Dale's Personal Journal

Just a Bunch of Me Stuff

Disrespectful Paramedics and Fire Department Personnel in San Diego

September 29, 2018

This happened to me on September 29th, 2018 at around 6:00 am. I had a wonderful little confrontation with EMS/Fire personnel this morning. It did not seem to matter to anyone that I have been in severe neuropathy related pain these past several days. Yes, I was crying and moaning when the pain was stabbing at its worst, up to an 8 or 9 many times. This is nerve pain, and it is very intense even though the pains do not last long. The pains come in wave that can last several seconds, and are made worse as I walk or otherwise put weight on my legs. Somebody called 911 and EMS/Fire responded. I have been trying for two days to get more pain medicine to stop the pain in my feet and calves, but my doctor seems to keep putting roadblocks in my way. Now, it is the weekend and I have no pin medicine to help me with this.

They were extremely disrespectful, including calling me names like" asshole"" and "jerk, and telling me to "stop my shit," or something to that effect. As usual, they did not listen to much of what I said, so I had to raise my voice to get anything across to them. Then, they accuse me of being disrespectful and yelling at them. It does not seem matter that I have a long documented history of severe anxiety and panics plus stress issues. Is this what I am to expect every time I feel I need emergency aid? I will absolutely not call 911 for help anymore, regardless of how bad I might need help.

These EMS/Fire personnel obviously already thought they knew everything about me they needed to know. I just wanted them to leave, and told them so. They said they were going to stay until they got my vitals and took care of me. They wanted me to go to the hospital, but I refused, and had to sign a form stating that against their advice I was not going. Looking back, I now wish I had not allowed the Paramedics to do anything to me, including taking my vitals. I asked, and then told them, more than once to leave. I wish I had refused to sign their form and just kept insisting that they go away and leave me alone.

This is the second time I have been abused in this way by Paramedics of American Medical Response and/or San Diego Fire Department personnel. The companies in question here are American Medical Response (the ambulance company) and the San Diego Fire Department. Apparently, noise I might make matters much more than whether I am well or not. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF PEOPLE TREATING ME THIS WAY, AND THAT IS WAY TOO MUCH!

The first time this happened was on August 23rd, 2018 at around 2:30 am. The account of that encounter follows.

I fell in my room after I got back from using the restroom. The four restrooms are shared amongst all the rooms, so I have to walk to get to them. I fell to the floor when I was rearranging my room so I could go to bed. I got a flashing in my eyes just before I fell, and was disoriented before I fell. I fell backwards and hit the back of my head hard on the wall. I was sitting up with my back against the wall. I called the night watchman and told him I had fallen and could not get up. He started giving me a hard time about him not being able to help me because he did not want to hurt himself. I told him OK, that I would call 911, and disconnected the call. I did not know what else to do, so I called 911. The night watchman came to my door and wanted me to open the door. I had already told him I was sitting on the floor and could not get up to open the door when I talked to him on the phone. He said he had to go get the key to my room, and returned a few minutes later and opened my door. He was still giving me a hard time, so I told him to go away because I had called 911. He left, and a few minutes later a young guy came to my door. I asked him who he was, and he told me he is a manager here and asked what happened. I told him what had happened to me. I can not remember our exact conversation. He left and pulled my door all the way shut until it locked.

I was still on the phone with the 911 operator when the fire department and paramedics arrived. They also wanted me to open the door, but I told them I was on the floor and could not get up. They kept insisting that I open the door and I kept telling them I could not do it because I could not get off the floor. I heard one of them tell somebody else that I could walk, which is true. They told me if I did not open the door they were out of here.

I guess they must have gotten the night watchman to open the door because they eventually came in. They asked me why I closed the door and I told them I had not closed the door. They asked me how the door got shut and I told them about the manager and that he had shut the door all the way when he left. They accused me of yelling at them through the door, but I was just trying to make sure they could hear me, which is what I told them. They told me I was upsetting my neighbors. They questioned me again because somebody had told them that I had closed the door. I was getting really upset at this point and was starting to have a panic or anxiety attack because I was not able to resolve this situation. I have no idea how somebody outside my room could possibly have known what I was doing in my room when the door was closed. The firemen and paramedics chose to believe the person who had told them I had closed my door. They insisted I had shut my door because they were just going by the facts they had, when they also had my. There is no way they could have possibly been able to correctly tell who was giving them facts and who was telling them lies. I do not know why they chose to believe the outside person and not me. I told them again that I had fallen and could not get up from the floor. Finally, two of the firemen helped me get back to a standing position.

