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Old Jul 6, 2012, 09:25 PM   #26
samiwas
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It's really telling of how messed up this country is that the idea that there could be a lawsuit for something is a reason to not help save someone's life when it's in your ability to do so.

So are the defenders of policy saying that you would actually stand and watch someone drown solely because company policy tells you not to cross this certain line? That's sad and pathetic.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 09:34 PM   #27
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It's really telling of how messed up this country is that the idea that there could be a lawsuit for something is a reason to not help save someone's life when it's in your ability to do so.

So are the defenders of policy saying that you would actually stand and watch someone drown solely because company policy tells you not to cross this certain line? That's sad and pathetic.
I do believe that you have acquired the nuance of the situation.

Well done, and not in a dismissive way.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 09:58 PM   #28
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It's really telling of how messed up this country is that the idea that there could be a lawsuit for something is a reason to not help save someone's life when it's in your ability to do so.

So are the defenders of policy saying that you would actually stand and watch someone drown solely because company policy tells you not to cross this certain line? That's sad and pathetic.
If you're referring to me then no, I'm not saying that.

I think the lifeguard did the right thing, but he violated a policy put in place to protect his employer. I would likely have done the same thing he did, and expected to be disciplined for it.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 10:08 PM   #29
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You just contradicted yourself. First you say a lifeguard should do nothing than said they could be arrested for doing nothing.
I guess I need to be a little more clear: If they do nothing when they should be doing something as part of their duties...

----------

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Again, I understand that he saved someone's life, and congratulations to him and a pat on the back and everything - but he left his employer exposed to a potential lawsuit. From the employer's perspective, that's huge.
It's not just the civil liability of the employer (though that is of definite concern); it's also that if something happened to someone in the guard's zone while he was neglecting it it's just that: negligence. And, God forbid, a serious injury or death result it's any number of criminal charges--not the least of which could be criminal negligence.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 10:31 PM   #30
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You can twist it how you want but morally you're wrong, the life guard was right and kudos to him for ignoring a silly rule and helping someone in need.
Please cite what I'm "twisting". Morality in a situation such as this is subjective. What if someone from his zone needed his help? What's moral then? When lifeguarding the guard should always(!) take the closest victim. Is that moral if the next person is in more need of assistance? Or is a child? What if said guard tries to take both victims and they end up drowning or injuring him? The victims are already in trouble and now they almost certainly will perish since the one tasked with helping them is dead or injured. Do we need to consult morality when a paramedic refuses to enter a potentially dangerous scene until it is secured? Paramedics are not allowed to help anyone within a "danger zone" until the police secure the scene, and they would face termination if they did.

As I said in my first post, if the guard acted properly by getting the adjacent lifeguard to cover his zone then Mr Lopez is, at worst, guilty of breaching an administrative rule. For me that would not warrant dismissal, however, I'm not American and I don't have to deal with civil suits like Mr Lopez' employer would.

Quote:
Again, if the person in trouble was your kid I highly doubt you'd get mad that he "left his zone".
If the person in trouble were my kid and didn't get rescued because a lifeguard had improperly left his zone and thus no one was there to help I'd be furious.

Last edited by Wondercow; Jul 6, 2012 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 10:51 PM   #31
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You're almost certainly correct about what is considered "proper" conduct for a lifeguard, as it's your profession, not mine.
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That does not mean I can't find the reasoning slightly reprehensible. Laws and lawsuits usually do not have anything to do with morals and humanity. That wasn't meant to be a criticism of you, or lifeguards as people.
I understand, I really do, but please understand that I'm not pushing the point of a lawsuit (though I'm sure that to the employer that is the #1 concern), I'm speaking of 1) the duty of care that a lifeguard takes on, which, first and foremost, says that she is responsible for those in her zone; it's their safety that we should be concerned for as well. and 2) the lifeguard's potential to face criminal charges--and possibly jail time--in the event that something serious happens that she misses.

