07.24.16 - Elk Grove, California

Absurdity for Good Deeds

In Offbeat by Blaine Traber

Have you ever been the first to an emergency scene? This is when our “fight or flight” instincts kick in and if you have the fight instinct in you it’s likely you will jump into the scene and help any way you can. Whether you are the first to an overturned car, a person on the side of the road that has passed out, or happen to witness a crash, you find a way to take charge and overcome the obstacles in front of you all in the name of helping another person out of an emergency and possibly deadly scene.

This was the case in Elk Grove, CA when a car was overturned which trapped a man and his three children inside the car. Thankfully the hero of the day, Derrick DeAnda was full of the fight instinct and broke through the windows in order to help the family get out of the car and back to safety. This act of bravery and heroism certainly gained the attention of the family he saved and the news teams in the Sacramento area, but something unique happened after that day which seems extremely bizarre, especially for someone who just saved four lives.

It wasn’t the injuries that Derrick encountered, all he had was a small cut when the first responders finally arrived and checked him out, it was the bill he received in the mail after the incident. Yes, Derrick received a bill from the Cosumnes Community Services District for $143 for the services they performed to him. As it turns out the city bills all parties present that are not part of the first responder team and since they checked out his hand for injuries and gave him water they seem to think that entitles them to $143 of his money.

If you thought for a second you would be billed for helping someone out in an emergency situation would you think before acting and maybe even not act at all? What happens when a person falls down in the middle of a store with a seizure or heart attack? Those of us who have been trained in first aid and CPR know we should respond right away to the scene and help in any way we know how, but what about the bill that will follow. Is your locale going to bill you for administering help when you should or for being part of the scene?

Thankfully Derrick went to Facebook and the CBS Sacramento team picked up the story to share the problem with the bill. Some feel Derrick should be allowed to bill the first responder team because he was the first on the scene, which is completely absurd, but all feel he should not have to pay this bill at all. It seems the town has some obligation to take care of this mess and not harass Derrick with a bill, but instead reward him in some way for being a hero on that day.

The Deputy Chief of Cosumnes, Mike McLaughlin has responded and admitted the city provides the same billing and service to every patient at every scene they respond to. This is normal procedure for them and there is a way to have this cleared up so that Derrick won’t have to pay this bill. There is an appeal process that can be made use of to take care of this situation and make sure Derrick doesn’t have to pay any money out of his pocket for being a hero and responding in a way we all hope we could respond to an emergency.

While it does seem absurd that Derrick should have to go through any appeal process and the town should figure out how to avoid billing those who have rescued others so they aren’t inconvenienced with these things, it seems Derrick hasn’t lost his spirit. he has stated he was happy to be able to help and will cherish the look on the face of the man in the car when he arrived to help get him and his kids out of the car, that alone was worth the hassle of the bill form the city.