In Ohio (as is the case in virtually every other state), it's a crime to interfere with or disrupt public servants in the performance of their official duties. Specifically, under Ohio Revised Code Section 2909.04, anyone who "Substantially impair[s] the ability of law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, emergency medical services personnel, or emergency facility personnel to respond to an emergency or to protect and preserve any person or property from serious physical harm" is guilty of a felony of the fourth degree. Apparently, family nurse practitioner Elizabeth Zinni, who was on the scene of the recent incident at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, didn't get the memo.
It appears that a piece of metal debris fell from the "Top Thrill Dragster" roller coaster and struck a woman below, causing a serious head injury. From eyewitness accounts and news reports, Cedar Point and Sandusky EMS personnel arrived on the scene fairly quickly.
EMS protocols and the chain of command exist to ensure quality and safety of prehospital care while minimizing delays in transport to the nearest appropriate medical facility. While layperson first responders are always appreciated and often crucial in activating emergency response, the arrival of trained EMS personnel typically precludes the need for further bystander intervention, even if that bystander is a physician (let alone a midlevel nurse practitioner) acting as a good samaritan. Unless that physician happens to be the EMS medical director, it's a pretty good bet that they, like everyone else, will be kindly asked to step aside so as not to be a pain in the ass. It should also go without saying that if you really want to help, you probably shouldn't misrepresent yourself and pretend to be a physician by yelling "I have a medical degree!" over and over and claiming that your degree is in emergency medicine. (We have also been told that at the 0:44 mark in the full video, she can be heard yelling "I'm an ER doctor!")
Oh sorry, did we forget to mention that falsely advertising yourself to the public that you are a physician is also a felony of the fourth or fifth degree? Thank goodness for body-worn cameras, eh?
Wow...speaking of being a pain in the ass, it's no wonder EMS told her to "shut up and go away!" We'll give the atrocious handwriting a pass, but in any case NP Zinni's written account of the situation is ludicrously hard to believe. If you really want people to believe that you're "covered in [the victim's] blood", maybe don't post a picture of yourself in a spotless white shirt? And how the fuck did she diagnose the patient with hemotympanum? Does she normally visit amusement parks while carrying an otoscope?
Is she seriously suggesting that EMS waste time in the field by diddling around and trying to establish an IV to push Versed for the sole purpose of "reducing cerebral pressure"? Does she even know that Versed can be given intramuscularly or intranasally? Does she realize that EMS personnel could do all of these non-critical things en route to the hospital? If there was "truly visible brain matter", one can damn well believe that EMS' first priority is going to be to "scoop and run", i.e. transport the patient to the nearest trauma center as quickly as possible without wasting time on scene. Speaking of which, we'd just love to sit down and listen to NP Zinni give a lecture on exactly how benzodiazepines reduce cerebral perfusion pressure. At least her suggestion of a cervical collar is somewhat reasonable, although contrary to what many of the laypeople in the YouTube peanut gallery seem to think, the evidence for C-collar use isn't great outside of expert opinion. Hell, one could argue that C-collar use could potentially increase intracranial pressure! But from the body cam video, it appears that one wasn't immediately available.
NP Zinni later doubled down in some YouTube comments:
Ah yes, because the concept of increased intracranial pressure was surely the first thing on those EMTs' minds, much more important than the basic ABCs of airway, breathing, circulation! "All I wanted materials to help and CP [Cedar Point] had nothing" - well, unless she brought along said materials, her yelling and screaming sure isn't gonna help!
Cyanotic and posturing? Screaming being a non-purposeful sign of head trauma and cardiac shock? What in the actual fuck? We don't know what kind of online nurse practitioner program NP Zinni went to, but a patient with decorticate/decerebrate posturing isn't even going to be conscious, let alone screaming. Probably because their brain is already herniating. Suffice it to say, since we can clearly hear the victim screaming on the video, it's a safe bet that her brainstem function is intact. And we're not even sure what "cardiac shock" is (maybe she means hypovolemic shock?), but typically, people in shock aren't wasting their respiratory function by screaming their lungs out. In any case, if a patient is in shock, why would you want to administer a benzodiazepine like Versed that could further worsen hypotension? And she wants IV fluids to be given? Does that even remotely take priority over scooping up the patient up and transporting them to the nearest trauma center?
And here we have perhaps NP Zinni's most self-damning comment yet. "I reached in to grab and stabilize her head and neck." If that's not a bona fide admission of actively interfering with EMS even after being told to "shut up and go away", we're not sure what is. And complaining about the EMS squad not having an Ambu bag? For a patient who can be clearly heard screaming with minimal concern for acute respiratory compromise?
NP Zinni later made an encore appearance in the comments section of this very post, shortly after it was published. Wow...not only did this patient have hemotympanum, but also a positive Battle sign! Did NP Zinni use her time machine to make that diagnosis? At least she admits now that there was no otoscope involved. Remember - she knows what she's doing!
And how ironic for NP Zinni to claim that "EMS staff here is not trained for these situations." Because quite frankly, as a family nurse practitioner, neither is she!
NP Zinni also seems to have a, shall we say, interesting perspective on fibromyalgia...
And even more interesting views on the COVID vaccine.
All those damn vaccinated doctors! Surely we can find one who'd be willing to sit her down and explain how the vaccine works, not to mention how difficult it would be to develop vaccines for "a virus we know nothing about". Maybe NP Zinni should try reading one of the 168,139 papers on COVID-19? There's a reason why 90-plus percent of physicians are vaccinated, while the rate among nurses is maybe half that at best. As one Forbes article put it succinctly, "The rate of vaccination is pretty much inverse of the education level of staff."
When she's not helping to fill the rural primary care gap with Botox injections, it appears that NP Zinni also works in the emergency department at Mercy Health - St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in Boardman, Ohio. Needless to say, this is a far, far cry from going to medical school, obtaining an MD/DO medical degree, and completing a 3-4 year residency program in emergency medicine, possibly followed by a fellowship in EMS. It also goes without saying that a family nurse practitioner has no business whatsoever trying to direct EMS personnel at a scene.
Nevertheless, NP Zinni got her 15 minutes of fame after being interviewed by one of the local Youngstown TV stations. But sadly, the WFMJ piece tells a very incomplete, one-sided story that is overly favorable to our star NP, without any acknowledgment of her horrendously bad behavior as documented here and elsewhere on the internet.
And what gall she must have to describe her actions as being that of a Good Samaritan. A Good Samaritan doesn't interfere with EMS after they've already taken control of the scene and try to tell them what to do. A Good Samaritan doesn't demand that EMS administer Versed on the spot. A Good Samaritan doesn't claim to have a medical degree they don't actually have. A Good Samaritan doesn't randomly "reach in" to grab the patient's head and neck while EMS is already lifting the patient. It's hard to see how all these things don't constitute "willful or wanton misconduct."
Really, we couldn't have said it any better ourselves!
Send complaints to: [email protected], fax to (614) 995-3685, or mail forms to:
Ohio Board of Nursing
17 South High Street
Columbus OH 43215