Tyre Nichols could have survived his injuries.
There have been many widely publicized cases of police brutality in recent years. The slayings of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and many others made national headlines.
The recent case of Tyre Nichols, 29, is as tear-jerking as any of the others who suffered unnecessary violence from law enforcement and ultimately died.
We all know the insidious effects of implicit bias and how it disproportionately affects Black people in policing. But in the case of Tyre Nichols, how did the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) play a role in his death?
First, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the incredible, life-saving work that EMS provides across the country. Usually, they demonstrate courage and quick action to prevent tragedy.
In this case, however, the right action wasn’t taken. Here’s how.
1) Tyre Nichols had head trauma and was not immediately provided with auxiliary oxygen. This is standard protocol at both the Tennessee and national level and can prevent brain damage and death.
2) EMS personnel squandered invaluable time both before arrival and during initial assessment. The ambulance arrived 25 minutes later, far more than the 10 minutes that experts deem necessary. At the scene, EMS personnel acted with little urgency to administer treatment and transport Tyre to the hospital.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for EMS responses to people of color – especially in situations involving the police – to be woefully insufficient.
To blame individuals and castigate with harsh judgment won’t solve the problem. In fact, it may alienate those who can prevent these kinds of tragedies in the future.
But to ignore the potential role of bias in this case would be to overlook a crucial variable.
Let’s work together to create a better, bias-free world. We may save lives in doing so.
Read more on how to solve this problem here: