Blogs from Police &   
 other Emergency Service Workers

Police: Sally Mays Judgment

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

You may remember me posting at the end of last year about a High Court judgment ordering a new inquest after the death of Sally Mays in Hull in 2014?  The written judgment is now available to read and I think it’s interesting, not just for two particular reasons —

  • It taught me even more detail than I knew before about the particular circumstances leading to Sally attending the Miranda Unit in Hull and detail matters, in the end.
  • It explains why a new inquest is both necessary and lawfully required, despite the fact there is no criticism about the Senior Coroner’s handling of the original inquest and because the new inquest will not substantially alter the previous finding that Sally’s care was “lamentable”.

The legal claim is around the existence of information which was deliberately withheld / not disclosed to the original inquest and which, despite it all still pushing in the direction of lamentable care, seems to raise the possibility that new facts could be found about further opportunities to intervene before...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

It`s been quite a week for the topic of magistrates and the magistracy.  For the last decade or to be more precise since 2010 this government of Tories with a contribution from the Lib Dems, before its leader decided that one million $ per annum from Facebook was a more worthy job than politics, has steadily sold off half the country`s magistrates courts to a present level of 150. It has overseen the deliberate reduction in the number of magistrates from 29,270 in 2009/10 to 12,651 currently.  Perhaps the thinking was that with that 50% reduction in court buildings a similar reduction in magistrates would be commensurate. Of course the MOJ and the cabinet arse lickers who approved this decision forgot to consider that the numbers of offenders  would not co-operate by reducing by half the numbers of offences committed. That same disjointed thinking was not confined to the legal sector. Highways for England proudly announced during this same decade that by converting  the hard...

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Ambulance: Naloxone in Schools

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

Several years ago I sat in a meeting of an overdose committee and listened to a woman argue that we should have naloxone in all the middle schools.  I am a data person and I pointed out that middle schools are not where people are overdosing.  If you only have a limited amount of resources, you want to put those resources where they can do the most good.  On the rare occasion you might need naloxone in a middle school 911 is just minutes away.  Police, fire and EMS all carry it.  Someone will be there quickly.

A week ago a middle schooler (13-years old) in Connecticut died of a fentanyl overdose suffered while in school.  There has been a subsequent outcry to require naloxone in schools.  As a friend of mine, Mark Jenkins, the executive director of the Connecticut Harm Reduction Alliance, pointed out, “You have fire extinguishers in schools, but how often do you see a fire in schools? We have to become proactive in making sure we have responses in case an overdose takes place because it’s a...

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Ambulance: Two Red Lines

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

They say the omicron wave is past its peak here in Connecticut.  The infection rate is declining as are dailey cases.  Even wastewater measurements seem to say the wave is receding.

While we didn’t have the deaths we saw with the first wave (thank you vaccines), our hospital had record numbers of admitted hospitalized patients with COVID and are still near first wave highs.  How many of these patients were incidental COVID patients (admitted for something else who happen to test positive)? I don’t know.

From an EMS perspective, it seems like we are responding to more COVID patients than ever.  And from a front line health care provider’s perspective it seems more coworkers have tested positive than ever.  Some of this is attributable to the infectiousness, some to a definite laxing of mask/full PPE wearing (I still wear my mask everywhere).

But I am weary from gowning up, putting my arms through the decon suit, tying it around my neck and waist,  wearing an N95 mask, the elastic holding it tight to...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Many dozens if not hundreds of PhDs have been granted and millions of words written on the subject of juries and all that surrounds that ancient concept of a suspected offender`s guilt  being determined by his/her peers.  The whole process once the 12 (15 in Scotland) good men (and women) and true have been escorted to the jury room has been shrouded in secrecy on pain of custodial sentence for those who transgress.  When juries were assembled from a restricted class within the population it could be argued that the variations in knowledge, awareness, education and even religion were minimal.  With the obstacles to jurors` requirements having today been reduced to a bare minimum the aforementioned variations have increased substantially. It is therefore not unrealistic for some jury members to have more knowledge than their fellows of evidence brought before the court.  As an aside when I was active I listened
 to a defendant explain, as part of his defence, supposed facts about his eye condition at a relevant time during...

