Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Awareness Test

This one's been around for awhile but is still worth a watch.
So, paramedic- how's your situational awareness these days?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Going Full Cycle

1403- Dispatched for an unresponsive male- found a 45 year old in cardiac arrest jammed between the toilet and the wall in a first floor bathroom. Ironically the patient had been complaining of heartburn for the past two days and the dining room table was covered with Alke- Seltzer, Tums, Maalox and OTC Pepcid. Our guy had just returned from the pharmacy with the stuff. (Just a refusal for D.C. EMS?)
We got pulses back, and the patient was fighting the tube on the way to the ER- my partner Amy told me after; "We should feel pretty damn good about ourselves, we saved someones life. How often does that happen?" "The magic of Christmas Amy, it's the magic of Christmas"
... And we did feel good- until we got back to the station. The management was well into another manufactured crisis- there was some PR material missing from storage. The thing is huge- it would have taken two people with a truck to move it- I don't think it could have been removed without someone seeing it go. But no matter, one of the many chiefs staggered around the base, shaking her fat head and yelling "I can't believe you people did this!" to the field staff.
I grabbed Amy and pulled her outside- "Welcome back to the real world"
"Yeah, we're assholes again"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The D.C. Acid Test

Here's an EMS story from the Washington Post- it's about a patient with chest pain who was "diagnosed" with acid reflux and prescribed antacids by the D.C. medics. This would have been just another lazy half-assed performance by the fire based EMS system in the nations capitol except for on thing- the patient died.
D.C.'s chief claims "there was no indifference"- which of course suggests that a pattern of indifference exists and is tolerated throughout the organization.

You can read the story for yourself:



Pedro the Paramedic would like to offer the following advice to the good citizens of Washington D.C. and to the populace of most major metropolitan areas- 
Do not call 911 unless your symptoms fit an extremely narrow set of parameters that exactly fit your EMS services pre- hospital protocols- ignoring this advice could at best subject you to a frustrating interaction with the half asleep wanker who stumbles out of the responding ambulance or at worst, well- sudden cardiac death.

... and so professionalism in pre-hospital emergency care, EMS, takes another whack- I know it's all too easy to criticize when you weren't on the call- but I just can't help asking- when did we paramedics start diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medications? Don't we just treat symptoms based on standing orders-protocols? Bottom line- sure, that is what we do. Not as glamorous as the out- right practice of medicine I guess, but still a thing of beauty when it all falls in place... ah, the good ol' days- when EMS was part of the continuum of care...
Sleep well America.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One Save And Some Good, Old Fashioned Medicare Fraud

Dispatched for a male, short of breath. On scene we found a 73 year old male with all the classic signs of really, really bad CHF. Long story short- oxygen, nitro (many), C-Pap- put one in the save column. My partner and I felt pretty damn good about the whole thing- we worked well together, the patient "got better". It was great- that's why we stay in this business.
We then spent the next four hours on what our EMS Supervisor is calling a non emergency transport. In fact it was a four hour, two way wheel chair van trip- that Medicare is being billed for at the ALS ambulance rate. You know your EMS service has some moral issues associated with it's non emergency transport policy when your patient tells you she asked for a wheel chair van and she's more comfortable in her wheel chair but claims "they told me they had to send an ambulance for this kind of thing". This patient walked to our stretcher, sat down, positioned and covered herself. We folded up her wheel chair and took it with us- because when we arrived at our destination she got herself off the stretcher, stood up unassisted, walked over and sat down on the wheel chair. My partner and I wheeled her into the building, dropped her off, had some lunch and then repeated the farce on the return trip. I'm sure once the W word(wheelchair)makes it to billing we'll get orders to leave her on the stretcher "to make things look legit"
You know, aside from being immoral and professionally degrading, it's criminal- it's good old fashioned Medicare fraud. No one seems to care all that much- the folks at Medicare have their heads up their collective asses, the doctors sign off on these shady transports and the EMS managers are not only happy to do them, they'll rig the paperwork.
I guess they'll help pay for all those "water condition" calls we respond to in order to artificially boost our call volume...
... and provide a steady flow of cash for the volunteer board to embezzle...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

EMS Wage Parity


Ahoy there EMSer- quick question for you- if this were a refrigerator, how much would you be getting paid for hauling it around town and carrying it up and down steps? Well?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good Samaritans and the Law

Well, you could see this one coming from a hundred miles away. When I'm off duty I look the other way and walk on by- and now it turns out I'm not just a cynical ass, I'm a regular legal beagle.
The bottom line in all this? Yup, you reap what you sow baby, you reap what you sow...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Paramedic Shortage Is Over!

...at last, qualified help is here. The kind of help that the dinosaur contingent in EMS management can work with, can live with. The kind of new age Paramedics the public deserves...


Saturday, December 20, 2008

EMS Worker Profile


Let's see if we can't put together a real quick profile of a typical EMS worker. For the purposes of this exercise I don't think it really matters if you are an EMT or a Paramedic- ready, let's begin...
You're a caring, compassionate person- at least on some level. You're an independent worker, a problem solver, a conflict resolver. You're able to complete your mission without supervision or outside help utilizing everything from hand tools to no tools to the resources of an entire city.
You have a strong sense of duty, a sense of obligation to your community and mankind in general...

So, what does that make you in the eyes of the folks you "work for"?
Let Pedro the Paramedic tell you- it makes you the most easily exploited workforce in the nation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just A 'Couple Shootings...

