I am sure you mean no offence by your article but I have brought the issue of reporting on 'Emergency Services' to your editor previously (attached). I really enjoy the Journal and read it regularly and use it as my main source of daily news. This issue of applying a generic term to all Services who may be involved in emergency responses is particularly common in Ireland and used on a regular basis by most media. However, it is incorrect.
If you define 'Emergency Services' then the term would include many services and also implies ambulance/paramedic services. By extension are you stating that the ambulance service cut the car to pieces? I know that's not what you mean but applying the generic term implies paramedics were involved. Whilst I don't know the detail of the call, the incident nor any injuries of patient/s involved I can assure you that paramedics have very specific guidelines on when it is absolutely necessary to extricate a patient from a vehicle using spinal immoblisation equipment. Seldom would there ever be a need to cut a vehicle if a patient has already mobilised and moved around a scene. Thus, I would suspect paramedics would not have asked for the vehicle to be cut but rather this may have been a decision by the Fire Service. This is not to 'accuse' the Fire Service but it is within their guidelines to dismantle vehicles under certain circumstances.
Consequently, I believe your piece should state 'Fire Services' rather than 'Emergency Services'.
I would really like to see a day when journalists in Ireland correctly report on the role of our profession - paramedics. I would ask you to listen and read reports by Irish Journalists on how the discipline of paramedicine is reported. We seldom hear of positive reports on ambulance services, paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians. We never hear that the patient was treated on scene, for example, 'by paramedics from the National Ambulance Service' or 'paramedics from Dublin Fire Brigade', we typically hear that 'emergency services arrived and.... the patient was transported to hospital'. This is typical in Ireland and Journalists here are a long way behind your international counterparts.
Journalists here, to their credit, have moved from the 'ambulance driver' tag, which is the most derogatory label for any paramedic professional and should never have a place in quality reporting.
I really would like to give you and your colleagues the opportunity to witness what it is we do on a daily, 24/7 basis and I can guarantee you at the end of the experience you would at least appreciate our profession and maybe even consider giving paramedics the appropriate place in your headlines and articles. The very first step though would be to desist from this line of common reporting by clumping us altogether as 'Emergency Services', this is inaccurate and not something one would expect from a high calibre Journalist.
I really would like to see all your colleagues taking cognisance of our profession's concerns and hope rather than the perception that I've gone on a bit of a rant, that you understand our frustrations.
The Irish College of Paramedics would welcome your support on this issue and should you require any further information, please do not hesitate in contacting me.
Dr. Shane Knox
President of the Irish College of Paramedics
Advanced Paramedic Educator