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Showing posts from March, 2012

Behind every great paramedic...

...is an even better EMT. This, is largely true, and my thoughts on the subject have been brought on by some opinions shared with me by an EMT. He works for another jurisdiction with a very different delivery of EMS. His is a more traditional fire-based system with ambulances staffed with an EMT and a paramedic, while I am typically a chase care medic.
Tonight he suddenly began to rant that with a good EMT, a paramedic is pretty much obsolete. After all, in his system, he sets up IVs, breathing treatments, EKGs, etc and he supposes that paramedics are only good for starting IVs and intubating people. Wait. Hold the phone. I know that in class we joked that monkeys could do intubations. But intubations alone do not a paramedic make.

Obviously, I believe in the worth of paramedics. I also believe in the worth of EMTs. And if an EMT believes that paramedics are only good for starting IVs and intubating, then I am sorry for him, and question the quality of the paramedics he works…

The Calm

In recent days I've had calls that tested my patience.  And not because of the patients, but because of their family.  It is important for a paramedic to be empathetic and patient, but I think that overly excited families forget that a paramedic is also an investigator and problem-solver.
I've had a rash of kids who had febrile seizures.  In these cases, the patients are largely fine. It's not an ideal situation, but, it happens.  I work hard as a non-mom to put myself in their positions of these parents.  I can see how it would be terrifying to see your kid have a seizure, but once someone arrived to help, I might think some of your stresses would be relieved.  But one mom I had to deal with recently I seriously wanted to vulcan death-grip her, just to knock her out and let her reset.  She was absolutely inconsolable, despite the fact that the baby in her arms was clearly fine by that time and left seriously wondering what it's mother was doing shouting like a crazy p…

Chew, then swallow.

I am a big fan of 'I Love Lucy' it is simply...great. In one episode, in an attempt to buy time, Lucy advises her three besties to chew their food 25 times before swallowing. Her time wasting was futile, of course, but the advice wasn't half bad.

We were called to a guy who was throwing up blood. We arrived, and he was right in the front room. He looked up from a small trash can and said, "I'm throwing up blood." and before I could inquire further, he proved it by spraying bright red blood all over the interior of the can. "Well, yes you are. Can you walk outside with us?"
He followed us to the ambulance where the plot thickened. He had been eating steak when suddenly he got a sharp pain in his chest and began throwing up bright red blood. Without any other associated symptoms or history, (allegedly not a drinker) I was puzzled.
So, we did what we do best and took him to the hospital.

I got a rare follow up on this patient. In the OR, th…

Winter

I went recently on a call in the snow. The snow started around 10 pm. We got a trouble breathing call around 1130.
There was just enough snow by then to make things slippery and annoying. We parked at the end of a short but steep driveway.
I still haven’t figured out what is best in these situations: leave the cot, and fetch the patient, or take the cot and risk killing everyone on the way to the ambulance. Or, just give up completely. Either way, these calls are fraught with risk.

Anyway, we pushed the cot to the door, and even carried it into the house. There we found an incredibly sick guy, struggling for oxygen and looking within inches of death. “Oh, good god” I said aloud.
I threw a neb treatment on the guy and had already made the decision to get the hell out of there. “Sir, stand up.” I said firmly to him. He was so starved of oxygen, but he obeyed and we buckled him in.
There was cop on scene, thank God, and he and my partner took the cot and eased it out of the hous…

Improv

For the past few weeks, I've been taking an improv class.  I took it because, well, I like to subscribe to the adage of 'do something that scares you...every once in a while'.  It goes something like that.  Thanks to this class, I have done something that scares me at least once a week.  I have no background in 'the stage' nor have I recently undertaken any public speaking challenges or anything of that sort.  Further, I am not that funny.  So, taking an improv course seemed like a great idea!
It's a small class of nine, I think, and they are all wicked smart.  And quick.  The two characteristics that are the basis of impov.  Smart and quick.
But I'm not too bad.  I think probably because we have an audience of one.  We are supposed to do a 'show' at the end of the sememster for friends and family.  I worry that with an audience of any number greater than one, I will be as good as Michael Scott.
Outside of that future terror, this is the most fun I…