0218- Dispatched for a shooting, way out of our sector but there was no one closer. Victim was found slumped over the wheel of his decked out SUV- there was brass everywhere, this dude was disliked in a big, big way. At some point in the proceedings the SUV had rolled down the street, side swiped a few parked cars and come to rest against the only tree on the whole block. To put it in X-Box gamer lingo, this was a "melon popper"- we made the pronouncement and called clear.
0443- Dispatched with the police for a male with multiple gunshot wounds who was laying on someones front porch screaming for help. This guy was lucky- they must have sent the apprentice gangsta hitmen after him- one in the left arm, two in the left thigh and one in the ass. Patient says he can't imagine why anyone would want to do this to him. Off to the ER we go.
The local authorities for their part have apparently grown weary of this whole gang violence thing- the drugs, the crime, the shootings night after night- they have moved on en mass to an area wide crack down on Craigslist prostitutes.
So rest assured fellow paramedics, as you pull your vest on for another shift- won't be no Craigslist Hoes out there shooting up the streets.
By the way- does anyone remember the good old days- you know, before paramedics had to wear body armor?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Healthcare Reform Is Here At Last...

... Forget the nasty rumor that one quarter of all Americans have no health care insurance, that millions and millions more are under- insured, that everywhere in this country baked goods, hoagies and spaghetti are being sold to finance life saving procedures- forget all that, reform is here- first class care is available even to the homeless in this locale- read all about it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fun With Supervisors- On Overtime...

... Wow, I'm back after my near fatal introduction to the Denny's Grad Slam- I picked up an open shift, and with no one else available (hey, we are down 32 medics - yup, not a misprint) I drew the Stupidvisor as a partner...
During the pre- shift vehicle check I learned we did not have a functioning blood pressure cuff- and unbelievably not one workable spare in the whole base...
Ah, but there was one in the ancient, decrepit, "extra" Medic Unit stored in the very, very back of our rather large facility...
My solution- take the blood pressure cuff out of the old clapped out, Chevy gas engined, wood paneled, for super emergency use only truck and put it into the fully decked out, ultra modern 2008 unit we were assigned to... but my fellow Paramedics, no- this is EMS after all, the magical place where common sense is the most uncommon virtue of all...
The EMS supervisors solution was to take the new truck out of service- because it was down a B/P cuff- and put the Chivy gasser on the road for the first time in eight months. Our saving grace? Of course, the aversion of the typical EMS supervisor to run an actual EMS call.
So while you ran from one end of the service area to the other, call after call- well me and my Stupidvisor partner sat back at the base, cruised the internet, drank all the cofee and napped.
Yes, this is living, this is EMS nirvana.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Breakfast at Dennys- a True EMS Hazard




Sunday mornings we usually get as many crews together as possible and go get breakfast. Impossible on a large scale during the week due to the call volume, but on the week-end we can round up two, three, four crews and grab a quick morning meal before the drunks and freaks stagger out of bed and dial 911.
We ordinarily eat at a family owned diner that has great food, great service and is centrally located. Today, today some jackass suggested Denny's... and so we went.

I got what is my normal everyday breakfast order- coffee, orange juice, and a veggie omelet. I guess alarms should have gone off when I heard the fat, greasy she-male cook ask our waitress "Why all them cops in here?". The waitress had that crazy confused look of someone who imagines government plots that end with her boyfriends El Camino being seized by the DEA.

Long story short my friends- I am now shitting and puking like a mad shitter (and puker)- I can't ever remember getting this sick from food. Ever, not anywhere in the world.





... images- http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/, The Poison Denny's






Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gunsmoke

We responded to four shootings in our district today- the police feel like there will be more, something is up in gang world that must be set into balance. The shooters are getting a lot better around here- they still leave the scene littered with brass, and cars and homes riddled with holes, but we only had one transport out of the four.
The first of the calls was a little scary- we were dispatched for a "female in distress". When we went to turn onto the street I saw the police, lots of them, going up and down the block with assualt rifles. Turns out the shooter was down the end of the block basting away as we pulled in- two thumbs up to our pals in EMS Dispatch! Oh, the lady in distress? She was behind the yellow tape crying and wailing- with a gang in hoodies and colors across the street. We bailed- call me when things calm down, I've got a family.
Update- the shooter got away- into the ether... in the midst of maybe 20 coppers with rifles and two or three K9s.
... We just learned there have been a couple more shootings in two adjacent towns, so yeah, I guess something is up.
Yo night shift... keep your heads down...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Everything is All Right

Bad day? Crappy EMS schedule, low wages, not to mention your "leaders" are the least qualified members of your organization- wow, that's a lot to deal with... but rest assured my fellow Paramedics, everything is all right...







See? A walrus playing the saxophone- all is good, it's all right...




Go to sleep, it's all all right...

Monday, December 1, 2008

How Hard Could It Be?

... another chapter un-folds in the ongoing drama "Hey, who the hell F***** up EMS anyway?" You say your supervisors decisions leave the staff confused and demoralized? What? Is there some question as to qualifications... this is EMS baby, we don't need no stinkin' qualifications...

The rest, with a video even can be found in the Story from 9news

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bad Bosses = Bad Health

...or so I have heard.
One of our Medics just had a heart cath done. Why? Well, he went to his PCP complaining of shortness of breath and tightness across the chest, which only occurred ironically enough, at work... still, around here that's enough to get you set to the cath lab.
Turns out "Tony" is fine, his heart is fine- it's his career that sucks. His doctors recommendation? That is correct- get a new job, out of EMS. 'Bye Tony...

Here are a couple of links with some more info...

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20081124/having-a-bad-boss-is-bad-for-the-heart

http://health.idahostatesman.com/2008/story/101

Hey, last one out of EMS, turn off the lights and sirens...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Accident... Not...


