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LAFD Required to Improve Patient Care

Fire department officials in Los Angeles have released a memo to their employees emphasizing the need for improvement in their communication with one another and patient healthcare.

Battalion Chief Daniel R. McCarthy sent out the memo requiring his fellow workers at the department’s 104 firehouses to report any patient or employee problems to authorities for immediate investigation.

The Investigation


Times newspaper took a deeper look at the LAFD as a whole in a recent article published and found that many problems between paramedics and patients are reportedly glazed over.

The report claimed that many patient injuries and deaths were never brought to the attention of regulators, bringing about a great deal of concern with the general public in terms of the LAFD’s professionalism and safety

The Times also discovered that the LAFD did not report that 30 paramedics had been suspended in the last two years due to questions of experience and safety.

Dr. Mark Eckstein, the department’s medical director, believes that officials should be notified when paramedics or EMT’s are given days off or fired for medical negligence. He also thinks the same should hold true when there are issues regarding the performance of medical procedures and mistreatment of patients.

Steps for Improvement?


In an interview, Eckstein claimed he now receives daily reports on any problems that arise within the fire department and paramedic community. 

Dr. Eckstein also said that the department is doing all they can to make sure he receives any legal claims and suits that are underway regarding the LAFD and patient care.

However, the Times found 13 cases in which he was unaware of alleged wrongful deaths, including three that went to court and received settlements for thousands of dollars. 

An example of the kinds of cases that are hidden from state officials include that of a Hollywood grandmother who recently passed away from pneumonia after paramedics misdiagnosed her with the flu and informed her there was no reason for her to go to the hospital.

Fire departments and ambulance companies are supposed to be held responsible for identifying these kinds of patient errors and are told to report them immediately to officials.

“Members should strive to elevate their level of professionalism and compassion for our patients and their families,” McCarthy wrote to LAFD employees.

(Source: www.firerescue1.com)

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