25 January 2012

Legal Matters

Today I gave my first deposition. It was quite an adventure. It's not a suit I'm named in, but my report does hold some seemingly important information. Therefore, lawyers on both sides felt it necessary to hear every detail of my educational past and career path. Then they had a whole host of inane questions like why we had two providers on a call? What's the difference between a paramedic and an EMT? Why did I use the glascow coma scale? When did I first learn about this particular condition? 'The exact date?' I ask. 'Yes.' they answer as if it were completely reasonable to remember every detail of college. 'Oh, that? Let me see. That was September 21st 2004 at about 815 in the morning.'

I feel like it is a good thing that this call happened over four years ago and I can't remember it at all. This way, I am 100% reliant on my documentation, which although a scary prospect, this scenario is easier than remembering something inaccurately. That, and I got to say 'I don't remember' to an awful lot of questions. Also, annoyingly I got to repeat myself several times, especially on the matter of if I remembered the call, who wrote the narrative, and was it fill in the blank or free-writing. For the love of God, man, I told you already.

After a painstaking battle of semantics with the lawyers, I got to leave. I mean, he phrased questions in the most idiotic manner. I wanted several times to ask him what he was actually getting at, as that would make his weird questions more understandable. He wanted to know silly things like where I responded from (anywhere really), why two providers went on the call (as was our custom) or why my partner had applied the EKG monitor. I felt really good being able to answer 'Because we're a team.' True answer.

I was left with one burning question. How do those court room recorder things work? She was typing away like a crazy person and I peeked at the thing and some paper was coming out of it with an absolute alien language printed on it. It was very intriguing. I only broke the 'don't answer unless he's finished asking the qustion' rule once. But honestly, when it takes you 10 minutes to blurt out a question, pausing every few words because you are re-clarifying something, it gets hard to tell when the question is over. To be fair, I'm not sure he knew when the question started and stopped. He was definitly in the weeds of his run on sentences a couple of times. 'I'm sorry, what was the question, exactly?' 'Strike that.' And he started again!

I was also left with a lesson in documentation. Well, my four year ago self was anyway. I think I am much better now and far more detail oriented. For example, in this case, it would have been good to write how we got the patient from the house to the ambulance. I try now to list 'stood and pivoted to stair chair and secured. Taken outside down x stairs to cot. Pt. stood and pivoted to cot and secured. Cot placed in ambulance and secured.' It's annoying, but handy. Secondly, I think I still put rather vague things in my physical assessment. Or maybe they're vague only to daft lawyers. For example, he didn’t like my ‘moves all extremities.’ How did I know the patient moved all extremities? I had also written what became a confusing sentence full of too many commas. For example: 'pt. had no facial droop, difficulty speaking, pupils equal and reactive. (or some such)' So, did they have difficulty speaking or not? I don’t really know, but I decided on no, as when I have a patient with difficulty speaking, I am a little more specific as to what that means.

I don't know if this case will be over or if I will get to progress to the official courtroom silliness. I guess it depends on what all the lawyers think. Either way, I've found it a learning experience. Most imporantly, that it's probably not the adrenaline pumping calls with explosions and amputations and working heart attacks that come up four years later. It may well be the patient with vague, low budget boring symptoms that comes back to haunt you.

24 January 2012

Yes, 2.

I want a dog. That's why I adopted two cats. Not that they would ease me into dog ownership. I have come to terms that I can't have a dog while I am still doing this 24 hour shift thing. I know that dog walkers and kennels exist and all that, but those things add an expense to the whole thing and includes giving a complete stranger a key to my house. I digress. I've wanted a cat and just before Christmas I made the biggest mistake someone who 'wants a cat' could make. I went to the pound. It was absolutely busting with elegible cats and the more I looked the more compelled I was to own one. I was Vascilating between the two of these cats. I was unduly infulenced by the volunteer who wanted me to adopt this one cat so badly she could taste it. 'That one's nice, but look at this one! She's such a sad case. She's been here for months too. And she's kind of ugly. And kind of old. But look how sweet she is! Here, sit down. I'll put her on your lap. Oh, she's such a good cat. She really deserves a good 'forever home.' This woman was practically getting teary about my lack of interest in this cat. I'm surprised she didn't tell me it was getting put down the next day. Nay, next hour if I didn't reserve her immediately. But I did anyway. Adopted two. Her peer pressuring aside, I do go to work for a long time and I wouldn't want the cat to get lonely. And two really is the cut-off between normal single person and crazy cat lady. I still don't have a dog, but maybe one day.

06 January 2012

Seriously?

Are you telling me that it is January 6th and I haven't written a post since sometime in December? Is my life so sad that I cannot even bore you with the mundane things that have taken place in the last monthish? Yeah, probably.
I've uh, gone to the store, and driven to work, and ran some calls, and took a nap and that about sums it up.

Okay, it's not all that bad. I do worry that I have come to a point in my prehospital career, where I don't need to write every call down. Well, that's already happened, but very few get blogged. That, I guess, is obvious this year by how few calls are noted here. That and an increasing worry about privacy violations. It only seems natural that I don't share every call anymore. Not that I ever really did, but honestly, there is only so much to be said about shortness of breath and chest pain. The market can only bear so many recountings of car accidents.

Or maybe I have just lost my mojo. I don't know, but I felt that maybe an explaination was required for the lack of EMS posts. I am rambling. I tend to recognize this, and then continue anyway. I love this job, and amusing and great things happen every day. Sometimes, they happen to me, more often, they don't. I'm going to continue to collect stories and attempt to do them justice here on this very blog. I just can't keep up with other EMS bloggers who always seem to have something interesting to say. I am currently undecided as to where to put this post, I really mean whether I should lie about when I wrote it. But, I have to write my year's end post, so I will lie about that one instead.
Sorry this had no point.