Priority dispatch with the police at 0851 for "an accident, unknown injuries but multiple occupants..." in the parking lot of a large grocery store- believe or not we have actually had several righteous crashes in this lot, including one fatality.
But not today, today we responded and found a crowd gathered at the scene of a car vs shopping cart collision.
EMS was requested by a concerned citizen who was afraid "things were getting out of hand".
This of course was not relayed by Dispatch... so, from one idiot with a cell phone to another with a headset and here we are...
Your 911 system at work.
Interestingly, per our new departmental policy- we were required to obtain signed refusals- well, that ain't happening...

Photo from Wiedmaier via Flickr
Creative Commons License

Friday, November 14, 2008

Post Election Blues

1655- dispatched for a male "going crazy"- arrived with the police and found a very, very distraught man in his thirties, resplendent in green flannel and droopy denim, crying about the fate of the nation.
I am precepting a new medic so I had the luxury of standing back and letting the good times just roll on over me...

"Whats goin' on dude?"
"Oh man, oh man, oh man- this is so messed up my man. That Obama's gonna take my guns away from me, oh man"
"He said he wouldn't didn't he?"
"Ahh shit man, he's gonna take my guns!!!!!" (tears now and crying type noises)
"You called for this? Come on, this? Are you serious? Look you idiot, I'd not only take your goddamn guns, I'd have you sterilized. What hospital would you like to go to this evening sir?"

Needless to say my paramedic preceptee received exceptionally high marks today...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ACLS Renewal Funnies


... Wednesday I did my ACLS renewal- now, usually I take the class with my fellow paramedics, but the past two times, due to my putting it off- well, I've done it at the local hospital with the nurses and other staff.
Ok, this is what I find amusing as hell- paramedics do ACLS every day- we just go out there and do it when needed. That's what we are trained for. Nurses chart and do nothing else unless specifically ordered by a physician. Nothing. They sure as hell aren't doing ACLS without a direct order- we all know that. So...
Take your ACLS in a class aimed at paramedics- you know those folks who actually do the stuff- you're in and out in two hours. Take the class with the nurses- six hours easy- the only,ONLY reason it ends before the full eight- the ladies have to get home and get the kids off the bus- otherwise, between the mindless prattle, the peepee breaks, the Avon CandleParty PTA MarketDay, well fellow EMSer- you, yes you would be there all day. All day.
... and did I mention that these folks aren't allowed to do ALS interventions? That's right, nurses can not and will never do any of the stuff they "learned" in ACLS- now did I mention that? Yes, yes I think I did...

Photo by: feastoffool
Licensing info right here

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More 911 Abuse...

Apparently John McCain, his Campaign and even his family have some pretty strong ideas about the proper use of the 911 system.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pull Over and Let Me Out...


Being involved in EMS is a lot like going for a ride in a broke down car, filled with people you don't like and being driven by some one who doesn't know how to drive... and doesn't know where they're going...


Photograph by Bogdan Suditu

Photo License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Walk, Don't Run- Until It's Time...

... I've been out running- getting ready for a race this weekend. My running partner today was an extremely intense young man- kind of like a little mean unpleasant dog. A snarling. slobbery ankle biter. I ended up finishing far far ahead of Le Badger- he just ran himself out before the finish.
It all reminded me of some of my EMS compatriots- they go fast when they should go slow, and they hang back with their thumbs up their asses when they should go fast.

To be effective in EMS you must-
  • Master the art of being still
  • Master the art of using the moment to it's fullest
  • Master the art of efficient thought and movement with purpose
Now, go forth and try not to kill anybody...

Monday, September 8, 2008

When Paramedics Attack...

... some old (2005) video of Chicago FD EMS in action, presented here without comment...



Sunday, September 7, 2008

Conversation With A Street Medic

... overheard in a tavern at an after shift gathering of EMS folks...

"... my EMS career has become destructive, really personally destructive. I feel like I'm being slowly dis- assembled and pretty soon there will be nothing left."

"You forgot to mention it's a dead end job..."

"Right, right, right, EMS is a dead end job, now I feel better..."

The pair quoted have less than ten years on the street Paramedic experience...

Friday, September 5, 2008

...And That's What EMS Is All About...

"... yeah, I know, I know. EMS is the only, probably the only job out there, where you can save someones life and still get in trouble..."

Snippet from a conversation overheard in the ambulance bay of a major city trauma center

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Better Put On Some More Noodles

Here's a link to a story about America's answer to rising health care costs- the bottom line is you will pay more and have less access.
Can't afford to pay more? Well, rent the local VFD and get the spaghetti ready...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From Outer Space to EMS...

... your new operational guidelines-

“Ok people listen up. I want you all to forget the flight plan. From this moment on, we are improvising a new mission.”
From the motion picture Apollo 13

From the far far reaches of space to those very, very few remaining in EMS...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Straight From The Mind Of An EMS Manager...

Straight From The Mind Of An EMS Manager... directly to a community near you...

#1- New and thoroughly obnoxious Paramedic explaining why she refused to give her 52 year old chest pain patient NTG and baby aspirin- "I thought she was a drug seeker"
EMS Manager-"Well, sure, yeah- you gotta follow your instincts in this business"

#2- EMT, reports for his shift late, slurring his speech, walking kinda funny and smelling like he maybe had more than a few is ordered to the EMS managers office. The plan is to have the local police administer a Breathalyzer- the police however are tied up on yet another shooting so it is decided to have blood drawn at our Command Hospital. Oh man- talk about bad timing- the EMS manager has a luncheon meeting. Ever know one of those guys to pass up free food? Of course not!
New plan is put into action- the possibly intox EMT is ordered to drive himself to the hospital in our Response Vehicle.
... and don't be late...

