Emergency medical providers can make decisions at the scene on things like whether a family member can ride along in the back of an ambulance, according to Rick Petrie, who is executive director of Atlantic Partners EMS, a private nonprofit organization that provides training, education and other consulting services to emergency medical service providers.

Petrie said in general, state rules and regulations give emergency providers latitude to make some decisions based on the circumstances of each emergency scenario.

For example, there are no state rules or regulations prohibiting a family member from riding in the back of an ambulance when a patient is being taken to the hospital. An ambulance crew, which typically consists of two people, will make a judgment call based on the circumstances, he said.

“It has to be made on a case-by-case basis,” Petrie said of the decision.

An ambulance crew, for instance, will probably let a parent ride in the back to help comfort a young child. They will always need to look at the two most important issues: overall safety and what is in the best interest of the patient, Petrie said.

Petrie said an ambulance crew is allowed to ask another emergency responder to drive an ambulance to the hospital, for instance a member of the ski patrol as in the case of fatally injured skier David Morse, as long as that person is certified to drive the vehicle.

It is most common when there is a critically injured patient whose condition may require the emergency medical providers to ride in the back to provide care en route to the hospital, he said.

Petrie would not discuss how these rules and regulations apply to the police report’s description of the emergency response to the skiing accident on Sugarloaf. He said he could not do that without knowing all of the variables that affect the emergency response.

All of the details about the emergency response and medical treatment provided for Morse are part of the Maine Emergency Medical Services investigation into the incident, Maine Emergency Medical Services Director Jay Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said Thursday that he plans to discuss some details after the investigation is finished, but he added that some information will not be made public because of privacy laws.

Franklin Community Health Network owns the hospital and the ambulance service. Health network officials have said they are also conducting a review of the incident. They would not comment about the police report, saying they are waiting for the state office’s investigation to be finished before responding.

David Robinson — 861-9287

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