If Mr Lopez called for cover and got it I really have no problem with his actions. But people who don't know the dangers of lifeguarding nor the skills required to do it properly, nor the laws involved should perhaps remember that there is often more to a subject than what's seen on the surface--and that's true of any profession, job, or duty. We (all of us, myself included) tend to assume things to be easier, more simplistic, or more black-and-white when we don't know a lot about them.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 10:52 PM   #32
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If the person in trouble were my kid and didn't get rescued because a lifeguard had improperly left his zone and thus no one was there to help I'd be furious.
So, the only change in the emotional response in this situation is if your child is to the left or right of a 1mm division line, in the visual range of a trained person to do the help?
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 11:01 PM   #33
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So, the only change in the emotional response in this situation is if your child is to the left or right of a 1mm division line, in the visual range of a trained person to do the help?
Sorry, I don't fully understand what you mean. I am, though, positive that this isn't your point, but I'll throw it out there as a bit of info on the subject :
There isn't an absolute, abrupt end to a zone. There is always overlap to ensure that people "on the line" aren't missed in the lifeguards' scans.
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 11:25 PM   #34
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Sorry, I don't fully understand what you mean. I am, though, positive that this isn't your point, but I'll throw it out there as a bit of info on the subject :
There isn't an absolute, abrupt end to a zone. There is always overlap to ensure that people "on the line" aren't missed in the lifeguards' scans.
I think his point was if your child was just beyond the farthest zone boundary away from shore would you be understanding if the life guard nearest your child's position did nothing because the zone extended X meters away from shore and your child was X+2.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:12 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Wondercow View Post
Please cite what I'm "twisting". Morality in a situation such as this is subjective. What if someone from his zone needed his help? What's moral then? When lifeguarding the guard should always(!) take the closest victim. Is that moral if the next person is in more need of assistance? Or is a child? What if said guard tries to take both victims and they end up drowning or injuring him? The victims are already in trouble and now they almost certainly will perish since the one tasked with helping them is dead or injured. Do we need to consult morality when a paramedic refuses to enter a potentially dangerous scene until it is secured? Paramedics are not allowed to help anyone within a "danger zone" until the police secure the scene, and they would face termination if they did.

As I said in my first post, if the guard acted properly by getting the adjacent lifeguard to cover his zone then Mr Lopez is, at worst, guilty of breaching an administrative rule. For me that would not warrant dismissal, however, I'm not American and I don't have to deal with civil suits like Mr Lopez' employer would.



If the person in trouble were my kid and didn't get rescued because a lifeguard had improperly left his zone and thus no one was there to help I'd be furious.
The closest victim was the person he ran to help. Your statement holds no water (pun not intended).

Not to mention you are forgetting the lifeguard left his post to go save a life, something a life guard is supposed to do. Logic wins here. You see a drowning person, you rescue them even if it means ignoring a silly rule. Also that the lifeguards supervisor was on the way to cover his spot.

Again, this lifeguard acted correctly, the situation had a positive outcome, and his employers need to hang their head in shame.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:16 AM   #36
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Sorry, that's not a "small rule." If someone drowns in his designated area because he's off in an area outside where he's supposed to be working, that's a HUGE problem.

Kudos to the guy for rescuing someone, but I can understand his employer's position here.
Privatizing life isn't something to go kudos for. If you got an emergency you go for it. If another one happens, you try to make best with what you have. Prioritizing people due to zones is going to a moral dilemma.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:24 AM   #37
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Prioritizing people due to zones is going to a moral dilemma.
I chose my words carefully. The lifeguard's actions were rooted in morals, but his employer's policy is rooted in legalities. There was a conflict here. Again, I believe that the guy did what was morally correct under the circumstances, but in so doing he left his employer exposed from a legal standpoint.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:26 AM   #38
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I chose my words carefully. The lifeguard's actions were rooted in morals, but his employer's policy is rooted in legalities. There was a conflict here. Again, I believe that the guy did what was morally correct under the circumstances, but in so doing he left his employer exposed from a legal standpoint.
It is unlucky that it comes down to responsibilities to who. For me as an engineer, it is easy, your sole responsibility is towards public safety over your employers pocket or goals. That is how the FE tests you.

Here I would apply the same thing, the public first. In this case, the drowning man.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:48 AM   #39
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It is unlucky that it comes down to responsibilities to who. For me as an engineer, it is easy, your sole responsibility is towards public safety over your employers pocket or goals. That is how the FE tests you.

Here I would apply the same thing, the public first. In this case, the drowning man.
It goes further. As an engineer you understand this is a quintessential ethical dilemma. You do the moral and ethical thing, you lose your job, but you keep your PE license. That's how it goes.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:50 AM   #40
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It goes further. As an engineer you understand this is a quintessential ethical dilemma. You do the moral and ethical thing, you lose your job, but you keep your PE license. That's how it goes.
Exactly, after all, it is that license that becomes valuable when you get fired.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:03 PM   #41
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So, the only change in the emotional response in this situation is if your child is to the left or right of a 1mm division line, in the visual range of a trained person to do the help?
You actually strengthen Wondercow's point, I believe. I'm not a lifeguard, but Wondercow has made the issue clear... to me at least ... with their clear explanation.