Welcome to our glowing Metropolis.

Monday, August 25, 2008

When An Emergency Vehicle Approaches...

... here's an easy one for all the motorists out there- when an emergency vehicle approaches, with it's emergency lights and/ or siren operating, you, the motorist must pull to the right and stop.
Do not pull to the left and stop, do not lock 'em up and stop in the middle of the lane, do not run the red light and stop in the middle of the intersection, do not pass the guy in front of you who just pulled to the right and stopped, do not be a jack-ass.
Pull to the right and stop.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Basic Compentency In EMS

Let me go out on a limb and make an across the board generalization about the Paramedics, EMT's and EMS managers out there in the field today-

... 90% of the Paramedics and EMT's, and 98% of the EMS managers I have encountered in my EMS career are, have been and will continue to be- not just incompetent, but dangerously incompetent and psychologically and physically unsuited to the challenges of the REAL EMS world. They are to a man (and woman), inept and wholly unable to manage even the most minor incident. Oh, and as the most competent and qualified burn out and leave, there is no one of merit to take their places- NO ONE ...

Feel better? Go ahead System Abuser- call 911 now...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Self



Being in EMS you are privie to some philosophy and insight others aren't...

... Growing up is accepting what is... growing old is realizing everything they told you- EVERYTHING- is wrong... everything...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ockhams Razor

This could be both your quote for the day and your newly adopted philosophy on EMS-

"All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best."

This comes from the 14th century logician William of Ockham

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Belonging

I ran across a Medic I had worked with for awhile about ten years ago. I hadn't seen or heard from him in quite some time. Tonight he informed me that after 22 year in EMS he was finally retiring from active duty as a fulltime Paramedic. I couldn't help wondering what brought about the decision- the bullshit, low pay, crappy hours, rotten partners? So I asked and Mike said:

"Pedro, I got into EMS because I wanted to help people and I did but, I stayed in it for so long 'cause I wanted to be part of something bigger than me, I wanted a sense of belonging- well, that hasn't happened after all these years so I am out of here"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's Where Knuckleheads Come From

Talking with a three year old can be enlightening- tonight I learned at last where all the knuckleheads come from- Knuckle Head Town

Sunday, August 10, 2008

You're Driving Me To Death

Here's an interesting tidbit ripped from the pages of JEMS- to paraphrase; as EMS providers, our work related death toll due to vehicle crashes is almost twice the rate of police and fire.

Someone's not being very careful behind the wheel now are they?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

You've Got Me Going In Circles

Do you find yourself becoming frustrated when attempting to collect histories from your patients? Sometimes it seems like they're talking in circles- and of course they are...

Paramedics and to a lesser extent EMTs, construct medical stories in a linear fashion- we need to have our facts organized in a compact and concise package.

Our patients on the other hand, live with their story- and so they construct their version the way it's lived- in a circle, a crazy lumpy circle looking thing...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Paramedic TV

Wow, just in case your real life dose of EMS isn't enough- here comes ParamedicTV
... a YouTube for Paramedics and their little EMT pals...



ParamedicTV is powered by EMS1.com

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Pleasure Dome

... I've been assigned to a new station- forced overtime, just for today... I know all of my temporary crew-mates of course, but I've never spent this much time with any of them.

These Medics do not speak to one another- except on an EMS call- no Hellos, Goodbyes. Sure as hell no "Hows the kids", "Whats for lunch","So, where did you go on vacation?"

They have been together here for a couple of years- I think they all stay because it's a pretty low volume station- easy work I suppose except for the tension in the station. I was afraid to ask what started the whole mess- I suppose I should get to the bottom of things in case I have to come back.

It's kind of liberating- no long goodbyes- just grab your stuff and go... Cool, See Ya'

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Your Quote Of The Day

Your quote of the day, courtesy of your old and dear pal Pedro the Paramedic...

"When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt" - Henry J. Kaiser

The quote itself is from the car guy Henry Kaiser- I lifted it from the homepage of the Soulcraft Frames website- I like the clean look of their bicycle frames and their "corporate philosophy"- I'd like to buy one of their mountain bike frames someday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"I Really, Really Hate This Place"

0811- Dispatched Priority One, unknown problem, 911 activated by the patients Life Alert device. If you're not familiar with Life Alert ("Help I've fallen and I can't get up") and similar alarms- they allow senior citizens to continue to abuse the 911 system long after they would otherwise have lost the ability to do so...

... which brings us to 0817 and our arrival on scene at the personal care home where our patient resides... Harry, and we know Harry quite well, met us at the main door, along with several members of the staff who were attempting, unsuccessfully to calm him down...

"So Harry why are we here today? What's going on?"
"What's going on? You can't hear that racket? (there was a crew doing some exterior repair work) I can't take it anymore, get me the hell out of here dammit!"

... and so the Emergency Medical Service saves yet another- and somehow my partner turned this fiasco into a billable ALS transport.

"Help, I haven't fallen, I'm not ill or injured, but I really hate this place and I can't get out"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wires Down


1317- one of our ALS ambulances was dispatched for a vehicle crash with wires down...

1321- my partner and I were dispatched, with the Fire Department to assist an ambulance that "came in contact with a live wire and is now stuck"

Seems my old nemesis, the evil Melanoma had proceeded to the scene at jet speed, to the exact co ordinates- without checking for the wires that were most definitely down- down on the ground directly beneath her ambulance. This fact was discovered only after her partner, when attempting to exit was greeted by the tell- tale Snap, Crackle, Pop below his feet, of that modern marvel- high tension electricity.

