I read this on Reddit:

Not a lawyer, but work for a law firm as an Investigator.

One of our clients stabbed an ex-lover multiple times over $100. Perp then ran out of the house all bloody. Neighbor and her teenage daughter see him covered in blood and rush inside to see if they can help while they call 9/11. Victim is still alive. On the 9/11 call the daughter made, you can hear the mom singing amazing grace while she tried to stop the bleeding. You can also hear the victim, with a stab wound in her neck, gurgling on blood while she tries to sing along.

The EMTs arrived in under 3 minutes, but it took the police 19 minutes from the call to show up to clear the scene for them. She lived for 17 minutes. I saw the photos of the scene with the body still in place. It looked like a scene straight from Dexter.

I find it shocking that EMTs would ever have to wait for police (except if they would be putting themselves in danger) before saving someone's life. Of course that someone writes about it on Reddit doesn't mean it actually happened, but is there any western / first world country where that is actually the law?

Edit: When reading through it again, it sounds like this happened in the United States. The currency in question is dollars, the story is written in perfect English, and an English song was reportedly sung. In which U.S. state could this have happened?

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    I think you said it yourself: "except if they would be putting themselves in danger". This policy (not law) would be based on the assumption that for the EMTs to enter a crime scene, that the police have not cleared, is considered inherently dangerous. Or at least an unacceptable risk. Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


Despite comments in the Reddit thread you linked, I doubt it's the law in any US state, but it would be matter of policy in any state and in many other countries as well. It's not the emergency medical personnel's job, whether EMTs, paramedics or firefighters, to risk their lives giving emergency aid while a dangerous armed criminal is potentially in the area running around free. Instead they will wait for the police to let them know the area is clear and safe for them to do their job.

It's easy to say that since the neighbours were giving aid, the EMTs should have been able to as well, but the EMTs wouldn't have seen the person armed with the knife leave the house and wouldn't have known that neighbours weren't themselves the ones who stabbed the victim. The neighbours also probably didn't fully appreciate the risk they were taking, that the "perp" could come back into the house at anytime. The EMTs on other hand would've heard plenty of horror stories about what has happened to EMTs that haven't waited for police to clear the scene.

In other words, this could have happened in any US state, Canada, and in many other countries.

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    Consider that neighbours help an injured neighbours once in a lifetime, while paramedics help injured people every day. So it is much more important for paramedics to keep the risk low, or they'll die.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 14:38
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    To back this up, this is also procedure in the UK - if the EMTs don’t feel safe, they won’t enter until the police are on the scene.
    – user28517
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 17:28

All of them

AFAIK, there is no law in any country that would require ambulance officers to put themselves in harms way. Indeed, in almost all jurisdictions there would be a Work Health and Safety law which would prohibit it.

All emergency response plans that I have ever seen have as their first step ensuring the safety of first responders. An ambulance crew who assessed the situation and reasonably decided it was unsafe to proceed without a police escort would be perfectly within the law.

  • Do Work Health and Safety laws stipulate that EMTs must not act if they deem the situation unsafe or that they may choose not to act? Are there insurance / work / legal repercussions if they acted even though they deemed the situation unsafe because they valued saving someone's life more than staying out of a situation where they may be harmed themselves?
    – UTF-8
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 14:43

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