True Emergency?

January 8, 2018

A Gazette Editorial

President Trump will address the nation tonight on the topic of border security. Last Friday he floated the possibility of declaring an emergency to get around the impasse he faces with Congress on this subject that has led to a partial government shutdown sinceĀ  December 22.

Among emergency medical personnel there’s a distinction drawn between true emergencies like a heart attack and lower priority urgent or non-emergent cases. True emergencies call for aggressive intervention in the field to stabilize the patient and rapid transport to an ER for definitive care because time is of the essence. An example of non-emergent would be if you hit your thumb hammering a nail on Saturday and on Tuesday it still hurts. You might have really injured it but, by this point, there’s no need to call an ambulance. But if you call one anyway they’re not going to race to the ER. Saving a minute or two just isn’t worth the risk of an accident that could result in additional injuries to you and others because your condition is already fairly stable. A taxi would’ve done just as well and saved you a few hundred bucks!

Certainly a national emergency is another thing altogether, but still, this proposal (building a wall) seems like an odd response to a true emergency since it will take months or even years to have any impact. So one wonders, is this a true emergency? And if so, is this the correct response to it?


Military helos flying over Inwood on Friday, January 4, 2019.



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