No one was hurt, the cops and the firefighters all had a good laugh and the driver of the car watched the whole thing from the Arbys across the street...


Image from the great Flickr collection- http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurek_durczak/
Licensing information at- http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

See You In Prison...

... we have covered this before but- it bares repeating- your government (you know, right here in the USA) has every intention of putting every single American in prison at least once in their lives... Now, back in the old days- and we're talking B.C., governments controlled the populace by inventing an all powerful God- religion, Jesus, Holy Spirits, the whole "I see you when you are sleeping". The old time rulers (Google Constantine) they even came up with the idea of heaven and hell- if I don't gitcha' now, well, I'll gitcha' when yer dead. No escape for evil doers.
And us? Well, the religion thing has been done- so the answer? Easy, destroy the working class. Ruin their end of the economy, deny them health care, put their kids in state run schools ( just like in Romania or Bulgaria or Communist China or the good old USSR) and when all else fails, as the final demonstration of total control- of course, lock 'em up, all of them...
No country on earth keeps more prisoners than the United States of America- no other country.

There is a series of articles about this Freedom crisis on the Mother Jones News web site...
... if you're interested... and you all have pretty much indicated your only interest is Lard, Sweet, Sweet Lard...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Guns N' Ammo


Guns and Ammo- as a Paramedic, a full time professional emergency medicine care giver- I have seen the damage caused by Guns and Ammo of all kinds. Over the years I have gone from being a firm believer in the Second Amendment to having real reservations about people like you walking around with firearms.
That's right- I do not believe you should have the right to own or even have access to a firearm of any type at any time.
With that said- I rarely go anywhere without my little Kel-Tec 380, just because of the way things are... yup, the way things are...


... image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmysmith/
... licensing info can be found here

Here's just a peep through the key-hole...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Can Only Eat So Much Spaghetti...


... No time to write- my partner and I are off to another VFD to buy yet another spaghetti dinner for yet another working American who is financing their health care by the plate- hey, you folks have really got this thing all messed up...






The lovely image is from FotoosVanRobin
The usage agreement can be found here

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Health And Welfare Of Our Olympians...

... I participate in endurance events- not at the Olympic level certainly- but at a level where I can relate. So- why would any, ANY responsible sports organization, any group that professes to promote healthy athletic competition allow an event of the magnitude of the Olympic Games to be held in a filthy, smoky, smoggy, despotic hell hole like communist China?
... and why would you choose to participate? Given the potential risk to health- not to mention the political climate.
See for your self... right here... und then here...




Monday, July 21, 2008

On Dealing With Nurses...

I know that the Emergency Room nurses work really hard and I am sure they put up with their share of know-it-all jerks like me. I appreciate their hard work- they keep America's ERs running. Their job is sometimes over whelming- charting all the medical interventions performed by the ER medics, phlebotomists, cardiac and respiratory techs.

But after all that, any Paramedic will tell you- Emergency Room nurses say the dumbest things-

... after being handed a 1000cc bag of NSS, that was attached to a macro drip set, attached in turn to a 16 gauge firmly stuck our unresponsive patients left arm "There's no IV, there's no IV, I can't believe you brought this in here without an IV..."
Pedro the Paramedics reply: "Are you okay? You're not serious right?"

... after being handed, per our protocol, a print out of our respiratory distress patients capnography waveform... "Oh my God!!! She's in V-tach!!!"
Pedro the Paramedics reply: "Are you okay? You're not serious right?"

... after being handed, again per our protocol, a copy of our chest pain patients 12 lead EKG: " What's this? Did you, I mean umm, uhh, You mean you brought in a chest pain and didn't monitor them?"
Pedro the Paramedics reply: "Are you okay? You're not serious right? You know we do those things right in the back of the ambulance, with the cardiac monitor. We don't have to call up to the fifth floor to get a 12 lead done"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Drive Real Fast And Then...

... Right, and then what?
My partner today believes, firmly, that lives cannot be saved at the speed limit. Every dispatch leaves him with nervous heavy breathing and a totally panicked mental state.

Here are some excerpts from some of our conversations en route to calls today-

1301- Dispatched for a female with leg pain...

Marvin: "I' m going to use the lights."
Pedro the Paramedic: "Why?"
Marvin: "I hate sitting in traffic man"
Pedro the Paramedic: " Won't we have to sit in traffic on the way to the hospital?... and on the way back"
Marvin: "Well, but, but, but, buuuuu"

1644- Dispatched to back up one of our crews extricating the driver of a vehicle that hit a building

Marvin: "I' m going to use the lights."
Pedro the Paramedic: "Why?"
Marvin: " This could be bad man"
Pedro the Paramedic: " We're two block away and there is another crew already there- no lights, no siren, no speeding"

... When we arrived one minute and maybe 30 seconds later Marvin baled out of the ambulance- like it was on fire- and ran down to the scene- carrying... NOTHING!

So later I asked Marvin if perhaps we could arrive on scene safely and then, instead of standing around with our thumbs up the arse, we could work quickly, safely and efficiently- maybe we could make up that 60 seconds we lost en route on scene...

I always get a kick out of these idiots who are in a big freakin' hurry to get to the call and then they stand around doing- Nuttin' Honey... well, nothing except hyperventilating, yelling and running aimlessly back and forth, back and forth...

Hey Marvin- time to check the Help Wanted adverts...

I know there are many of you just like Marvin out there- please- for the sake of the few EMS pros still out there, and for the sake of our patients - get out, get out now- maybe one of the volunteer fire departments will take you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This 9-1-1 Thing Will Never Catch On...

