> I have been a paramedic since 1993, and have immobilized injured hockey
> the ice. Getting to the patient--and moving the patient off the
ice--often is the
> biggest challenge. When we're wearing our non-spiked uniform boots, most of us
> can't stand up on an icy street, let alone on a glass-smooth ice rink.
From what I
> saw of the accident and subsequent immobilization (in cutaway footage on
> looked like medical personnel there did the best they could. I was a little
> worried when I saw them attempting to slow down as they slid so close to
> hard to maneuver around injured patients without sliding into them and
> worsening the patient's situation.
Thanks for bringing your perspective to this.
> In many states, statutes and insurance both require ambulance personnel to be
> present during the entire event (and that includes the warm-up). If EMS
> were at Tatiana's side in 3 minutes, they were already there in the arena.
Indeed they were...as I said earlier, it is simply not true that there
were no medical personnel at the event. Of course there were. They simply
did not come racing onto the ice right away. And that in and of itself is
> Again, I work in the Houston area, and I'm not familiar with
> But nationwide, most arena-based standbys involve backing the ambulance
> arena's service bay or other designated emergency vehicle entrance, which
> typically isn't far away from the performance area.
One fortunate aspect of this accident is that it took place on the side of
the ice closest to the Zamboni bay, rather than on the opposite side. I
would assume the ambulance was backed into the same bay when needed.
> One of the biggest complaints we in EMS hear from patients and their
> the "What took you so long?!?" question. Time tends to stand still in
> situations, and often what seems like 15 minutes to a patient is actually 5
> minutes in real time.
That's probably true, too. It's also much easier to say how quickly
*someone else* should have acted, with the benefit of hindsight.
> I don't know what the emergency response parameters are in Pittsburgh,
> minutes does seem a bit lengthly for a regular response--but as with
> areas, I'm sure Pittsburgh faces hourly challenges with traffic and high call
> volume. If those Pittsburgh medics dealt with what we deal with here in the
> Houston area, I'd bet that traffic was a big factor. This is why first
> are so important at such a big event, where crowds and traffic often prevent a
> quick response--first responders can size up a situation and begin treatment.
> Another factor might have been other emergencies that may have occurred in the
> arena or in that area of Pittsburgh at the same time. The next closest
> (which might be an additional 5 to 7 minutes away, traffic forgiving)
> been called in that situation. When that 911 switchboard lights up with
> calls from 12 different locations all in the same response area, public safety
> personnel do the best they can to get there as soon as they can.
Not only that, but they surely wanted to get their patient to a hospital
with a trauma center that could handle this kind of injury best. That
means the geographically closest hospital may not be the first choice. I
don't know Pittsburgh so I can't say how close Mercy is to Mellon compared
to other hospitals, but that may have been a factor in how quickly Tatiana
could get to the needed hospital.
> I am thankful that the medics were able to assess and immobilize Tatiana in a
> sedate and non-hostile environment. There is nothing worse than trying
to do your
> job in an cacophanous arena, especially if it was a hockey-related fight
> fans are none-too-pleased. My partner was hit in the forehead by an
> had been thrown from the stands as we gingerly slid our way off the ice
> immobilized, injured player.
I guess we don't have to ask where that was, do we? ;-) The scary part is,
I read this and the incident did not strike me as at all strange. "Oh
dear, someone got hit with an octopus at a hockey game." Sheesh...you'd
think people would know better, though, than to hit an emergency person
with anything while that person was transporting someone with an
> The fans had thrown trash all over the ice and
> players were still yelling at each other from their benches. I remember
> able to hear the injured player's weak voice as he tried to speak to us,
> the crowd was so loud. It was just awful. The Pittsburgh incident was totally
> different and it was a relief to see that.
It truly was. The crowd was utterly cooperative.
> It sounds as if Tatiana will be fine. It certainly could have had a different
> outcome--what an awful mechanism of injury, to fall from such a height and be
> unable to block her fall. She's very, very lucky.
So far, so good. Keep her in your thoughts, all. At least she seems to
have been treated like the proverbial crystal vase this week.
I'm in Ohio. Fall down and worship me.