Then, they started asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital, and I was not sure because I did not get any real help there the day before when I fell. I told them the hospital would not help me and they started asking me why they were here then. I was getting more confused and axious for this to all be over, so I said I needed to go to the hospital but they would not help me. The firemen kept asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital, so I finally said I did. They helped me walk the few step to the gurney and get on it. They saw a single bedbug, so they wrapped me all up after I was on the gurney. They wheeled me to the freight elevator and got me on it. The one guy did not really know how to operate the elevator and it stopped between floors. They finally figured it out and we got down to ground level. They wheeled me around to the ambulance and put me in it. The paramedics were Tyler Anderson and Josh. I do not know Josh's last name but he has a mustache. They were Medic 11. Josh was a real ass to me all along, and kept accusing me of yelling at them, which I tried to correct. Josh would not believe me and did not understand that I was having a panic/anxiety attack and was having problems communicating. Josh keep harassing me about various things and would not listen to anything I said because he was apparently so sure he knew what kind of person I am and that he already knew the truth. I feel I do not deserve to be treated the way the firemen and paramedics treated me. I classify their treatment as abuse. This was not professional and is no way to treat a person who is injured or sick. Unfortunately, I did not get the names of the firemen or the number of the engine that responded to my call. I am sure this information can be easily found because all calls they respond to are supposed to be logged with date and time.

Finally, we got to Mercy Hospital and they got me inside and I was put into examination room B4. A nurse came in, took my vitals, and asked if I was hungry. I said yes, and she went away for awhile and returned with some cherrios cereal with milk, orange jello, and some saltine crackers. She left again and I was left alone for over two hours with no call button. Later, the nurse told me they were going to discharge me because there was no medical reason to keep me. I told her I had not seen a doctor yet, and she said I had and that Dr. Brunner did not think there was any reason to keep me any longer. I do not remember seeing Dr. Brunner or talking to him, and I am not at all sure he actually came to my examination room and talked to me. That should have been an indication that something was wrong with me.

Since I was being discharged, I got my shirt and shoes and put them on. I already had underwear, socks, and running shorts on. I was told I would be sent home on the shuttle. In a little awhile two people showed up to my room with a gurney. I told them I had to use the bathroom, and they said OK. When I came back out into the hall I asked them what the gurney was for and they told me it was for me. I told them I was going home on the shuttle and they said they were here to take me home and that the hospital had called for the gurney this time. So, I got onto the gurney and they got me all secured and wrapped up like when the paramedics had brought me in. We got to the hotel and they parked right in front of the main entrance at 720 Fourth Avenue. They got the gurney with me on it out of the ambulance and I told them I could not go in that entrance because there were stairs I would have to go down to get to the elevator. They asked me how I get into the hotel and I told them about the G Street entrance around the corner and that there were no stairs to get to the elevator. They asked if they could just take me around the corner on the gurney and I told them they could and that is what they did. They got me into the hotel and I told me they could just let me off here so they did. I thanked them, got my walker and headed straight to the elevator because I was embarrassed at being brought back like this.

So, this is how our Paramedics and San Diego Fire Department personnel treat those of us who are disadvantaged and/or vulnerable in some way. To say that this kind of treatment of those needing emergency medical aid is unacceptable is a gross understatement. It should not matter who a person is, where they live, or anything else about them. If we need help, we need it now and nothing should prevent us from getting it. We do not deserve to be disrespected, called names, and abused in any way such I have been in recent encounters with Paramedics and San Diego Fire Department personnel. Something needs to be done about this now, and it can not be allowed to keep happening. This all makes me wonder how many other low income. disabled, or otherwise vulnerable people get treated this way every single day.

By Dale