Punishing the Hero?


Recently 20 year old Stephen Sawyer was suspended from his job as a volunteer EMT for “breaking the rules” to help a sick four year old. 

He was the only person around when a call came in about a four year old who was having seizures, after trying several times unsuccessfully  to call older EMTs and alert them of the situation he decided to take matters into his own hands and drive the ambulance to save the child. 

So what’s the problem? 

Policy states that only people over the age of 21 are allowed to drive the ambulance. According to Fox News Insider, “The Ellenville board of directors suspended Sawyer and revoked his title as an advisor from the Youth Squad. He subsequently resigned.”

So he broke a rule. Yes, that’s usually a bad thing but this incident really isn’t so “black and white.” Sawyer saved a life, people! Is this really a plausible reason to fire someone? I don’t think so. What about the EMTs who were no where to be found in a time of need? Were they reprimanded for their absence?

Sawyer is quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night or go to school knowing there’s a four-year-old suffering. [… ] As far as police wise, the guys and girls on the board need to rethink policies for the good of the community. People shouldn’t have to suffer over policy.”

What if you were the parent of a seizing four year old and you were told “Oh… I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do about it because I’m a few months too young to drive the ambulance. Can you hold on a bit while I continue to try and get in contact with someone else?” I’m assuming if that happened you would be enraged. I know I would be (and I don’t even have kids)! 

I applaud Sawyer for stepping up and taking control of a situation when he was needed. He could have been “obedient” and let this four year old wait for help. I mean who knows what could have happened to that baby; but “Hey! At least he’d still have a job!”

What are your thoughts on this situation?  


One thought on “Punishing the Hero?

  1. I would hire not fire this young man because his priorities are in the right place. Policies are important and provide guidelines for the organization. However, when a person’s life is at stake and the only person capable save that person’s life is under age, the policy should not followed. To do what is right is better than to just follow a rule.

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