Editor’s note: the following letters to the editor were received in the days following publication on page one of the Sept. 20 edition of The Lakeland Times.
To the Editor:
After retiring at the age of 57 and moving to Wisconsin, I decided to become an emergency medical technician. For the last 13 years, I have dedicated my time as a volunteer for the Presque Isle Volunteer Fire Department. It has been very rewarding to help the residents of Presque Isle and our neighboring communities. I would like to thank our town chairman, Mr. Marshall Reckard, for his professionalism and taking our complaint seriously. Mr. Reckard is an asset to our community. After reading the article in The Lakeland Times, I will be resigning as an emergency medical technician for the Town of Presque Isle as I can no longer work alongside our current EMS director. I am hopeful that a community nearby can use my skills.
I did not attend the town meeting on Sept. 16 as I felt our complaint, with all the detailed documentation to support it, spoke for itself. I believe the town supervisors, Mr. Carl Wolter and Ms. Cathy Logan-Weber, did not take the time to read our complaint thoroughly and appreciate the seriousness of it. Our complaint showed what we did, and why, and was substantiated by actual emails with dates and times. I believe Mr. Carl Wolter and Ms. Cathy Logan-Weber made their decision based solely on Donna Jukich’s testimony on Sept. 16. Even if I had attended, I believe the outcome would have been the same due to their lack of understanding on what can be included in our Patient Care Reports and only relying on Donna Jukich’s word. It should be noted that the three EMTs on this call who added their signatures to the original report have over 30 years total experience.
Patient Care Reports are legal documents and only the writer on the call has the right to make significant changes. In the National Academy of Ambulance Compliance Manual in the Amendments section it states “only the lead caregiver who wrote the original Patient Care Report should amend patient care information. Minor amendments to demographic information may be made by others.” Also, under the Legal Responsibilities it states “never to falsify or knowingly misrepresent any information in any aspect of documentation.” These are the same rules we were taught when I was taking the class to become an emergency medical technician. No one, even our EMS director, has the right to alter a report especially since she was not on the call. Suggestions yes, but it is our decision on whether we think they should be incorporated.
Our report was completed at 100% on July 14. Linda Novak and I added our signatures on July 14 and Cyndi Guzman on July 15. The only item missing was the EKG which had been transmitted to the hospital for their review while we were enroute. A copy of the EKG was given to Donna Jukich to scan into the report. This had been a common practice on past reports. This was also documented in our complaint.
For Carl Wolter and Donna Jukich to call me insubordinate because I didn’t follow her command is ludicrous. I did not obey her command as I knew what she did to be illegal.
Donna Jukich uploaded all procedures done from our Lifepak to our report and should have added her name upon doing so, but instead she chose to put the burden on me. When we saw this done on July 19, 2019, the crew on the call removed their signatures. This was also documented in our complaint. Donna Jukich then added our signatures back in to the altered report on July 21, 2019 which contained skills not in our scope of practice and submitted it to billing. The Patient Care Report was then closed and locked so we could not correct it. This was also documented in our complaint. Neither supervisor, Carl Wolter or Cathy Logan Weber, even asked her why this was done.
Cyndi Guzman and I called for Med 5 when we were paged as it was called in as a possible heart attack and we were going directly to the scene. Heart attack patients need an IV and medications as soon as possible which we cannot administer. Our ambulance arrived at 1308 (1:08 p.m.). We made intercept with Med 5 at 1314 (1:14 p.m.). In the six minutes before intercept, we attached leads to the patient and ran an EKG, transmitted it to the hospital and had time to do 1 blood pressure. That is why only one blood pressure was in our report. This was quite clear in our complaint. All the other information uploaded by Donna Jukich were procedures done by the paramedics. Contrary to what Donna Jukich claims, when the paramedics enter our ambulance, the care of our patient and reporting of information is now transferred over to them. The Lakeland Times article did not mention our intercepting with the paramedics during this call. During the 40 minute ride to the hospital, the patient was in the care of the paramedics, and yes, many more blood pressures were taken while enroute to the hospital, but it was for Med5’s report not ours. Yes, we assist them, but do not add any more information to our report. It is sad our town supervisors did not spend more time trying to understand how the report writing is done since it is a legal document and the town could be liable if it should ever come to that. It would have taken only a few phone calls to find out the truth.
All I can say is that I have done many Patient Care Reports the same way for the last 13 years with no issues. It is a sad day for our Town of Presque Isle, it did not have to come to this with a little effort on finding out the truth.
Linda Chantry, EMT Basic