Author: Thomas Schneid, PhD
: Taylor & Francis – 313 pages
Book Review by
: Paiso Jamakar

Emergency medical services or EMS (sometimes known as Emergency Medical Ambulance Service or EMAS; or Emergency Medical Ambulance Rescue Service or EMARS) are a type of emergency health and life-saving service in the United States, dedicated to providing out-of-hospital or acute medical care, transport to a care facility, or medical transport of patients with illnesses and injuries which prevent them from transporting themselves. Emergency medical services may also be locally known as an ambulance service or squad, a first aid squad, emergency squad, a life squad, or a rescue squad.

The goal of most emergency medical services is to either provide treatment to those in need of urgent medical care, with the goal of satisfactorily treating the presenting conditions, or arranging for timely removal of the patient to the next point of definitive care. This is most likely an emergency department at a hospital.

Over the years the term emergency medical service evolved to reflect a change from a simple system of ambulances providing only transportation, to a system in which preliminary medical care is given on scene and during transport to a hospital or clinic.

The idea of providing emergency medical service became a reality many years ago at the municipal government level usually as part of the public health department and in other instances  as a separate department in larger towns. Today we also have non-public, for-profit, private EMS companies.

It all started with the noble intention of saving lives, with the practitioners enjoying a sense of satisfaction. But over the years however, when people began filing lawsuits against EMS providers, it not became a highly risky operation for both public and private operators, the sense of professional satisfaction has diminished. When sued, people in this field sometimes wonder: did I do right, as was my intention, or did I do wrong, as this lawsuit claims?

This book was written to help you – if you own, operate, or are employed in an EMS entity – navigate the increasingly complex and ever-changing web of laws and potential liabilities governing emergency medical services. Written by a lawyer with many years experience dealing with legal issues relating to EMS, who is also a university professor teaching loss prevention,  safety, and relevant legal liabilities, you will learn about the following topics outlined below, which gives you a bird’s eye view of what is covered in this book:

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Personnel Issues in Emergency Services
  3. Disabled Employees and the American Disabilities Act
  4. Family and Medical Leave Act and EMS
  5. Wage and Hour Issues
  6. Negligence Issues
  7. Workers’ Compensation
  8. Employment Torts
  9. Employment Discrimination
  10. Governmental Agency Compliance
  11. Workplace Safety and Health
  12. Workplace Violence Prevention and Liability

Not to be missed if you want to browse this book before reading any part of it, or in entirety, is the Introduction and Overview. Why? Because it provides you an important framework of what you absolutely must know and be aware of to proactively protect yourself and your organization.

Another critical point discussed in this first part of the book is the value of case law, which enables your lawyer to look for cases relevant to your case in the event you face a lawsuit. We briefly mention below some of the main things you need to know, that the author explains:

  1. Finding the Case
  2. Briefing the Case
  3. Issues
  4. Facts
  5. Holding (Decision)
  6. Dissent
  7. Your Opinion
  8. Underlying Policy Decision     

This is an excellent book on legal liabilities you need to be aware of, if you are in any way involved with emergency medical services in the U.S.



Thomas Schneid, PhD, JD is an Attorney and Professor in the Department of Loss Prevention and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. He also serves as the coordinator of the Fire and Safety Engineering program and director of the graduate program in loss prevention and safety.

Dr. Schneid is a founding member of the law firm of Schumann and Schneid, PLLC in Richmond, Kentucky. He is also a member of the bar for the U.S. Supreme Court. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals,  and a number of federal districts as well as the Kentucky and West Virginia Bar.

He has authored or coauthored 15 texts on various EMS, fire, legal and safety topics as well as over 100 articles. He was named one of the “Rising Stars in Safety” by Occupational Hazards magazine  in 1997 and was recently named Program of Distinction Fellow by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and EKU.