BEDSIDE MANNER

I don't usually do the "content warning" thing, but let me explain a few things about this video before you see it. Despite the alarmist title and the (deserved) reputation of Live Leak as a purveyor of gore, you're not going to see a man fed through a wood chipper. The video was taken by a bystander after a drive-by shooting in Philadelphia. A stray bullet struck the man in the blue t-shirt in the abdomen. His t-shirt has blood on it, but that's the extent of the horror movie gore. The reason I'm posting it is to draw attention to what happens when the police arrive at minute 4:30. The guy survived and wasn't shot by law enforcement, but in some ways I think this video is as disturbing as the many others we've seen where the victim isn't so lucky.

I am certain that being in professions like healthcare and law enforcement requires a good deal of emotional detachment. You will see horrible things every day and getting somewhat numb to it is a coping mechanism. Even if you started out as someone who cares a lot, the constant exposure to death and blood and the horrible things human beings do to one another would wear you down. I'm sure a Philadelphia police officer has seen enough people with gunshot wounds that he or she will no longer react with, "My goodness! This man needs help immediately! Sir, be calm while I tend to your wounds!" Rationally, we would not expect big city cops to fluff our pillows and rub our boo-boos. It makes sense that they would have something of a no-nonsense bordering on gruff approach to yet another shooting. Nonetheless there is a certain level of communication skills we expect in that line of work, and the ability to make some kind of connection with the general public and to calm people in a crisis are both necessary skills.

That said, you'd think maybe – just maybe – that in the spirit of professionalism they might be able to do a little better than "Hey get up, asshole" followed by pulling a man with a gunshot wound in the abdomen to his feet by the collar of his shirt before making him walk across the street to be shoved into the back of a squad car. Maybe act like you care just a little. Maybe wait for an ambulance or paramedic, given that a gut-shot man is at risk of dying and is in a tremendous amount of pain. Maybe give a half-assed effort at saying something calming or comforting. Remember as you watch the video that this guy is not a suspect; he's an innocent bystander who took a stray bullet sitting on his porch. Notwithstanding the fact that cops are supposed to treat everyone, even Bad Guys, professionally, you would expect that a bleeding guy who did nothing wrong would be most likely to get a sliver of kindness.

Short of assuming that this is some kind of one-off occurrence, which crosses the thin line separating optimistic and naive, it's not very difficult to figure out why relations between the community and law enforcement are so bad in urban areas. What do we expect residents to think about the police when they act like trash collectors, grabbing someone who has been shot, tossing him in a car, and driving off without a word? Nobody should be expected to work 8-10 hours per day with a bright smile plastered on their face, but come on. Even when we're neither asking nor expecting a lot of the police they find ways to disappoint.

42 thoughts on “BEDSIDE MANNER”

  • Gosh, I just can't imagine why huge swaths of the population are wary of and distrust the police, can you? /s

  • c u n d gulag says:

    I bet that in the very near future, when the police arrive, the first thing they will do is set up some sort of cell-phone blocking mechanism which will prevent citizens from video recording what they say and do.

    Hell, that's going to be easier and cheaper than retraining all of the police officers in the country!

  • Human decency is way too much to ask for from cops. But I would expect them to at least be smart enough in a CYA sort of way to not place someone that is in shock in their squad car. Especially when they are videotaped. It never occurs to these morons that if he died, they could be fired??!!!

    Good God, just do the normal cop stuff, first aid, gather facts, secure the scene, and call the paramedics.

    What a couple of dumbasses.

  • I'm normally among the first to decry cop misbehavior, but I'm not seeing snything here other than the cops getting a clearly distressed man moving toward a hospital as quickly as possible. And I'm pretty sure they were calling him "boss", not asshole or boy. This may be a situation where the cops know an ambulance isn't going to get there fast enough. And the neighbors don't seem at all concerned about it….

  • @ BMAC — Sorry. That "explanation" doesn't fly. I worked as an EMT. I could go into a lengthy explanation of why what the cops did was wrong and life threatening, but let's just say it was. If you ever encounter someone who has been gut shot — unlesss it's a war zone or something — do not, repeat do not, drag them to their feet, frog march them across the street, toss them in the back of a car and drive to a hospital. That's how you kill someone.

  • Alan Christensen says:

    Daphne, as an English major I agree that sentence structure matters, but in the hierarchy of things that matter I'd place it somewhere below human lives (and certainly black lives).

  • @skipper

    I saw the exact same thing. Why wouldn't these first responders understand this as well????

