The Supreme Court’s landmark decision Friday on SSM has already started to ripple through the EMS community. The 5-4 majority decision that SSM is Constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment drew widespread praise from EMS administrators, and scorn and anger from field EMS crews.
“It’s a new day in America!” crowed John Q. Botomline, operations manager of Fast Response EMS in Milwaukee, WI. “This decision will usher in a new day for high-performance EMS around the country. Those backwards systems still dragging their feet will have to catch up with the rest of the country, get off the couch and into the rig, just like jack Stout intended.”
Los Angeles County system status controller Marsha Brady voiced her satisfaction with the Supreme Court decision as well. “I think it’s wonderful. It’s high time those rubes in flyover country caught up with the rest of EMS. It’s like they still think it’s the 1960s around here,” Brady said as she tapped an icon on her computer screen to illustrate her point. “Look at Rescue 51 right here,” she pointed. “I told them to go to Post 17 five minutes ago, and they’re still at Quickee Mart, probably playing arcade games. I mean, it may not look like much of a difference to you, but three blocks can be the difference between life and death.”
When we contacted the crew of Rescue 51, parked on a street corner near a gutted crack house in Compton, paramedic Joe Gage expressed displeasure at the decision while his partner Ray DeSoto squirmed in the passenger seat, trying to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. “I think it’s an abomination,” Gage stated flatly. “Government has no place dictating posting locations or advocating fluid deployment models. It’s none of their damned business.”
Gage pointed down to the fire station several blocks away, where firefighters played a spirited game of pickup basketball. “Look at that. We should be at that station on the corner of Haddam and Eave, spanking Engine 51’s butt right now. But noooo, they’ve got us posted over here in murder central on the corner of Haddam and Greave. It just ain’t right.”
“Everyone at headquarters is over there crowing like it’s the second coming of Jack Stout,” DeSoto fumed. “I tried to tell them that this decision wasn’t even about EMS, but not listening to field crews is a tradition over there.”
When informed that the Supreme Court decision referred to Same Sex Marriage and not System Status Management, a senior administrator at Emergency Medical Response in Little Rock, AR spoke under the condition of anonymity. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m really disappointed,” stated the crestfallen EMS manager. “We had just about whipped our crews into submission, and now you tell me the Supreme Court decision doesn’t even apply to us? That blows, dude. That really blows.”