Glory Days

Signal 7

To help in understanding the Disney rules, I want to take a minute to explain how Florida works when it comes to EMS and dead people. Florida’s EMS system requires that all prehospital services (like EMS) have to be supervised by a doctor. That doctor is called a medical director, and that medical director sets the rules under which all of the EMT’s and Paramedics that he supervises must operate. The rules are referred to as protocols.

Some medical directors don’t trust their underlings very much, and keep them on a very short leash by making protocols restrictive. Other medical directors allow their medics latitude to make more clinical decisions than others. There are all kinds of protocols.

My first medical director here in Florida was one of the strict kinds. We were not allowed to declare someone dead. Ever. Every single person got transported, and the doctor in the ED had to make the call. We once transported a person whose head was severed from his body. The ED doctors were pissed.

If you decide that the patient is dead on scene, the radio call used to be “Signal 7.” Then the 911 commission came along, and we were no longer allowed to use codes. From that point on, the radio call became: “No code, no vitals.”

Reedy Creek is, for all practical purposes, a government that is owned by a private company. Their medical director is VERY strict, and the protocols that they operate under are anachronistic. They wrote their protocols IMO with a lawyer and PR department in mind, but not a doctor, and certainly not the patient, in mind. One of the rules that Disney operates under is that all medical patients need to be transported to the hospital, even if they are dead. The majority of them go to Advent Hospital in Celebration, where the doctor then declares them dead. Since Celebration Hospital is not on Disney property, the person didn’t die at Disney. They died in the Hospital.

3 replies on “Signal 7”

My ex volunteered as EMT back in Maryland. After a month of responding she told me that when it came time to pick an old person home for ourselves we should first talk to EMS people.

The local old folks home had great stats. Until you talked to EMS. Their policy was to start CPR on any one without a pulse when discovered.

Thus, the morning nurse would come on duty. Find a body that was cold, blue and dead for at least 4 hours and start CPR.

EMS would be called. Would arrive to find CPR on progress and was forced by law or policy to transport. Doctor in the ED would then declare the person dead.

Nobody ever died at that old person home.

Mind you, they were suppose to do bed checks every hour on those that were at risk. According to EMS people, some of the bodies the transported had been dead for many hours. Makes you go hmmmmm.

I work at a ski resort. Same thing, no one ever dies on the mountain, they die at the hospital of injuries sustained while skiing. Including the decapitated Saudi prince some thirty years ago.

Common, even in hospitals. How many die in surgery or recovery? None (in hospitals I’ve worked). And ICU gets upset when recovery is wheeling a patient in with someone on top doing compressions. As said above, you have to know the right questions to ask. Like in nursing home example above – how many codes does EMS respond to??

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