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Putting a Price on a Post-mortem Does Not Necessarily Get Our City the Best Result

Dear Editor,

For Alameda city officials to leave the investigation of Raymond Zack’s death in the hands of but one for-profit individual is a mistake, no matter who it is.

I would have thought the City would convene a Blue Ribbon panel including a doctor and a non-fire EMT (hypothermia treatment algorithms are actually different for treatment in the field vs by medical personnel), those trained in suicide talk-down: a minister, a psychologist, a suicide prevention counselor. At least one of these should be an Alameda resident of a few years. I’d be surprised if qualified volunteers could not be found if only the City put out the call for them. It should also include representatives from not only the Alameda Police and Fire Departments, but also include representatives from other first responders, namely USCG, EBRPD, ACFD, OFD, OPD; because they actually DID interface w/Alameda units during this tragedy & can be expected to do so in the future.

A large part of the problem was inability to communicate effectively. Alameda police & fire quite simply did not even seem to know how to ask for help! They failed to convey to mutual aid the urgency of the matter, confusing the terms “rescue” & “recovery” at one point making Mr. Zack’s death a fait accompli before he reached shore. If this investigation is conducted by only one person, a golden teaching moment will be missed though which Alameda police & fire could learn from feedback from the mutual aid around them how to bring a rescue to a more acceptable conclusion.

Mutual aid is an agreement among emergency responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries.

– Carol Gottstein, MD, Alameda

4 comments to Putting a Price on a Post-mortem Does Not Necessarily Get Our City the Best Result

  • Barb

    Carol: I couldn’t agree with your analysis more, IF the City wanted to learn and ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

    “A large part of the problem was inability to communicate effectively. Alameda police & fire quite simply did not even seem to know how to ask for help!”

    AFD has learned how to communicate quite effectively. They bought a Mayor and two councilmembers with their dollars. They really don’t have to do much more including what they were hired and trained to do in the first place.

    The report is simply eyewash. And now that we have a Mayor Lawyer, Bonta Lawyer, Johnson Lawyer, Russo Lawyer, they are thinking like lawyers. Not humans. If Raymond Zack family retains real counsel, a complete and thorough analysis of everything that was done wrong will be forthcoming. And if the conclusions are negligence and other shortcomings, such as taking over the scene and not allowing others to help, the City will be in addition to morally culpable, financially liable.

  • 94502

    I’d rephrase your sentence to say….”Alameda police and fire did not know how to ask for help.”

    It doesn’t merely seem so–they clearly and plainly did not know how to ask for help.

    Macho dudes and dudettes here in the AFD.

  • Michael

    How can a single person working only 100 hours (2 1/2 weeks of work) plan and conduct a major investigation and then write a detailed report including recommendations? To do a thorough job would probably require five times as much time. What are we buying for $19,500 plus expenses? It would probably take several hours just to investigate the circumstances that allowed for an Autopulse unit to not be charged.

  • Maria

    I think it should have been a committee of volunteer local citizens without connections to AFD and APD.

    I read a great deal about Grijalva on-line which filled me with a distinct lack of confidence.

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