WJBK-TV’s Charlie LeDuff is at it again with his brand of advocacy journalism. The reporter is on a mission pushing for drastic improvements in the delivery of EMS in Detroit. Lately, LeDuff is making the case that the administration targets paramedics speaking out to the press about working conditions.
In this latest story, a delayed response to provide aid to a dying man is being investigated. LeDuff reports the paramedics have been assigned to desk duty during the investigation. Here are excerpts from the story and the reporter’s interview with medic Michael O’Neill:
LeDuff: How far where you away from that house when you got the call?
O’Neill: My station is Calvert and Linwood, so we’re saying about five miles.
LeDuff: How long did it take you to get there once you got the call?
O’Neill: According to what we’re told downtown seven minutes … once we got the call.
LeDuff: And the lady, it was 20, 25 minutes from the first time she called?
O’Neill: That’s correct.
LeDuff: So, how are you to blame?
O’Neill: Sir, that I cannot tell you.
Paramedics have said they are the scapegoats for exposing department incompetence and management that does not have a clue.
“The deal is the management retaliates against anybody that brings the truth to the public,” said Wisam Zaneih, president of Detroit EMS Association.
So, LeDuff called the fire commissioner’s office yet again, but this time he got a human being. Chief Jerald James of EMS said it is not a punitive action. They just want to get to the bottom of things. Don’t we all?
Below is a LeDuff Detroit EMS story that Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz posted earlier this month.