Did reality TV show delay patient care?

Orleans Parish

NEW ORLEANS — A viral social media post about a motorcycle crash in the Marigny claims New Orleans paramedics cared more about being on reality TV than the patient on the ground.

The A&E show “Nightwatch” was following the EMS crew that night.

The post has since been viewed hundreds of times and people are talking about privacy concerns and if medics acted fast enough.

Cell phone video given to WGNO News shows the tense moments after a motorcycle crash on Touro near Burgundy in the Marigny.

“The gentleman was laying in the water. We were all very concerned about the health of that man,” said Matt Chatell who was one of the first people on scene.

The video shows the crowd upset after EMS arrived with a crew filming “Nightwatch.”

“It was horrifying to witness and watch,” said Michael Straka.

The crash happened in front of Straka and Chatell’s home. Straka said initially, it appeared medics delayed rendering aid because of the camera crew.

“I may have been inaccurate in that, but that’s what it looked like to me that I was witnessing,” Straka said.

New Orleans EMS said the city and production company reviewed their cameras rolling on the incident.

“We did not find any compromise in patient care,” said Dr. Emily Nichols, Medical Director of New Orleans EMS. “That individual was taken care of as expeditiously as we expect them to be.”

44 Blue Productions, the producer of Nightwatch said, “44 Blue Productions has always maintained strict newsgathering protocols and comprehensive training for our field crews to ensure that patient care and safety is paramount. The role of our camera operators is to document the challenging work of NOLA’s EMTs and the community they serve. In this case, a review of the footage confirms that all appropriate protocol were adhered to and the field crew operated appropriately – documenting the work without any interference with EMS or delay of care for the victim.”

Chatell said, “The issue was the camera crews that appeared to be not sensitive. A person took that camera and shoved it under the car where that man’s body was.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Nichols said, “All of our views do not suggest that the cameras in any way affected the care the providers gave”

Both men have watched Nightwatch, but what about tuning in again?

“Now that I know, yeah, we might see certain clips on TV, we really don’t know what else occurred,” Chatell said.

Straka said, “From what I’ve experienced their filming policies are, I could never watch this again.”

The men wanted to stress they do support New Orleans EMS, but believe filming policies and procedures need to be revised.

New Orleans EMS added they have contracts and policies in place with producers of Nightwatch. Dr. Nichols said if someone does not want to be featured, their clip will not make it on air.

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