There’s a video making it’s way through Facebook and the Fire and EMS blogs. Maybe you’ve seen it. Pay attention, there will be a quiz at the end.
Yeah. That’s the video.
Now, the quiz. Don’t worry, it’s only a few questions.
You are working a code in a living room of a home. The front door is open. Your pants are ripped, you’re wearing pink undies, AND you are having a really bad hair day. A member of the press is videotaping your back end doing compressions from the sidewalk or the street without your consent. Legal or not legal?
You have just stumbled out of your own bed after the best sleep you’ve experienced in months. While rubbing your eyes, you walk to your front porch to retrieve your mail. Unfortunately you did this in your Sponge Bob Squarepants pajamas, and for some reason a member of the press is there to take pictures. Can they legally do this without your consent?
You are in the back of an ambulance with Ronald McDonald. Or Bill Clinton. Or Sponge Bob Squarepants. A member of the press is standing outside snapping away while you take a blood pressure. They don’t have your consent, and they definitely don’t have your patient’s consent. Is this legal?
You are on the scene of a house fire in Podunk, USA. A member of the press covers this, and you happen to be in the shot. You really don’t want to be on the evening news and decide that the best way to handle this is to behave like a four-year-old who doesn’t want to take a nap. You throw a tantrum… ON CAMERA. IN UNIFORM. You then possibly commit battery. Just because you can.
In all of the above scenarios, it is perfectly legal for a member of the press to capture images of you and your patient.
That’s right. It doesn’t matter if you are on the job, a patient, or just unfortunately at home in your PJ’s. If you are able to be videotaped or photographed by a member of the press who happens to be on public property, you are fair game for the front page of a newspaper or the evening news. In some cases it’s even legal if they’re catching you while they’re on private property. If that news crew has permission from the hospital to be in that ambulance bay… They’re allowed to videotape you while you bring your patient in or while you happen to be cursing at dispatch on the radio.
I don’t know who the female is in this video. I don’t know if she was on hour 68 of a 72 hour shift, or if her back was killing her, or if she was just having a really messed up kind of day. I do know what all of those situations feel like. I also know this…
We are always exposed. We are always on display for the public to see. And they’re always going to judge us. The staff at the local ER, the nurse’s aide at the home down the street, the second cousin to the guy we treated last month. The little girl down the street from the call we can’t even remember doing two months ago.
If we are going to bitch about being treated like a third-class service, perhaps some of us need to really watch how we behave in public. We need to ALWAYS be on point. Always. Even when you want to scream and stomp your feet for whatever reason.
Be safe out there.
(Also, consider my writer’s block stomped on.)