First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Kollege Kids Kreate Khaos with Sensationalized Story about a 100 mph freshman EMS responder

Do I know a few people who need to read this! Too bad they wouldn't recognize the significance of it.

Objectionable Image of EMS Responder

Last week Candice King, a staff writer on the student-run The Ithican, wrote about freshman Joshua Cource's experience as a member of the all-volunteer Newton Volunteer First Aid Squad.

The first paragraph was troublesome for many EMS providers:

Freshman Joshua Couce has violated the speed limit on occasion. Couce might exceed 100 mph, but he is not behind the wheel of a sports car. He is driving an ambulance with an injured patient in the back.

You may want to stop and read the entire article: Voluntary response: College freshman focuses effort on providing emergency relief

(cue waiting music) Welcome back. Yeah, it got worse. 

More than 50 posted responses to the article, including this one, from Ben Abo (Pittsburgh) wondering about the level of certification for Mr. Cource:

My first shift in EMS was the day after I turned 16 in South Jersey. I, too, loved it. In fact, I've since had a great career as a paramedic, then physician and done a lot of EMS lecturing, mentoring, and research. I'm a huge supporter of collegiate EMS (in fact, I happily spend my Bday weekend every year to lecture at and take part in the National Collegiate EMS Foundation).

Again, there are a number of benefits even beyond patient care of having a squad on campus. But IF the ambulance can even get that fast, it shouldn't. There isn't a need. Furthermore, 40 hour course is for first responders… 110-120 for EMT basic, and a whole lot more for paramedic. Sooooo… which is it? @Michael Hayoun: right on. (Please see his posting below). @Josh Couce: Keep on the passion, but always be learning from things.

Accuracy, clarity and tone – the undergraduate challenge

The on-campus undergraduate experience includes testing limits, exploring options and making mistakes in a relatively secure environment. While far less insular than the campus of the 1960's, it still resembles a bubble of " near-adulthood."

This news article will serve as a "life lesson" for both Cource and King.

Just like the premature announcement of the death of Penn State Coach Paterno by student-run Onward State created a national media frenzy and the resignation of Managing Editor Devon Edwards.

Spending the last seven years working with undergraduate students, and their limit-testing learning, have made me less sensitive to the outrage expressed by many others.

Newton Volunteer First Aid Squad response

The Newton First Aid Squad regrets the comments that were made by Member Joshua Couce in the article published at The Squad would like to assure the members of the public and fellow emergency services workers that the actions described in the article are not in any way condoned by the Newton First Aid Squad. Mr. Couce had this article published without the knowledge or consent of the Squad and his actions described within the article were unknown to the Officers of this Squad until the publication of this article.

The Newton First Aid Squad does not condone the divulging of personal details of EMS calls to the public in any form nor does it condone the motor vehicle operations described within the article. The Newton First Aid Squad and its volunteer members strive to uphold the highest standards of EMS and these comments and actions are being taken extremely seriously.

Currently Mr. Couce has been suspended from the squad until a full investigation has been completed and any necessary disciplinary actions have been concluded. We regret that such statements were made as it negatively reflects on all aspects of EMS including both paid and volunteer EMS professionals and the Newton First Aid Squad who has proudly served the citzens of the Town of Newton since 1957.  FaceBook link HERE

The Scott Kier manifesto

A former New Jersey EMT, Scott "" Kier posted a response on his blog that was promoted by The Happy Medic.

Bad Publicity and Saving Face.

Scott makes three annotated points:

  1. The Newton First Aid and Rescue Squad – First of all, a full admission of what knowledge of the article prior to its publishing needs to be explored and put into public record.
  2. Joshua Couce – Joshua needs to post an apology to all that were affected by this article. (Including a personal apology to Scott). [see Scott’s comment]
  3. The New Jersey State First Aid Council, Maybe it is time to step in and offer them some guidance in how to handle the situation at hand.

<<<<<<< >>

Wow, Scott, this really got you angry. From my "keyboard commander" spot, it looks like using a 20 pound sledgehammer to swat a fly.














Organizational "Life-Lessons"

Scott makes some excellent points once you get past the anger.

The volunteer organization will need help in both responding to this crisis and in improving their public image. There may be issues with some of the incident pictures (license plates and patient faces) on their FaceBook page.

The state organization has an opportunity to move beyond clinical training. While NJSFAC provides college scholarships and reduced tuition, maybe some focused training on running a volunteer first aid squad in the 21st century would be helpful.

While the article did not provide identification of any patients, the description of a unique fatal event in a small town is far from anonymous.

Supervision and mentoring of younger members should continue until they are real adults, around 25 years old. Cource joined the first aid squad when he was 16. He is an 18 year old Senior Emergency Technician.

According to the article, Mr. Course is making a 400 mile round-trip from college to provide 12 hours of responder coverage to his hometown on Sundays. That's dedication!

Not sure that we need "the nuclear option" to resolve this issue.

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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