It's me again going on another rant. I've been fuming for about a week now about an incident involving a very dear friend of mine involving harassment from police officers and EMT officials. This isn't the first incident with this friend, but it is the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back. I've seen examples of police officers and medical professionals overstepping their bounds on top of our collective civil liberties before, and I believe they do it out of some small egotistical power trip. Before I continue, however, let me be clear. I am not attacking ALL police officials and medical staff. I know there are good and heroic people that serve and protect to keep us safe from the "monsters" that threaten our safety and freedom and those that are there who want to make us healthier. I'm talking about the few people that feel they have to instill feel and use force to exert control for the purposes of insurances of safety, security and health.
In order to expound upon my point, I am going to give some examples of what I am talking about. I have one personal example, and a few national ones. These should drive my point home.
First, let me describe the problems with my friend that I have mentioned before. His name is Norm, and I'll start from the beginning. Norm suffers from severe migraines stemming from multiple concussions as a child. The headaches cause him so much pain that when a severe attack occurs, he blacks out a goes into convulsions that last only a few minutes. In addition, due to some childhood trauma, he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks that trigger his migraines. Due to this fact, he has to live on Medical Disability. Now my examples are of three separate incidents during the last three months after he has an attack in public. Is anyone else sensing a pattern?
The first incident happened while he was at the Main Office of his low income apartment complex trying to pay his rent. As he was leaving, he had a severe attack and convulsions. The office employees called the paramedics, which was good on their part as they felt he was in need of immediate medical attention. I would have done the same thing if I was unaware of his medical history. However, Norm has been dealing with his condition for almost twenty years now and knows how to handle these situations. As soon as he regains consciousness, he goes home, takes his medicine and lays down to rest and recover. As he is so experienced, it is his opinion that he knows what he needs to do to feel better, and doesn't require emergency medical attention (as this, for Norm, is routine and not emergency). The EMTs arrive, and as he is slowly recovering he thanks them for their help, but declines their services so he can go home and take care of himself. However, the EMTs decide, as they are not aware of his situation, to force him to go with them. He, again, tells them no (as I was under the impression we all have the right to do in this country). So they call the police to force him to go with them. The police arrive and threaten to arrest him unless he cooperates with the EMTs (to go to the hospital and get examined by a doctor that's going to perscribe him more medication, send him home, and bill him for the privilege). He refuses again, explains he doesn't live very far and he can get his medicine at home and recover. After a long drawn out argument with EMTs and police officers, he finally convinces them to let him go home.
The second confrontation, occurred while he was out to get groceries. He is on his way to the store when he has one of his attacks. EMT's arrived and the same thing happened. The police arrived, but this time asserted their authority to arrest this disabled person if he refused to go for treatment. They didn't bother to understand what he was dealing with, they just tried to cart him on an ambulance and ship him off. As the police wouldn't back down, he had no choice but to go (thus violating his right to refuse medical treatment). Then, at the hospital, he listed the medications he could have and the ones that he absolutely could not have, as he had severe side effect reactions. So, after the nurse gets this list, she administers one of the drugs that he told them he couldn't have anyway, and triggers a panic attack. As he finds this distressing, he informs the nurse (in a not so nice way) that she made a mistake. The nurse, who after all this, felt she did the right thing anyway, didn't want to deal with this overexcited patient, decided to release him and send him home before the side effects of the medication wore off. She kicked him out of the hospital. As he was arguing with her about the ethics of this, she called security to have him removed. Let me reiterate. This nurse, who mis-medicated my friend, called security to throw him out of the hospital after her mistake. As he was escorted out and arguing with security about the matter, a doctor intervened to help security. He grabbed Norm by the shoulder to throw him out. Unfortunately, for a doctor, he wasn't too bright. If he was, he would have read Norm's chart and seen that he suffered from panic attacks. When he grabbed Norm;s shoulder, Norm panicked, grabbed the doctors hand and used pain to remove the doctor's hand. Then he left and went to the nearest open pharmacy. Once there, he had another attack in line. So the pharmacist called in the EMTs (here we go again). The EMTs arrived. Norm explained the situation that he saw no reason to go to the hospital, as he was just thrown out of one. One EMT, Paul, got physically aggressive, so Norm, defending himself, broke the Paul's nose. As the police were called, Norm was taken outside to give his statement about his using self defense. Paul's partner verified Norm and he was allowed to get his prescription and go home. WOW. a whole day wasted by all just because authorities wouldn't allow Norm to assert his right of refusal.
This last time was the absolute worst of these civil violations. Norm was going home from paying his rent, when he had another attack. He recovered, took some of his medicine he had on him, and went home to relax. Unbeknown to him, someone saw the whole thing and called the authorities and told them he "popped some pills" and showed where he went. So, while Norm was laying down recovering, police and EMTs broke down his door and accosted him about the incident, causing (not surprisingly) a panic attack. Is this what we've come down to. people with difficulties not able to calm down and rest and recover in their own home.
This is one example that I know of personally. Others examples can include doctors like Conrad Murray or the doctor that prescribed for Heath Ledger. Doctors that care more about their bank accounts and prestige than they do about proper and responsible care for their patients. Police officers, like those that brutalize people (like Rodney King) without provocation. People who have no business being responsible for other people.
My personal belief is that any person that chooses to serve in a position of responsibility should check their ego at the door. They need to set aside their drives and desires and objectively look out for the welfare of those they are responsible for. Medical practitioners should care more about healing people and doing that job correctly and responsibly, not caring more about liability, malpractice and seeing as many patients in one shift as though patients are on a conveyor belt assembly line. Police officers should look to protect people, not harass them when they are not harming or infringing on others. There has to be a way to screen candidates for these jobs, and once they're hired, to properly train them in a way to do their job in a way that best cares for and protects people while preserving their rights and civil liberties. However, until that happens, we have to be leery about our protectors. Like the comic book said, "Who watches the Watchmen." Let me know what you think.