My columns run 900 to 910 words each, so I don’t always have space to get into every detail and angle of a story. Today’s column is an example of that: I have far more information about the death of Jeremy Davidson than I was able to fit into the space allowed, and a question that deserves exploring: Since Maryland law so well protects first responders from lawsuits, why wouldn’t Chief Niles and the Baltimore City Fire Department just offer Davidson’s mother, Lynn Weisberg, a conversation about what happened?
Why does the BCFD refuse to release an investigative report – assuming there is one – about how her son was treated in the last 90 minutes of his life?
If you were a parent, disturbed by what you saw on a video that recorded the EMT response to your son’s medical emergency, you would want answers, too. We all appreciate firefighters and paramedics — and the pandemic was certainly a hyper-stressful time for them — but their actions are not above question or review.
Harold Cohen, the emergency medicine expert quoted in the column, was a great help to me in analyzing what we saw on the video. He has decades of experience as a fire officer and instructor of paramedics. He thinks that the BCFD would have conducted an investigation based on Weisberg’s complaint, though I have no independent confirmation of that.
“These providers probably did a lot of soul searching after this call, and hopefully learned some things,” Cohen wrote me in an email. “I hope that the Baltimore City Fire Department EMS Quality Management Program was able to learn from this to make the changes needed to reduce the possibility of this happening again. …
“These types of incidents happen to many EMS and other medical professionals. They can become learning moments when handled appropriately. While I know that the city was concerned about litigation, being concerned with quality medical care usually protects EMS systems from litigation.”