    I understand that if you score too high on your Wonderlic, don't expect the force to offer you a job, but honestly Vince Young and Jeff George should be able to figure this out.

  • Skepticalist says:

    Pretty disgusting.

    The poor guy got enough of a workout from his friends although with good intentions.

  • Got my EMT license in MA (let it lapse though, as the job don't pay jack). That was reckless endangerment. The guy caught a bullet in the gut. He could well have had it go through his spine. In the first 4 minutes he does nothing that would make me rule out that possibility.

    And they jerked him like that? WTF?

  • LOL @Daphne. Get over yourself.

    Sometimes sentence construction does matter, but in this case it didn't. Everybody reading this (except Daphne apparently) knew exactly what Ed meant. The alternate meaning that she suggested doesn't make any sense in context.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    @skipper:

    Speaking of which, where the fuck was the ambulance?

    In Los Angeles (as far as I've seen), the procedure here, assuming the victim needs to be arrested, is to take him to the fucking ER and handcuff him to a bed there.

    Is there no budget for anything except *important stuff* like this now?

  • This guy absolutely should have been treated first by paramedics and transported by ambulance. I had to watch that video section twice because I thought I missed the ambulance. Nope, wasn't there. I kinda amazes me, because most cops I've encountered in the ED won't take a drunk to jail without having them "medically cleared" any more.

    It depressing how this keeps happening, even as these events, and subsequent deaths, get more and more news exposure. FFS, at least FEIGN concern when you have a guy (white, which is why he probably wasn't arrested in this case) filming you.

    I admit, I did laugh out loud at the "you don't see this kinda thing in Texas!" line. Not from the Waco area, apparently:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/06/what-waco-police-wont-reveal-about-the-shootout-that-killed-9/394892/

    (or Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, or San Antonio)

  • I am an EMT also. And we do not treat people that way. However, years ago response times in parts of Philly were like 30 minutes plus. So the cops tossed victims in the back of a van and hauled ass. That is what it looks like to me. Believe me, I am not cop apologist. I expected to see this and think "what assholes!" but I think it could very well be that aid would have been 15 or 20 out, and they may have had him in a trauma center in 10 minutes. Sure he could have been jacked up by being moved around like that, but he might have bled out waiting. We were always taught that there was no excuse for delivering a well packaged patient dead.

  • Whatever happened to applying pressure to the wound? Nobody knows anything about first aid?

    I don't think it's that bad. Especially if they know that an ambulance will be a long time coming, for whatever reason. He's still capable of walking, they're going to "assist" him to the vehicle and hopefully take him to a trauma center.

    Was the whole situation what you would read in, "Ideal Paramedic Treatments, volume 1"? Maybe not. But only a tiny fraction of the human race can expect a well-equipped ambulance staffed by well-trained paramedics to attend to them immediately after calling. If you can't get that, having someone toss you in the back of a pickup and haul you to a trauma center is really not a bad alternative.

    Any awkwardness in carrying the guy seems to be driven by not wanting to get blood on their clothes. Which you may say is tacky, but hey, dry cleaning is expensive.

  • I'm not seeing the grievous here. Cop transport for gunshot wounds is policy here and has been for years. It's faster and no less safe than ambulance transport. Also, those cops called him Boss, which is not disrespectful. We're just not all that "Hey, y'all!" up here.

    I have a case of the ass with the police, as any sensible person should, but this is as close to rainbows and unicorns as you’re going to get. This is Philly—no one’s going to pet you on the head and say “There, there.”

    And yeah, I have the lapsed EMT cert and Army ER medic experience and a degree from a democracy-undermining liberal arts university and a biracial kid and an expired ACLU member card around here somewhere, so hold your fire. Don’t hate us for this, hate us for Hitchbot and Rocky VII: The Geriatric, coming this fall to a theater near you.

    http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-04/news/32007368_1_shooting-victims-officers-transport

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    A black man walked into the station and stood by the desk, mumbling and holding his hands over his stomach, which was bleeding. He had been in a fight and somebody cut him. The sergeant looked disgusted. He handed the man a newspaper. The man looked confused and held the newspaper as if to read it. "No, dummy," the sergeant said, "go on over there by the wall and stand on it." He didn't want the man bleeding near the desk. The man did as he was told, the blood dripping on the paper. The sergeant told the patrolman to call downtown to the radio room. "See if you can get the wagon to take this guy to the county." About an hour and a couple of pints of blood later, the paddy wagon came and took the man to the county hospital. There were at least two private hospitals closer, but they did not welcome blacks in their emergency room.