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Ambulance: 13

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

This past week in Hartford, a 13-year old boy brought some bags of fentanyl to school.  He later collapsed and received CPR from a school teacher.  EMS arrived and resuscitated the child, who died two days later in the hospital.  Bags of fentanyl were recovered from the scene and the boy tested positive for fentanyl.  Two of his classmates were also transported, but media reports were unclear whether or not the boys also used fentanyl or were merely exposed to it. 

A search of the grounds with drug sniffing dogs revealed 40 other bags of fentanyl hidden in various places in the school.

It was a tragic event.  

The paper referred to the death as an overdose.

His death was a poisoning.   

Overdose implies taking more than a regular dose.

Our drug supply is poisoned.  The problem with heroin/fentanyl in Connecticut is that no one can tell the potency of any individual bag.  Fentanyl is sold on the street here in small glassine envelopes mixed with a great amount cut. Each bag goes for $3-4 A typical bag may...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The trial and acquittal of the Colston 4 seems to have divided opinion of commenters along cultural lines; woke-v-conservative: self styled legal eagles who seem to value the letter of the law against those legal observers who value the spirit of that law when it comes into conflict with the letter. 

The action which precipitated the whole sorry affair was the death of a black man murdered by police in the state of Minnesota USA.  Apparently left leaning young white radicals cloaked in the shadow of some home grown black activists who themselves adopted the history of black slavery in America to their own political ends took it upon themselves to cause damage to the statue of an infamous slave trader of the 17th century. This trial could have been conducted in the magistrates court but the defendants opted for jury trial as was of course their right the charge being an either way matter. Whether or not such choice should remain in English law is another (contentious) matter.  The...

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Ambulance: COVID Non-Transport Protocol

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

The patient has a fever, headache and cough.  He can’t smell anything and he can’t taste his food.  He feels too short of breath to even get out of his chair. He sits there with his hand over his eyes as if not seeing might make how sick he feels go away. His sister says he’s been ill for a week.  She called 911 for him.  She wants him to go to the hospital and get tested.  She is counting on them making him feel better.

I am standing there in a gown that barely reaches my knees, N95 mask, covered by a surgical mask, a plastic face shield and gloves.  In my hand I hold the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Medical Services Non-transport Guidance protocol, which has just been activated in the city of Hartford for any patients wanting to go to the hospital in the north end, which is overwhelmed with patients.

The man’s BP is 100/52.  His heart rate is 120. He is breathing at a rate of 32.  His room air SAT is 96%.  His skin feels cool not hot.

He doesn’t meet the protocol. He needs IV...

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Ambulance: Recerts

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

I’m recerting PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Life Support) and CPR today in one all-day session. After this, I’ll be good for another two years. If you are in EMS, you can measure your career by how many American Heart Association recerts you have taken.  For me this is the 15th time for PALS and ACLS, the 18th time for CPR. It’s a lot of hours rehashing the same basic material.  It is pretty much universally required.  You have to maintain these three AHA certifications if you want to stay working in EMS.

When I started ACLS and PALS were nerve racking.  Not everyone passed.  Remediation and repeating stations was common. You had to study before and then do one on one sessions with ED doctors.  Now, all you do is watch videos, push on some mannequins, and take a multiple choice test that is hard to fail.

I am fortunate that our union contract requires the company to offer us the training at no cost, but still it is a day off of work.  I’m not saying knowing the subject...

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Ambulance: Omicron Thoughts

Written by RSS Poster Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic

Our ED has seen record volumes of patients in recent weeks, many with COVID.  Most of these COVID positive patients recently tested positive, and not feeling well with minor shortness of breath fever or body aches, come to the ED where they are evaluated and sent home.  Our in hospital COVID admissions are only 50% of the heights achieved during the first COVID wave of March/April 2020, and are 70% of the second lessor wave of November/December 2020, but exceed the small third and fourth waves of April 2021 and September 202.

Statewide, COVID ACT Now rates Connecticut at Severe Risk despite the fact that 74.6 % of our population is fully vaccinated with 88.6% having received at least one dose.

Many of our 911 calls are for these COVID positive patients not feeling well.  I have not seen any of the severe respiratory distress patients or the patients who appear okay, but who have oxygen saturations in the 70s like I saw during the first COVID wave.  This may be because omicron supposedly doesn’t infect...

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