During the epic flash flooding in Colorado this past September, motorist Roy Ortiz was rescued from his inverted and partially submerged automobile at great risk to a number of rescuers.
To this news I have to ask: Really? Really?? Really???
I understand that Roy has been through a lot. He undoubtedly saw his life flash before his eyes… I’m sure repetitiously as he survived in a “small air pocket” for what is estimated to be over 2 hours. I understand that healthcare is expensive, it’s really all that I’ve heard about for what seems like the last 10 years. I understand that after a traumatic experience like that, there is going to be some psycological scarring. I get all of this.
But at what point and time do we hold people responsible for their own action/inaction?
It mentions that Roy Ortiz blames the County of Boulder for not closing the road. Okay, but why was Roy Ortiz driving? Torrential downpour, flash floods reported through the region, and he decides to go cruising? Was he evacuating to a safe place? Was he trying to reach a loved one in danger? In dire need of eggs, milk, and bread? Because that never made it into the news reports. Is Roy Ortiz a victim of, for lack of a better term, an act of God? I think most people would agree with that. So why is he suing the rescuers and not the Church?
The Part Where I Really Irk The Kumbaya Providers
You’ll often hear (in various forms and different verbiage) the message that it is important to remember as a provider that the emergency is not about you, it’s about the patient. The entire job is always about the patient. I freely admit that I have explained this very same concept numerous times, partook in the repetition of the unwritten rule, and have consciously had to remind myself of it when under extreme adverse situations that did not necessarily have to be that way.
That concept is as true as retail’s “the customer is always right” mantra… meaning it’s a lie. The same as the cake*.
The calls we respond to affect us. The lives we preserve and the lives that are lost affect us. The people we treat, for better or worse, affect us. To deny otherwise is to deny ourselves the very thing that we are trying to preserve.
So why aren’t we suing those who call us for the negative affects those calls have on us? Why aren’t we “preserving” our rights for the aftermath of bearing witness to the atrocity of others brings? Why won’t we have the opportunity to recover the cost of our losses?
Because this is our job. We know this (or should know it) going into the field and we either accept the potential repercussions… or we find something else to do.
If Roy Ortiz actually wins this lawsuit, that would be enough to give me tremendous pause about continuing in this line of work. I would have to wonder if society, in its current state, is deserving of the sacrifices I would be making. That’s just how much this situation disgusts me.
Feel free to leave your judgmental opinions in the comments…