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Would you take it?

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So this is a story about a event not too long ago and a question. I didn't believed this belong in the scenario section.

So not too long ago there was a decent MVA at the intersection of a two lane road that I suppose you could call major. Its where all the traffic comes down to go to our beach town. Anyway, one car was t-boned pulling out of the back road onto the major road. A couple victims went to the hospital with minor injuries, others were just slightly hurt and received on scene treatment and walked away.

On the corner of the back road and the major road sits a house and these people decided to bring out a couple coolers full of drinks and snacks, they just felt like doing something nice. I thought it was kind and didn't really think anything of it till all of the firefighters made their way over to the coolers and left both vehicles unattended (although patients have been removed) and had a deadline to get the cars off the road and to clean the scene, which was not met due to stalling and eating.

I will not lie and I will say I took a water bottle right before I left, which I don't really accept food or drinks in those situations.

Have you ever accepted food or a drink from a patients home, patients workplace, or from a bystander?

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Sounds like more of a leadership issue than an ethics issue.


Never took something from a bystander and wouldn`t do so either (never was offered something, too).

The wife of a patient, who is a regular dialysis patient, has a bowl full of sweets standing right beside the door especially for these occations. She offers anyone who brings her husband home a grab into this bowl. Refused the first time, but she insisted, so I took one. Don`t think that`s problematic, though. After all it`s only a candy and she means it kind. Don`t always have the appetite for candy when bringing him home, but it seems impolite to refuse, so my partner has to eat two sweets sometimes. ;)

Last christmas my partner and me were offered a piece each of a christmas stollen the nurses from the caring facility, we brought a patient to, just baked.

After half an hour both my partner and me had cramps and needed to return to the station pretty urgently, because of the strategic nearness of a hygienic facility - so I`m a bit cautious now when it comes to self-produced food... ;)

Edited by Vorenus
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I've never come upon this but it's not unheard of around here for extended fires or disasters. We usually keep several cases of water in either the ambulance barn or the fire station for long standbys so EMS can make sure that the firefighters stay well hydrated with out us having to hang IV's on them. A few weeks ago, we ran out of water on a very hot, very long fire (8 hours of a full hay barn with farm equipment). The local store opened up and let us raid their supplies in the middle of the night but the fire department had to pay for it.

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Hmm, I've seen fire truck drivers walk into a burning house to get the beer out of the fridge, but I've never taken anything from a scene that I can recall. However, many times we will transport a patient and their relative, who would sit up front with the driver. On rare occasions the NOK will come home with us, and knowing he or she likely hasn't eaten for several hours we'll offer to take them through a drive through for dinner. Very often they'll offer to buy us coffee and we refuse the first time but tend to accept in the end because the restaurant we'll go through will be one that has been known to give free coffee to Paramedics in the ambulance. NOK feels good because he or she THINKS our coffee was paid for, we feel good because it didn't cost NOK a cent.

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Yes i Have been offered and have taken both food and drink.

No issue with it. I have even sat and ate a sandwich with a diabetic patient we had just administered D50 to--I wanted to make sure she ate, I made her th sandwich, she insisted I have one too...so we did.

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Why is this an issue? Why would anyone have a problem with taking food offered from a patient or their family?

I've been offered everything from a drink of water to a sandwich to a slice of chocolate cake.

Our ER has been brought candy, sodas, cakes, pastries, full dinners, thanksgiving dinners and we gladly partook in those provisions.

I worked in a fire house where a family brought us Christmas dinner because one christmas the crew on duty saved the family's home and their beloved dog from carbon monoxide.

If if comes from the heart, why does anyone have an issue with partaking in food with a patient.

Sometimes the meal that you eat with the patient may be the only meal that the patient will get or it might be the only companionship that patient may have that day.

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Maybe a spinoff question, but I think it is related ? Do you accept discounts for food at restaurants ? Many in my area offer up to 50% off to all in public safety, it used to be more, but as usual every off-duty public safety person got in uniform and drove to the restaurant to get discounted food for their family. I would have no problem accepting something like what has been described by you guys from a bystander/family, I just would not ever accept cash (which I have been offerred).

People often bring stuff to the station (usually food) as a thank you.

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A lot of you made very good points. The overall problem I had with it is that it was keeping people from their jobs, which I found a bit unprofessional. I would have not minded it so much if the scene staff sat down and ate the food after the scene was cleared out.

But that was just my scenario, I liked reading about your encounters.

Edited by PattonEMT
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