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Call an Ambulance for Political Correctness

By Doug Powers  •  March 13, 2011 12:04 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

“Life imitates art” is the order of the decade, and unfortunately the “art” life is imitating is Idiocracy.

Howie Carr’s column in the Boston Herald today sets the stage:

In the old days, when an ambulance arrived at your door, the first thing the EMT would ask would be something like: “Where does it hurt?” or “What are the symptoms?”

But we live in a Politically Correct world now, and so the Mass. Department of Public Health has issued a new directive, “Guidance on the Collection of Race and Ethnicity by Ambulance Services.”

In this document, the first question to the sick person is not: “Do you want to go to the hospital?” The first question is: “Are you Hispanic/Latino/Spanish?”

My curiosity piqued, I found the new EMT directive on the Massachusetts state website. It’s indeed as silly as it sounds.

If you’re in Massachusetts and experience a medical problem and have to call an ambulance, here’s a hypothetical scenario that may someday await you…

You’re at home and start experiencing severe chest pains, shortness of breath and cold sweats. You call an ambulance. You’re somewhat relieved after you hear the siren of the ambulance pulling into your driveway a mere few minutes after you called them.

The EMTs enter your home, approach you, and you’re prepared to tell them what’s wrong with you so you can get to the hospital for more help.

As you’re laying on the couch writhing in major discomfort, one of the EMTs pulls a card from his pocket and asks you an odd question.

“What in the world are you talking about?” You somehow manage to ask through the shooting pain.

Oh no, you shouldn’t have asked that, because you just cost yourself a couple of minutes:

And just to save yourself some time, don’t go out of your way to assure them that you’re a US citizen, because, as they’ll take time to explain, that’s not what this is all about:

Okay, that’s out of the way. Or is it?

If you said “no” after being asked if you’re Hispanic, Latino or Spanish, you really should have said “yes,” because they’re about to find out exactly what you are even as your apparent heart attack has claimed the feeling in your left hand:

Important pointer: Replying “we’re all human beings” could cost you up to another minute of valuable time…

At this point, don’t use the word “why” in any context, even to ask “Why have I been laying here in pain for five minutes and we haven’t once talked about why I called you?” The word “why” could prompt the reading of this card:

Remember… if you’re feeling a bit snarky and have an overwhelming urge to remind the EMT that the “best quality care” would have been to begin discussing your apparent heart attack with him the moment he walked in the door, you will receive the mandatory privacy statement:

Continued belligerence when it comes to answering the questions will result in a reminder that you have a right to remain silent. At this point you may begin to feel as if you’re under arrest for the crime of having a heart attack:

You’re now wishing you’d have called your attorney first.

And by no means before you receive treatment for the reason you called the ambulance in the first place should you ask what “health disparities” are, because doing so could prompt a careful reading of this:

If you ask for data to back up the need to rid the state of “health disparities,” you may be provided with this information:

Perhaps the goal is to lower the life expectancy of everybody across all racial, ethnic and economic boundaries in order to achieve health care parity, much like how progressive economists seek to achieve economic fairness by making everybody dirt poor.

I’d also like to mention that, in our hypothetical heart attack situation, our hypothetical heart attack sufferer was very cooperative and patient with the new system — a fact that was mentioned in his eulogy.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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