... Our service area is a politically diverse place- and that extends right down to the 9-1-1 system. Because of the numerous little political kingdoms, fiefdoms and whateverdoms that excist, 9-1-1 has only been fully implemented in half the service area, another 25% is being painfully phased in now and the remainder may never have it.

... So, last night I was working a PR detail at a local fair when a gentleman walked up to me and asked, in all seriousness- "Hey buddy, what's that number you call for the 9-1-1?"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Tale Of Two Shifts...

... Yesterday, oh yesterday- I once again had to work with the evil Melanoma- Oh god, she is so hard to work with- as an aside, and it's mean I know but it made me laugh- two of our patients today called her "Sir". Ok, so there is some kind of perverse justice in there... but tonight, well it was way different. My partner (not Melanoma) and I talked and talked and talked- hell, we solved all the worlds problems tonight. Every single one. We ran some EMS calls and just handled everything so easily, everything... There was a moment, we were returning from the ER, the windows were down, the breeze blowing in just perfect, good tunes on the radio, lovely people on the street- I looked at you and then down the road and thought "This is the best damn job in the World!"
Thanks for a beautiful shift- I'll see you in my dreams... sorry, private joke...

I hope your shift was beautiful. If not, well, why the hell not? What, what happened?

Be safe- I love you and I need you-
Pedro the Paramedic

Monday, July 7, 2008

EMS Explained...

... by no less an authority than Einstein hisself-

"The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing, but expecting different outcomes"

... go forth and change...

Peace, Love and Everything,
Pedro the Paramedic

Friday, July 4, 2008

Indepenence Day

July Fourth, Independence Day, is the anniversery of the first time the American Upper-Class scammed the American Lower Class into fighting a war for them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gang Violence

2322- Dispatched for a "man down, not moving, on the basketball court behind F******* High School. Possible gunshot victim".

Found a young male, down for good, in "the lane". Shot multiple times- there were shell casings all over the court. Nothing more we could do- we cleared and got out of the crime scene.

This isn't really that uncommon an event around here...

Gang violence- some folks call the gangs "youth gangs" and refer to a "youth problem"- that kind of thinking is not going to make this problem go away.

That gang activity plaguing your town is not a youth problem- it is an organized crime problem- an organized crime problem that has its roots deep in the corruption of government at every level. Period.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

When the Levee Breaks...

... heavy rains and an 18th century infrastructure- and the Mid-West is underwater.
2000 years ago the Romans built with stone and mortar- today we build dams out of mud and blame the muskrat when they fall down.
Not much different than our health care system.

Stay safe- Pedro loves you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

EMS Scheduling...

... to continue with the fatigue factor in EMS, let us examine the EMS schedule as a contributing factor- a factor that leads to dangerous performance levels and a loss of quality of life. Below I've typed out my actual schedule for the upcoming two weeks - I'm sure that EMS personnel will see nothing unique about it- that is just the way it is- schedules made with no rhyme, reason or consideration for the health and welfare of the Paramedic (or EMT)...

M-1100-2300 T-1100-2300 W-1500-2300 TH-0700-1500 F-off Sat-2300-0700 Su-off

M-0700-1500 T-off W-1100-2300 TH-1100-2300 F-off Sat-0700-1500 Su-off

* Note week one- evening, daytime, overnight and back bright and early the next Monday!
* But at least we're off the 12 on, 12 off schedule!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fatigue Is A Factor...

... If the average EMS customer, the sick guy on the street- or his/ her family, was aware of the fatigue level that the average Paramedic is working at they would be terrified. Terrified.
The question becomes- well, I'm too tired to drive, am I too tired to attend to the patient? Or- should I just suck it up, wake myself up and try to drive this damn thing through town to the ER?
Well?

As an aside- I have fallen asleep in the cab of the ambulance- at a light, with a critical ALS patient in the back.
My partner and I repeated this at another light on the way back- we both dozed off. Slept through at least one cycle of lights...

... who should have been in back then?

12 on, 12 off- Kill yer staff, cover yer schedule.
12 on, 12 off.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Junkies Always Lie...

... The truth is the first thing junkies give up- junkies always lie. Always. Let me repeat that- and if you are a parent, grandparent or otherwise close to a doper please take heed- JUNKIES ALWAYS LIE!
Everything that comes out of their mouths is a lie- if you talk to them long enough, they will begin to lie about their lies.
Why?
Because junkies always lie.
Always.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Way of the Dinosaur

I am pretty sure that most of the people in EMS who know what they're doing are already gone- feel free to correct tense and grammar if you must but- you know it's true.
Let's get rid of the Star of Life and make the new National EMS symbol a Dinosaur eating an ice cream cone... sound right? Sure it does... it's not that the old folks are taking over EMS, it's that the old thinkers are staying in- and pushing every one else out or away- everyone except a future generation of slow moving, slow witted Dinosaurs.
So, you tell your good friend Pedro what is your service doing about retention in this time of Paramedic and EMT shortage... probably like mine, nothing other than- treating staff like crap, putting out schedules that don't support a healthy lifestyle and then, crying when only seven people in a major metropolitan area answer the call and test for (in the case of my service) 32 open positions. Oh, no no no- Pedro did not make a typo- that is 32 open positions- and seven applicants- just think what the smaller services are going through. Some of the EMS managers may have to curtail whining, stealing, embezzling and call dodging long enough to confront the issue. Nope- let the plunder continue, the EMS provider shortage get ... shorter, and when there is no one else left in EMS but the Dinosaurs they can all sit around in a meeting somewhere and lament the fact that "they were all assholes- the hell with them- it's just a cycle- they'll all come crawling back."
Yup, it is a cycle all right- every one is leaving EMS- everyone except the Dinosaurs...

