Paramedic Discusses Trooper Quarrel On CBS Early Show
By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- More is learned about ambulance procedures in the wake of an altercation between an Oklahoma paramedic and an OHP trooper. Was it okay for the trooper to pull the ambulance over because they weren't running their lights and sirens?
"This gentleman needs to have his ability to carry a gun and a badge taken away so that no other individual, in particularly a patient has to go through this," said Creek Nation Paramedic Maurice White.
Maurice White's message was loud and clear on CBS' Early Show: his concern is for his patient. That concern is also clear in the dashcam video which recorded the altercation between White and OHP Trooper Daniel Martin.
"We've got to get my patient to the hospital," said Maurice White on the dashcam video.
The paramedic tried to tell the trooper they're transporting a patient to the hospital. But, that didn't stop the trooper from what White calls a fit of rage.
"He was in such a state of rage that maybe he did not comprehend. But, the video clearly shows he was told emphatically that we had a patient that needed to get to the hospital," said Creek Nation Paramedic Maurice White.
But, according to Trooper Martin's attorney, he didn't understand the urgency of the situation because the ambulance didn't have its' lights and sirens on.
"All Trooper Martin can go from that is that this is not an emergency. This patient in the back of the vehicle is not facing any kind of medical emergency," said Martin's attorney Gary James.
The patient, who was left alone in the ambulance, had had a fainting episode with chest pain and in an effort to keep her calm the paramedics didn't run lights and sirens.
An EMSA spokesperson says that's a common practice.
"By far, most of the time when we transport patients to the hospital, it is without lights and sirens," said John Graham with EMSA.
In fact he says they're used only in extreme situations.
"When we put them in the back of the ambulance, we tell them, we're gonna turn on the lights and sirens. We're gonna get you to the hospital as fast as we can because they need a procedure or an intervention we can't provide," said EMSA's John Graham.
The decision whether to use lights and sirens is made on a case by case basis.
Read the transcript of the CBS Early Show interview:
MAGGIE: WHY WEREN'T YOU FLASHING THE LIGHTS AND SIRENS?
MW: IT'S BEEN MISREPORTED THAT THE PATIENT WAS SUFFERING FROM HEAT EXHAUSTION, BUT THE PATIENT ACTUALLY HAD A FAINTING EPISODE WITH CHEST PAIN. AND IT'S COMMEN PRACTICE NOT TO RUN LIGHTS AND SIRENS WITH THOSE TYPE PATIENTS. IT REALLY EXASPERATES THEIR SITUATION.
MAGGIE: SO IF IT WASN'T INCREDIBLY URGENT... ONCE THE AMBULENCE FINALLY DID PULL OVER AND THE TROOPER APPROACHED, WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST LET HIM GO SPEAK WITH THE DRIVER WHICH IS WHO HE WANTED TO SPEAK WITH.... WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED?
MW: WELL BASICALLY I EXITED THE UNIT THINKING THAT THE DRIVER B/C OF HIS ACTIONS THE UMM, OHP OFFICER AND HAD AN EMERGENCY. BUT ONCE CONFRONTED WITH THE SITUATION THERE WAS NO WAY WITH THE PATIENT IN THE UNIT COULD I ALLOW MY DRIVER TO SPEND 20 MINUTES WITH THE TROOPER DISCUSSING THE POSSIBLE TICKET.
MAGGIE: WE SEE YOU RELATIVELY CALM WHEN YOU FIRST START TO SPEAK WITH THE TROOPER BUT HE IS VISIBLY AGITATED. AT WHAT POINT DID IT ESCALATE TO THE POINT THAT HE HAD YOU IN A CHOKE HOLD?
MW: THE TROOPER WAS IN A STATE OF RAGE FROM THE BEGINNING AND EVEN AFTER BEING INFORMED THAT WE HAD A PATIENT THERE WAS TOTAL DISREGARD
MW: SO HE STARTED IN A STATE OF RAGE AND SIMPLY ESCALATED FROM THAT POINT.
MAGGIE: DID YOU KEEP REPEATING TO HIM THAT YOU HAD A PATIENT IN THE BACK OF THIS AMBULENCE?
MW: NOT ONLY DID I REPEAT IT. BUT FAMILY MEMBERS CONSTANTLY REPEATED AND YELLED AT HIM THAT WE HAVE A PATIENT AND THAT THEIR MOTHER, WIFE WAS IN THE UNIT.
MAGGIE: HE SAYS THAT HE DID NOT REALIZE IT UNTIL WELL AFTER THE SITUATION INTENSIFIED. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE LESSON HERE?
MW: IF I HEARD YOUR QUESTION CORRECTLY.. HE WAS IN SUCH A STATE OF RAGE THAT MAYBE HE DID NOT COMPREHEND. BUT AS THE VIDEO CLEARLY SHOWS HE WAS TOLD EMPHATICALLY THAT WE HAD A PATIENT THAT NEEDED TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL SEVERAL TIMES.
MAGGIE: WHAT IS THE LESSON HERE. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH... DO YOU THINK THIS TROOPER SHOULD BE SUSPENDED OR IS THERE JUST AN OVERALL LESSON THAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY.
MW: THE BOTTEM LINE IS THAT AT THIS POINT, WE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE HIS BADGE AND HIS GUN AWAY B/C OF THE TOTAL DISREGARD HE SHOWED FOR THIS PATIENT AND B/C OF THE STATEMENTS YESTERDAY... IT OBVIOUS THAT NUMBER ONE, HE DOESN'T THINK HE DID ANYTHING WRONG AT THIS POINT. AND NIETHER DOES HIS SUPERIORS THINK HE DID ANYTHING WRONG.
MW; SO THIS GENTLEMEN NEEDS TO HAVE HIS ABILITY TO CARRY A GUN AND A BADGE TAKEN AWAY SO THAT NO OTHER INDIVIDUAL AND PARTICULARLY PATIENT HAS TO GO THROUGH THIS.
Over the weekend, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety released video from the OHP trooper's dash cam.
OHP trooper Daniel Martin's attorney talked with the media Monday afternoon.
Richard O'Carroll responded to that news conference Monday evening.
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