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A first responder's job is action without question

I came across a story that was a few years old, but it was a bit new to me.

It was a story about a Massachusetts firefighter who started a firestorm because of a post on social media.

According to the story by Dan Limmer, a paramedic himself, the firefighter posted this on his Facebook page:

"Narcan is the worst drug ever created, let the [expletive] bags die ... I for one get no extra money for giving Narcan and these losers are out of the hospital and using again in hours. You use, you should lose!"

And, rightfully so, Limmer took the poster to task for violating the public's trust in that, first responders, no matter their personal feelings or beliefs, will save your life, no matter what.

The reality, though, is that Narcan has truly changed the game for first responders and opioid users.

Unfortunately, I've had the opportunity to write a number of stories about the impact the opioid crisis has had right here in Franklin County.

Back in 2016, law enforcement noted that there were about two heroin-related deaths in Franklin County per week.

As a result, not just here, but across the country, the use of Narcan took off.

It is a nasal spray that helps reverse the effects of an overdose.

It was and is indeed a game changer and a lifesaver.

And, like a lot of things, it hasn't gone without abuse.

I've had paramedics tell me that they've gone on calls where they used Narcan to revive someone, only to be dispatched to treat that same person within hours of getting out of the hospital.

And, I think we all have heard stories now where opioid users have their own Narcan on standby, as friends stand ready to use the drug to revive them.

You can have your thoughts and feelings about Narcan, its practical purposes, its life-saving applications and, ultimately, its consequences -- both good and bad.

And, certainly, seeing opioids and, consequently, Narcan, abused, day after day after day, could weigh on a first responder and, perhaps, lead them to make the social media post I mentioned earlier.

But, you can't.

And, most importantly, they shouldn't.

Paramount to that, though, is they can't perform their jobs that way.

What if all first responders took that approach to a bunch of different situations?

What if a firefighter arrived at a church fire and refused to battle the blaze because they didn't agree with the religion being taught inside?

Beyond that, what if a paramedic refused to treat a car wreck victim because they knew they were drinking and driving and felt they "deserved" their fate?

Or, what if an officer of the law refused to investigate a case because they didn't agree with the life choice or some other defining trait of a victim in a particular matter?

Or, what if district attorneys refused to prosecute cases based on a personal bias or some other agenda that was wholly in conflict with the law?

Those kinds of things simply cannot happen or there would be chaos..

Those who serve in public safety and hold the public's trust don't get to make those calls while they are doing their job.

And, all of us out in the community benefit from passionate people who have a dispassionate approach to doing their job.


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Members Opinions:
May 10, 2019 at 10:15am
The poster did NOT violate the public's trust at all. No where in the post did they ever say this was how he/she performed their duties. They were just stating their opinion as they saw it from their point of view.

Until any of us have ridden 500 miles in their chair and have seen what they have seen, we should not think about judging them or presuming an "opinion posted online" is how they actually perform their duties. They are after all human and entitled to their opinion based on the facts as they know them.

What I read in that post was frustration at the "frequent flyers" that firefighter had seen in conjunction with their daily duties over a long period of time. I am sure it is frustrating to save the same person over and over and then they continue doing harm to themselves. It is a vicious cycle which will probably end one day with the Narcan not working on some people and there will not be a plan B to save them.

One point left out of all of this is the more someone gets Narcan the more of a resistance to it they build up. Meaning it can sometimes take 3 and 4 or more doses to bring them around so they can be taken on to the hospital to finish the process.

First responders do everything in their power to save someone only to have that person continue to do harm to themselves because they know there is going to be someone to save them. Hopefully the first responders do get there in time to save them because if they don't, the first responder then has to deal with the fact that despite their best efforts that person could not be saved and they have to go home at the end of their shift and figure out how to deal with that loss.

God please bless all of our First Responders and watch over them and help them to cope with the tragedies they see. Let them know that You have their back and are there to protect them.



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