Upset over EMT response

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 12, 2013 

I am a person with physical challenges; I had a frightening experience. I have an intrathecal pump. This device allows a steady dose of medication to control pain and spasms related to my cerebral palsy. It was time for a refill. It should be almost as easy as having an injection, but the port was missed. Most of the medication went into my system.

Within minutes, I could hardly speak. By the time the EMTs arrived, I was very confused. I had a vague idea that there was an argument going on; I could not understand why the EMTs were not rushing to get me to St. Joseph's. They did not view it as an emergency. They felt I could wait 40 minutes to catch the bus to the hospital, and another 30 minutes to get there!

After my husband threatened to sue, they changed their minds. They still didn't feel that my life was in danger; they didn't rush, nor turn on the lights and siren! When I spoke to the paramedic supervisor, he said my record reflected that I was stable and responsive! Yet, all questions had to be addressed to my husband and/or my caregiver!

Should the paramedics be given that kind of responsibility on so little training? Did they see the power chair and assume that that was my normal mental capacity? Any time there is an overdose involved, that is a very serious matter and it must be treated as such! I spent 4 days in ICU!

Katherine Baker of Bellingham

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