    —from "Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago" by Mike Royko

    That was written in about 1970, describing something probably from the early Sixties. The more things change…

  • Like most Americans these days, it seems that the cops just don't give a fuck about anyone but themselves. Listen to Limbaugh and Fox all day, and you can't help becoming a hardened, angry, resentful, selfish bastard.

  • i'm sure all those above who think the cops are acting appropriately would feel exactly the same way I they were, or knew, that guy.

  • The title of this post is "bedside manner", and I think that's about what this comes down to: the cops involved are brusque, rude, and uncaring in their demeanor. And it would have been better if they had arranged an ambulance for him. But from what I'm reading, there are neighborhoods in every major American city where you'll wait an hour for an ambulance. So, if I were this guy, I would rather be taken to the hospital by the cops than wait an hour for an ambulance that might not come at all. Of course they should have followed proper first aid procedures, been more polite to the assembled group, etc. But this seems to be a pretty long way from the terrifying police shenanigans that we've seen so much of lately.

  • They're not all pricks, anymore than all pols are theives, dissemblers and hypocrites–wait, maybe that's not a good analogy.

    Anyway, there are certainly plenty of assholes in uniforms and some part of their assholishness rubs off from the shitheads that they have to deal with on a daily basis. I'm not excusing ANY bad behavior, just saying–and we already know this–that there are lots of jerks on the planet and when they're ennabled by higher authority, as cops are, they will be even bigger jerks.

    In the last few days there have been a couple of incidents incidents which might seem exceptional; one in KY, the other in NYC.

    The incident in KY involved a cop who encountered a woman who was distraught, to the point of not being able to drive, over the death of her sister. He stayed with her, actually sitting with her, until another family member arrived to help, an hour later.

    The incident in NYC took place on the platform for the trains that is under the new WTC. A pregnant woman was trying to get to the hospital when her baby decided to debut, then and there. A cop who was previously and EMT delivered the baby.

    Even bad cops are human, they're just bad cops.

  • Okay, if ambulance response times are that bad, then we should lay off those two cops.

    And be angry that ambulance response times are that bad.

    It can't be for safety reasons: the cops are already there and can give an escort. So it's a staffing problem. Which means Philly can't find the money to staff an adequate EMT squad even though an EMT costs something around 1/3 of a cop.

    That's pretty dysfunctional there.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    @MS:

    My confusion came partly from this:

    "But only a tiny fraction of the human race can expect a well-equipped ambulance staffed by well-trained paramedics to attend to them immediately after calling."

    You may be right. A little over a year ago, I had severe internal bleeding from a ripped GI tract and couldn't get down the stairs (in my recently gentrified, 50% white urban neighborhood), so my wife called 911.

    In about 20 minutes, EMS, cops, and fire were on the scene. The cops *watched* as the EMS loaded me on a stretcher, stuck me with needles, and got me to the hospital.

    Damn, it feels good to be a gringo. And it's worth highlighting the *very* different experience I could have had otherwise.

  • I'm pretty sure the actual dickhead in this video is the piece of shit who was too busy filming the gut-shot bleeding black guy to call 911 on the phone he had in his hand.

  • Just this Once says:

    @Luther M. Siler

    1. Someone likely already did.

    2. Look up tu quoque. What the filmer did or didn't do has fuck all to do with the issue at hand.

  • He actually tells the people around him to call 911, because for him, filming the bleeding guy is more important than getting him help. That's deeply fucked up.

    And I have no particular reason to give a fuck what you think the issue at hand is, sweetheart.

  • Dear Mr. Siler:

    "And I have no particular reason to give a fuck what you think the issue at hand is, sweetheart."

    Yeah, we already figured that out, but do go on, Louie, you are making quite an impression. A totally negative one, btw; but, hey, when you're gonna be a douchenozzle, go big or go home.

  • @Ron

    I'll buy your story if they had carried him to the car — although I think that was dangerous as well.

    You have a guy who is shocky as hell and you haul him to his feet? No, no, no. You have no idea where that bullet is. You have no idea what organs have already been affected. You have no idea what artery can be punctured by bumping this guy around in the back of a police car.

    I was a certified instuctor in Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support. We taught EMTs, Medics, doctors, and nurses. What these cops did is a textbook example of how to kill a patient. I don't care how close a hospital is.

  • "Hey, this guy is human garbage, treat him that way."

    I understand how police work can tend to inculcate that type of attitude in susceptible people, but not how it can be justified or excused.

    Luther Siler, you are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.

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