For my socialogy class I need to Pick a social issue topic. I would like to pick one that is releated to Fire/ems. I can think EMS abuse, but am unable to find any books on it. What are some social issues you see or face in EMS/fire. Any input would be appreciated!



Thanks, Cassie




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Abuse may be one part of the overall issue, but there is more to things than abuse. The definition of abuse itself, in regards to EMS, can vary. While one service may see frequent calls for non emergent issues as abuse, another may not view it as such. One may consider a caller stating difficulty breathing or something emergent for a pain issue, just to get EMS there faster, etc. You can have nursing homes calling for issues they should be able to handle themselves, but seems to just get rid of the problem (IE pt) at least temporarirly. There are just many variables.

Aside from abuse though is the issues of EMS being utilized for things the service really wasn't intended. In today's world, EMS has become a first care type of level. Instead of bringing someone into the ER, it can be easier to call an ambulance to "check them out" type of thing. Some may be lonely and call in a problem knowing they will get someone to come in and talk with them for awhile and so forth. There can be many subtle levels of social issues, which may or may not be construed as abuse.

Thing is, you probably aren't going to find information like this on the net or even in some book. If really wanting to focus a paper on such a topic, this will most likely involve some one on one interviews and leg work. Best source of info would be to talk with several providers at different levels, from a volly EMT, to a career paramedic, to emergency room nurses and doctors. This may include travel and so forth, but most likely you will find many similarities when it comes to social issues. The challenge will be to what you narrow things down to, or if anything else, broaden issues into chapters, like the drug seekers to the lonely/depressed, etc.
You may also want to post this over at JEMS Connect (
Cassie: Can you clarify your question and provide us with more details?

When you say "EMS Abuse" do you mean people that abuse the EMS services from the community?
or do you mean EMS treatment of victims of abuse?

And then... how are you defining "abuse" ?

If a person "feels they need medical assistance" is usually the only criteria of getting medical assistance. Therefore, are you defining that ER physicians determine that medical treatment was not necessary - or that the EMS responders determine that medical treatment is not necessary. This part is a little tricky, since without X-ray machines and MRI's and blood test and other type hospital equipment, EMS field providers may not be seeing the whole picture and some patients that they consider as abusing the system actually end up dying, since upon further hospitalized evaluation more intensive medical information was gathered.

What is the goal for your sociology project? What was your assignment? Perhaps we can give you some other guidance.
If you find one good article about a topic that you like - read the bibliography/reference page from that article and look up all the articles and books that they cite to inform your study.
There might be some research about people that use the ambulance and emergency room because they have no health insurance and can not be turned away from the ER, but feel as though they have no other access to medical treatment.

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