Jeryn Byrne: We have a problem |

Jeryn Byrne: We have a problem

Dec. 12, I heard screams from a man up the hill from our home. I yelled to my husband to call 911 and ran (unmasked) to assist. Two men were felling a huge oak and it had fallen on one of them. I held the injured man’s hand and reassured him that help was on its way. He was in agony with a compound leg fracture and complained of pain all over.

An EMS vehicle from Higgins Fire Department and a Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital ambulance arrived, totaling 7-8 EMS staff. One EMS male was masked, a woman wore her’s at “half-mask” (under her nose), rendering it useless. Quickly all were unmasked. These are our highly trained first responders.

Despite over 300,000-plus COVID-19 deaths, EMS risked spreading COVID-19 to their seriously compromised patient (at high risk for COVID-19 ), who in turn could have spread it throughout our hospital, to our front-line medical personnel. Plus, I am at high risk and the patient’s friend has an immune compromised wife. They could have spread COVID-19 to us or caught it from the patient or from his friend or from me.

Do they not understand germ theory, the exponential growth of this virus, or how much their actions place our community at risk? An EMS guy tried to debrief me from about three feet (!) away.

I don’t care about their political persuasions. They knew better. Their job is to protect lives. Their job requires a mask. Do we need body cams on EMS staff to ensure mask compliance? It seems we do.

I believe EMS protocol is, or should be, to wear masks consistently and properly and to give masks to anyone at the scene needing one. These EMS workers owe an apology to all hospital staff who have been working non-stop since March, risking their own lives so that patients survive. What happened here?

Jeryn Byrne

Grass Valley

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Geraldine Kothe: Thank you, first responders


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