Britain yet again reveals the danger of allowing regulations to sap initiative

I don’t think I need to offer much comment on this story, which is one more indictment of the danger of over-regulation that always follows in the wake of Big Government:

Ambulance paramedics battling to save a nine-year-old car crash victim were told the nearest back-up crew could not help as they were on their lunchbreak.

Schoolgirl Bethany Dibbs suffered a fractured skull and ended up in a coma when a car smashed into her as she rode her scooter across the street.

An ambulance crew went to the scene and called for extra help, only to be told by their operator the closest back-up crew still had a few minutes left on their meal break.

Due to the strict rest-break regulations, the astonished paramedics were informed it would take 20 minutes for another crew to arrive.

In the end one of them called their colleagues directly and they immediately abandoned their sandwiches to race to help.

They arrived just five minutes after the original crew and rushed the schoolgirl to hospital.

She is now making a good recovery.

Read the rest here.

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  • David Foster

    In 1757, the British Admiral John Byng was executed by sentence of court-martial for “failing to do his utmost” during the Battle of Minorca.

    Although his flag captain had suggested a tactic by which the French could be brought into action, Byng had declined…apparently, the suggested tactic was contrary to the detailed “Fighting Instructions” book with which all captains were issued, and, moreover, another captain had been dismissed for following tactics similar to those being suggested.

    The court-martial explicitly acquitted Byng of personal cowardice, but the conviction on “failing to do his utmost” was enough to bring the admiral before the firing squad.

    Surely it was a terribly unjest sentence–indeed, the court-martial recommeded leniency, but the King chose to overlook the recommendation. The sentence did, however, send a message: **doing nothing** is not always the safest thing to do.

    Many present-day organizations, in business, education, and government, need to send a similar message.

  • eric-odessit

    This just shows that without interference of crazy bureaucrats most normal people tend to do the right thing.
    As for the comment above, that British Admiral was indeed a coward, but of a different kind. His cowardice was not the one in the face of the enemy, but in the face of his own superiors.

  • Bookworm

    That’s a very interesting story, David, because the Navy lieutenant to whom I spoke when we were aboard the USS Green Bay said that ex-military make good employees because (a) they’re willing to act and (b) they’re willing to take responsibility if they screw up.

  • suek

    Somewhere along the line I learned the expression “If you never make a mistake, you’re not trying hard enough.”

    Could have a military origin, but I don’t know where it came from…

  • David Foster

    Speaking of things naval…the story about the 6-year-old sentenced to reform school reminded me of the concept of promotion jobs as explicated by a Royal Navy captain.

    I think pretty clearly, the job of public-school administrator in the US is a “promotion job” in Capt Whinney’s sense..I would guess that public-safety administrators in the UK often also fall into the same category.

    BTW, the Byng case was the source of Voltaire’s comment that “the British shoot an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Everybody’s military is different. Depending on the rewards, punishments, traditions, and standard Operating procedures, human behavior can be modified to a T.