How far should a lifeguard go outside their zone? Is 1 metre too far (assuming clear and defined boundary) or would everybody just overlook that? Two metres? Ten metres? Would you mind if the lifeguard helped someone drowning 10 metres outside their zone, but on the beach? What if it was a heart attack 10 metres outside the zone - but across the street behind the beach? Should the lifeguard leave the beach entirely if it's just 10 metres? How about 5 blocks off the beach? Should a lifeguard run 5 blocks off the beach to save someone drowning in their pool?

The article states he ran a quarter of a mile down the beach. So I picked a random beach in Miami Beach and measured from the middle of the beach into the city (assuming his station was somewhere on the beach). I counted 5 blocks from the edge of the park behind the beach (assuming the park might have been in his zone). Is that too far? Same distance outside the zone, just a different direction.

So... the rule was made simple so that a lifeguard doesn't have to make that kind of "how far is too far?" judgement call in the heat of the crisis.

So... overall I think the lifeguard did the right thing. He didn't leave his zone, until it was covered. Then he ran to see if he could help. Then he didn't freak out when he got fired, 'cause he knew the rules. He either probably already has another job offer from another beach - or he decided lifeguarding doesn't pay nearly well enough for the kinds of decisions he's expected to make.

The other thing to remember is that people's lives are begin protected on this beach by the lowest bidder.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 12:34 PM   #42
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The other thing to remember is that people's lives are begin protected on this beach by the lowest bidder.
It works for HMO's, in finding you a surgeon.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 01:04 PM   #43
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It works for HMO's, in finding you a surgeon.
I see what you're doing.....
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 03:07 PM   #44
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I think the lifeguard did the right thing, but he violated a policy put in place to protect his employer. I would likely have done the same thing he did, and expected to be disciplined for it.
Quite ironic actually, and it shows why this country is falling apart. The entire purpose of this employer as a lifeguarding company is to protect lives, yet they have policies on the book that make protecting their company and bottom line more important than saving lives.

Good job. It's the American way. Money is more important than lives every time.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 03:52 PM   #45
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Quite ironic actually, and it shows why this country is falling apart. The entire purpose of this employer as a lifeguarding company is to protect lives, yet they have policies on the book that make protecting their company and bottom line more important than saving lives.

Good job. It's the American way. Money is more important than lives every time.
They contracted for a specific area, at a specific price.

If the tender was for more beach area, then they could have quoted for 2 lifeguards.

How about the guy that's paying the piper? What's his tune in all this?

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Old Jul 7, 2012, 04:02 PM   #46
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They contracted for a specific area, at a specific price.
Contracts should not be involved whatsoever in anything that is potentially a life and death situation.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 04:13 PM   #47
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Contracts should not be involved whatsoever in anything that is potentially a life and death situation.
By this logic, the lifeguard is on the hook for anyone who dies anywhere, at any time, for any reason. The limits are placed there for a reason.

One last time - I don't think the lifeguard did the wrong thing. But I do understand why his employer needed to discipline him.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 05:22 PM   #48
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1. The life guard had others cover his zone.

2. Morally it's the right thing to do.

3. The company should be fired. CBS Miami: The job pays $8.25 an hour, and "The city pays Jeff Ellis and Associates about $334,000 a year to provide four lifeguards and one supervisor at the beach year-round, said city spokesman Peter Dobens."
http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/07/04...ing-mans-life/

Jeff Ellis backtracks and the life guard is offered his job back. But he is not planning to return.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/05/us/flo...red/index.html

Also, the person who fired him was "supervisor" Susan Ellis, who is probably related to owner Jeff Ellis.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 05:36 PM   #49
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The zones are made-up, it isn't as if it is a separate ocean.

What if a person was in distress in his zone and floated into the unsupervised part (over the ropes if there was any)? The rules seem to say, "meh, let's leave that person and call my manager who will call 911."

It's just ridiculous. The whole firing is to cover legal issues for him leaving his post. Saddens me to live in a world where avoiding being sued is more important than saving someone's life.
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 06:01 PM   #50
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By this logic, the lifeguard is on the hook for anyone who dies anywhere, at any time, for any reason. The limits are placed there for a reason.

One last time - I don't think the lifeguard did the wrong thing. But I do understand why his employer needed to discipline him.
Agreed on both points.

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Saddens me to live in a world where avoiding being sued is more important than saving someone's life.
It's an unfortunate by product of living in such a litigious society. I'd bet dollars to donuts that stupid CYA rules are largely a reaction to stupid lawsuits.
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