Things we've overheard...
"ahh, umm, well, I just drive..."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day of the Doper (Again)

... shifts seem to have themes- car crash day, cardiac arrest, breathing etc, etc, etc... Today it's been dopers with problems- a crack user who got beat up by her Grannie for stealing money, a pill junkie with- what else, a sore back, and a nice couple we had contact with at the bus station- they wanted to get their teeth checked and "Can you give us sumpin' for the pain?"... nope...
... So I felt pretty good when I took a little break, called my Dad and told him I loved him- hope you got to do the same...

Self Defense...

... self defense and EMS- almost always focuses on avoidance... and it should. Learning to avoid trouble or run from it intelligently, well that's just good common sense. Stuff that could save your life.
What if you can't run- you're trapped, caught, cornered and fighting for your life... take the following with a grain of salt- it's from a man who grew up in a tough part of town and makes his living on the streets...

  • No matter what-always look for a way out
  • keep cool- call for help
  • Facing a gun? Take cover- even a couch or other barrier sets up a psychological barrier to a shooter... call for help, get out!
  • A knife? Run man... can't run? You need a weapon- O2 bottle, House bag, kitchen chair... rule of thumb- fight a blade and you will get cut... and you will bleed. Don't stop trying to get away and don't stop fighting
  • Hand to hand? Number One- do not go to the ground with your assailant- never, don't go in low and get trapped. Remember- eyes, nose, throat and testicles. Multiple strikes at a sensitive area are better than a wheel house swing and a miss. If your finger ends up in an eye- push it in, all the way- and then run like hell.
  • In the wrong hands anything becomes a weapon- do not forget that.
  • You are important- your family needs you- do not go soft in the face of a struggle you are not allowed to escape.
I'm just a working guy like you- seek qualified professional help in this- might save your life...
... or mine...

Pedro loves ya'

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The American Health Care System Revisited...

... 1407, dispatched for a cardiac arrest- about two blocks from the scene we spotted the local police (and their AED) parked up a side street- waiting for us to turn the corner and then, on come the red lights, the siren and the "You guys alright here?"... Yup, take off, don't need you. Some of those guys are more useless than the volunteer EMT's on our Citizens Advisory Board- stay out of the way... Oops, Dispatch- get the PD back, Pedro's callin' the arrest and we need the coppers to babysit the body...
... Later that shift we stopped for food, the local Veterans Group had a booth set up outside- they're taking donations for one of the younger members, Iraq vet with uncovered medical bills and procedures that still need to be done- and they're selling tickets to the obligatory Oldies Dance/ Spaghetti Dinner- eat up folks, Danny Boy needs a new kidney and gots no insurance...
1722, MVC- about six people involved from two cars- all the folks from one car stood around holding their necks, while everyone from the other car cried, I mean really sobbed... No one hurt...
1901, called for a guy having an asthma attack- works a forty hour week at the local Garden Center- no insurance. Usually shares an inhaler with his girlfriends Mom- and I guess it was her turn to have it today... gave him a breathing treatment and got him to the ER...
... not much to say about the rest of the shift- an intox, a guy in jeans and a flannel shirt who thought he was going to pass out- hey dude- it's 92 degrees out, skip the layers today...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Observations On American Culture

... I'm still on the Response Truck, the QRS... can't say I'm unhappy about the assignment- it's a pretty good detail.
Today I was sent into a lower middle class, urban area for a call at a doctors office- called off enroute so I pulled to the curb about 100 feet from a bus stop to catch up my call log before heading back.
What caught my eye was the group waiting for the bus- two dudes about 25 to 30 years old, a Mom with a 3 year old and an old guy, 75, maybe 80- still in good shape, kind of reminded me of Popeye.
Now what made this a micro-cosmic bit of Americana? Well, the bus pulled up- the two young guys pushed past Popeye and the young Mommie and her child- but Popeye, he quietly, with a gracefulness practiced over a lifetime, stood aside to let moms and child get on the bus first. His generation would never have shoved aside a woman, child or anyone else to get through a doorway, off an elevator- or onto a bus. Popeye grew up holding doors open- it was considered rude and disgraceful to push past. Now, the ignorant go first, texting and cell phoning. ( "yeah, I'm getting on the bus, where are you... uh huh, yeah, I know... right, I'm on the bus, you know...uh huh")
And, that is what's wrong with you people- you have lost your grace, your civility. Surrendered it to lard rage and ignorance ( wha? She wha? Huh? Wha?)
Mmmm, lard- now that's good eatin'...

Sleep well America... Pedro the Paramedic loves you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On The QRS Truck Yesterday...

... I spent 12 hours on the QRS Truck yesterday. Basically, the detail involves responding to help out a BLS unit in the middle of an ALS call, back- up a Paramedic, or respond out of the area to some of the mostly fire-based BLS services.
The call itself was minor- seven year old with a dog bite to the hand. I was enroute to obtain a refusal- the First Responders on scene weren't familiar or comfortable with the procedure- no problem.
The problem came along when, after consulting the map I found myself more confused than before.
Maybe this has happened to you- sometimes you just can not visualize the route to the call.
So, I radioed ahead for directions:

... ShakyTown VFD from QRS 1, directions to Elm, I'm inbound on South Main... uh, uh, uh, uh, standby, (pause------------) Go on down South Main till the, the thing, right you know in there uh, before uh you know,uh, uh, uh there's an intersection and then uh, uh, uh turn and go down the one and you'll come right up on Elm, uh, uh, uh copy?
Dispatch from QRS 1, directions to Elm...

