Tuesday night in his State Of the Union address President Obama used the term Ambulance Driver to describe EMS workers. The comment was a blink and you missed it statement during his 65-minute speech. But it was enough to push many skilled paramedics and EMTs to voice their displeasure.National Registry of Medical Workers (NRMW) chief executive Vince Furnier, say his office received an overwhelming number of calls.
“Our phone system was overloaded. EMTs and Paramedics were calling in droves. Many were calling hoping we could use our lobbyists to force an apology from the president. We have been in contact with members of congress but are not very hopeful anything will be done.”
White house sources tell CallTheCops that their switchboard was also flooded with calls about the “Ambulance Driver” comment. In an effort to side step this brewing controversy all copies of the State of the Union have been edited to remove that comment. But for anyone who saw it live the disrespect will forever be remembered.
Paramedic James Hetfield was willing to go on record and say this.
“I am not big on political stuff but I always assumed the President held respect for the roles we in EMS play in saving life. When he called us that term, I suddenly questioned what I have been doing the last 14 years of my life. We get that disrespect all the time from cops, nurses and the newspapers. Someone in his office should know better.”
NRMW executive Furnier gave us something to think about…
“We find it interesting how the White House decided to edit the official videos of the speech versus issuing an apology. Much easier to avoid an issue than it is to admit a mistake I guess.”
Our White House source had this to say about how the president reacted.
“The president did not understand the resentment over the term Ambulance Driver. He said it is an accurate description of the job. Quote ‘they work in ambulances, an ambulance is a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle needs a driver, thus they must be ambulance drivers’. Those were his exact words… Let me tell you Obama was mad that the EMS community focused on some term and not his overall message of closing the gap on inequality and creating upward mobility.”
Only one member of congress would go on record with us, Rep Jim Hankle from Arkansas 5th congressional district.
“That comment was un called for. In my district I have meet with EMTs and Paramedics. I have had to have 1st responders out to my house for medical emergencies with family members. These are some skilled and trained medical miracle workers. They do much a lot more the drive ambulances. As such they deserve more respect than to be called drivers.”
CalltheCops will continue to cover this story if any new developments come in.