I’m writing to express my anger and frustration with recent statements made by two candidates for the El Dorado Hills Fire Board. According to your article, Craig and Sherry Petersen are proposing significant changes to the delivery of emergency medical services within our district. There are so many errors and inaccurate statements that I hardly know where to begin.
I’ll focus on what frightens me the most. I’ve been a paramedic for 24 years, beginning in New York City, at various locales in the Bay Area, and currently here in El Dorado Hills. Arguably, I have a fair amount of experience in saving lives. The Petersens’ justifications for changing our emergency medical delivery system, which is designed by senior fire officials and medical experts, are based on their ignorance of modern protocols and procedures.
First, allow me to clarify some terms that the Petersens (and to be fair, anyone without experience or education in emergency medicine) misunderstand. The term “load and go” is an oxymoron. Every patient requires an on-scene evaluation prior to transport. No patient, even in critical trauma, is just picked up and driven away. They then stated that, “Stroke and heart attack victims require little stabilization.” They are 100 percent wrong. Heart attack victims, for example, require immediate CPR, IV access, defibrillation, various medication administrations, and intubation — all tasks performed on scene by a team of trained paramedics prior to transporting to the appropriate hospital. In fact, modern treatment protocols, designed by actual emergency physicians, RNs, and paramedics, suggest performing these stabilizing treatments on scene, prior to transporting, due to the improvement in task accomplishment and patient outcomes. In following these protocols, with a crew of five to six medical professionals, we are usually able to transport within 10 minutes.
Craig and Sherry Petersen have demonstrated their desire to radically alter our department’s deployment plan of firefighter-paramedic equipped engines, despite the fact that our deployment system is mirrored by all of our neighboring districts (Folsom, Sac Metro, Roseville, Elk Grove, etc). Why do all local districts deploy their assets in the same manner? Because it works! The Petersens use of terms common in emergency medicine (“golden hour” “load and go”) demonstrates that they’ve read a couple of articles or the introduction to EMT curriculum. As the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Their professional experience is as a nutritionist and an insurance broker.
To be fair, with the exception of Jim Hartley (retired fire chief) and Greg Durante (retired volunteer firefighter), the other members of the board also lack medical and fire experience. But here’s the difference: they don’t profess to know or seek to radically alter a system that works. They rely on their senior staff, fire chiefs and senior medical personnel to advise them.
Please don’t allow this lack of knowledge and experience to affect the lives of the citizens of El Dorado Hills, both young and old.
As a resident of El Dorado Hills and professional paramedic I strongly support John Hidahl and Jim Hartley for re-election.
El Dorado Hills