Table 4

Police perceptions of police hospital transport

ThemeExemplar quote
Advantages
 Faster than EMS‘Our police cars go a lot faster than EMS wagons do. I feel like we get them there in a shorter time; give them a little bit better chance. Sometimes, I notice that when EMS gets there, they try to stabilize the person before actually taking off to be en route to the hospital, whereas we automatically just go. We are not trying to work on them. Our main concern is getting them to the doctors who know best what to do with them.’
 Life saving‘I think we save a lot of lives. I really do.’
 Appeases bystanders’ demands for action‘Like if I’m on the scene, and somebody’s son is shot, and mom and dad are screaming and yelling, “help him, help him, help him,” …while we’re sitting there waiting for EMS, that makes us look bad.’
 Positive aspect of police role‘It feels great. I signed up for this job to make a difference and my thing is, if you save one person, you made a difference. I feel as though I have saved six, and that means I am making a tremendous difference.’
Disadvantages
 Occupational health hazards: equipment‘You got a three-hundred-pound guy, it’s going to take a bunch of cops to get him from point A to point B, but then to get him into the car… it’s kind of like one big fish in a sardine can. Once you get him in that is fine, then you get him to the hospital. But that’s another problem to get him out again.’
 Occupational health hazards: exposures‘We’re busy out here, we forget to grab our gloves, and there’ll be a lot of blood, we don’t have a way to quarantine the back of the car. That is the only issue we have is being in a biohazard, or all the bodily fluids.’
  • EMS, emergency medical services.