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D.C. Fire Department Introduces Patient Bill Of Rights

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Record-breaking heat can also mean record-breaking numbers of calls to D.C. Fire and EMS.
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Record-breaking heat can also mean record-breaking numbers of calls to D.C. Fire and EMS.

The bill of rights will be posted in every ambulance and while its tenets are anything but ground breaking -- the promise of timely care, confidentiality, and compassion, among other things -- its inclusion is important.

The city has had its share of problems with Emergency Medical Services in the past, most notably the incident involving former journalist David Rosenbaum, whose death spurred a host of recommendations for D.C's Fire and EMS Department.

"This is a promise and a contract with the community, that we will provide care. There will be a high degree of scrutiny with respect to the providers in the District of Columbia," says Kenneth Lyons, a paramedic who worked on the bill.

Lyons also says the bill will help change the culture at the department, which he says has -- in the past -- elevated fighting fires over everything else.

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