance together would be epic.

Lady I ain't got time for that! Take your whining elsewhere.
 

Aidey

Community Leader Emeritus
4,800
11
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We often get people who walk up to the ambulance while posted in various parking lots who berate us for wasting their "tax dollars" by idling the engine. It seems especially common when it is below freezing or above 80. Usually they stop when they are told we are a private company, but not always.
 

STXmedic

Forum Burnout
Premium Member
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We often get people who walk up to the ambulance while posted in various parking lots who berate us for wasting their "tax dollars" by idling the engine. It seems especially common when it is below freezing or above 80. Usually they stop when they are told we are a private company, but not always.

They usually stop when I remind them I pay their insurance :lol:
 

Epi-do

I see dead people
1,947
9
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Had a lady open up the back doors and demand we move the truck so she could get out of her parking space. Her car was running, she was almost out of gas, and didn't want to run out of gas. (i can't even remember what was wrong with the patient, but we were both busy doing whatever needed to be done so we could head to the ED with a very sick patient.). We told her we were a bit busy at the moment, then shut & locked the doors. She then proceeded to stand at the back of the truck and knock on the windows until we covered them so she couldn't see inside.
 

Handsome Robb

Youngin'
Premium Member
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Had a lady open up the back doors and demand we move the truck so she could get out of her parking space. Her car was running, she was almost out of gas, and didn't want to run out of gas. (i can't even remember what was wrong with the patient, but we were both busy doing whatever needed to be done so we could head to the ED with a very sick patient.). We told her we were a bit busy at the moment, then shut & locked the doors. She then proceeded to stand at the back of the truck and knock on the windows until we covered them so she couldn't see inside.

I woulda called pd. That's B&E and potentially interfering with emergency services...especially if the patient has a negative outcome because we had to take our attention from them to deal with the general public. Don't mess with patient care and I won't sick the LEOs on you. Cops here don't take kindly to people, whether it be a patient or the general public messing with us after a few events over the last couple of years.

If I can I'll move no questions asked and apologize for the inconvenience. If I'm working...not a chance.

"Ma'am...do I come barging into your office at work? Oh I don't? Then don't do it to me!"
 

the_negro_puppy

Forum Asst. Chief
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Outrageous.

Where possible and circumstances permitting I try to position the Ambulance out of the way, but obviously pt care comes first.

I cannot believe people can be so selfish. Listening to the audio other woman was concerned because she might be late to her child's birthday party?

What a joke.

I've personally never had a run in with bystanders here.
 

Epi-do

I see dead people
1,947
9
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I woulda called pd. That's B&E and potentially interfering with emergency services...especially if the patient has a negative outcome because we had to take our attention from them to deal with the general public.

Honestly, if we had been thinking about it, we would have. However, we were so utterly shocked about the entire situation that we didn't even think about it. I have no idea if she ran out of gas or not, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I really hoped she did.
 

phideux

Forum Captain
432
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28
We often get people who walk up to the ambulance while posted in various parking lots who berate us for wasting their "tax dollars" by idling the engine. It seems especially common when it is below freezing or above 80. Usually they stop when they are told we are a private company, but not always.

It's been my experience that these folks who tell us that they pay our salaries and we work for them, actually don't pay taxes. They are usually the ones that we are paying for with welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, etc.
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
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I was on a run at a restaurant for a choking person: as we parked in front of doors, a person yelled that we were blocking the parking spaces.
We went in (with engine crew, who was parked in front of us) after we made sure the patient was ok (wasn't choking upon our arrival)
LEO walked in and asked if any of us had given a civilian permission to move our rigs (LEO already had him cuffed) He had already moved the ambulance and was climbing in the engine cab. he told the LEO that we told him he could. He couldn't PARK , not leave.

He went to jail and as we were leaving the wife was screaming at us about it
 

CFal

Forum Captain
431
2
18
Last year I read in an op-ed in a local paper somebody wrote it about how iddling was bad and ya da yada and how they would open people cars off that they left running and turn them off, and then they mentioned shutting off an ambulance that was idling. I would have gotten them arrested if I caught them if I was there.
 

feldy

Forum Captain
391
3
18
A) Lock your trucks...even when you idle. B) i frequently get yelled at or get bad looks when i block the street when on a call. If there is definitely no room to pass, i block for safety so no one will either hit me or my truck.

Just let them know you will be a while and if you are leaving soon then they wont be as upset as if they had to wait an hour or when able to do so, move the truck once the pt is in the back...

or of they complain a lot and are sitting behind you...walk REALLY slowly to the truck, get in, then get out check the doors (or something)...then get back in slowly.
 

Clipper1

Forum Asst. Chief
521
1
0
A) or of they complain a lot and are sitting behind you...walk REALLY slowly to the truck, get in, then get out check the doors (or something)...then get back in slowly.

It seems you are inviting bad PR and violence against EMS. It might not be against you but some other EMT who is trying to be a professional will probably be scrutinized harshly, screamed at, hit or shot because of your actions.

Part of being a professional is acting professionally regardless of how stupid others act and that also includes members of your own profession. When you acknowledge others behaving badly by behaving just as bad, you have succeeded in lowering yourself to their level. This is a win for the other side or who ever might be recording your behavior and giving a one sided view of the situation.
 

feldy

Forum Captain
391
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i would never actually do this...more of a humorous thought. We try alert PD when we know traffic will back up behind us if we are on a one way street that way they can divert traffic as needed...especially for prolonged scene times or if we have to drive opposed traffic to access a call.
 

TheLocalMedic

Grumpy Badger
747
44
28
Had a guy come up to the ambulance the other day while we were posting. He claimed he was an air quality inspector and that we weren't allowed to park and keep our engine running (mind you it's 90+ degrees out and not a lick of shade around). Guy's wearing civilian clothes and driving a Prius, so I wasn't really impressed.

When he wouldn't go away I told my partner to put the parking break on to make the ambulance go into a high idle (really more of a roaring idle). This pissed the guy off even more, and he started strutting around saying how he was going to "call someone who will come and write you a ticket".

At this point I had made up my mind that we just had to screw with him even more. I had my partner just keep on pressing the gas a little bit further to really get the engine screaming. This guy kept yelling louder and louder to be heard over the engine, and we just kept yelling back "What? What?"

He went away eventually, but not until he was red in the face and we were laughing like loons..
 
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