... 'til next time,
Love,
Pedro the Paramedic



Friday, May 23, 2008

The Law Of Karma

"According to the seed that’s sown,
So is the fruit you reap there from,
Doer of good will gather good,
Doer of evil, evil reaps,
Down is the seed and thou shalt taste
The fruit thereof."


... or something like that- what goes around comes around.
Watch yer poopers evil doers- big train a' comin'


The Temporary Partner

Amy, my almost steady partner of the last three years is on vacation. The Medic brought in to replace her is an extremely unpleasant young woman- I think her name is Melanoma. I've encountered dogs that are very much like her- snarling, dead eyed, unkempt mongrels at once angry and afraid of the world and everything on it.
I will be happy when she is gone.
I miss Amy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"I Just Like To Watch..."

... if you just like to watch emergencies- you know, maybe you're a yet to be indited EMS Manager, working hard at keeping the Board from going through the books- maybe need a diversion- try these thirty episodes of TVs best and closest ever depiction of EMS on the streets- next to Mother, Jugs and Speed of course.

From FANCAST Beta- Emergency!

... and when the Board finally does close in- tell 'em Johnny and Roy made ya' do it... now, who loves ya baby?

Yup- Pedro the Paramedic

Monday, May 19, 2008

The System Abuser Chronicles- Part Two

The American College of Emergency Physicians have done some research, circa 2006, into the whole "frequent flyer" phenomenon.

Here's the link

Apparently the good doctors aren't seeing the same patients as EMS providers or even their own ER nursing staffs.

This morning Pedro the Paramedic took the area's last ALS ambulance out of service to transport a fully ambulatory 40- something male to the ER after his persistently errant golf swing caused him to develop a bad case of right-nut-pain.

Interestingly this gentleman and his family are some of our best customers- having required ambulance transport for such debilitating afflictions as- a sore thumb secondary to a hammer strike, loose stool, a stuffy nose- dispatched Priority One as a person in respiratory distress, tooth aches (yes more than once)- well, you get the idea...

And one of lifes little ironies that even the good folks at the American College of Emergency Physicians would appreciate- the hospital we took this patient to was famous (or infamous) in the not so old days for having the uninsured forcibly removed from the Emergency Room, beaten and prosecuted- oh yeah- you know who you are.

Heath care in the USA- can't live with it, can't live... uh, with it...

Peace, love and all that,
Pedro the Paramedic

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The System Abuser Chronicles- Part One

Dispatched Priority One for a "diabetic emergency"- on scene we discovered that the patient had been driven by family to the wound care center this morning, where the staff referred the patient to a local hospital, as a direct admission, for treatment of an infection to the right biggie toe. Yes, I do indeed realize this can be a serious complication for a diabetic, but- the family put the patient back in the car, drove 45 minutes back to their home- coming within less than a hundred yards of the hospital- had some lunch, watched part of the hockey game and then- called 911.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Don't Worry, the Goverment Will Take Care of Us

Yes, you're government has a plan for you... let's just limit the discussion today to an analysis of some simple statistics- Now, statistically speaking- during your lifetime you WILL be the victim of a violent crime, and of course, statistically here in the USA it will involve a firearm. But, hey now- do not be alarmed. Because your Government as always has a plan- again, consulting the stats- every American will be in prisoned at least once some time in their lives- statistically speaking mind you- So, alright, let the bastards try and shoot you in there. Uncle Sam to the rescue one more time. Yea, USA numero uno...

Love,
Pedro the Paramedic

Monday, May 12, 2008

Even More Home Town News...

... if your home town is PICHER, Oklahoma- or if you end up down wind. Enjoy that breath of fresh air folks...

The news is here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/12/AR2007011201692.html

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Home Town News

The town I work in has gone through a lot of changes in the last few years- most bad. We have regular outbreaks of violence, overdoses and fires.
Some can be attributed to free lance thugs and gangs with guns and drugs.
There is a lot of alcohol related domestic violence.
Even on the road and in the nicest homes in the "good" section of town there is an epidemic of that lard and sugar rage that permeates middle class America.

"We have met the enemy and he is us"
Pogo- by Walt Kelly/ year unknown

Friday, May 9, 2008

Danger Will Smith, Or Who Ever You Are...

... Let me let you in on one of Pedro's numero uno rules of EMS survival-

I am more important than you, more important than the patient or the patients family. I am the most important person involved.
My family depends on me, my family is more important than you, more important than your family, more important than the patient.
I will not allow you, your actions or inactions to endanger me while I attempt to perform my job.

Don't think I don't care- I do, way too much- but you are not going to keep me from going home in one piece. Never.

Adios and Love,
Pedro the Paramedic

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

...It's On My List...

I make lists for myself- nothing too exotic- cut the grass, change the oil, meeting at.... You get the idea. I'm in a stretch where I am working 12 on/ 12 off- there seems to be no end in sight, so I have begun adding an item to the top of my daily list- SLEEP.

By the way, maybe some-one can help me with this- are EMS schedules an honest result of the true needs of the service or in reality just the expected outcome of allowing the busboys to run the kitchen- as it were, or is.

Now I know the answer to this question, but you need to give it some thought- is your EMS schedule allowing you a healthy, sustainable lifestyle? Hope so, but I bet for most of you (us) it's not...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Heathcare- USA Style

Finished up what was actually kind of a brutal EMS shift- on the way home I stopped at the local VFD for a plate of spaghetti. No- Pedro don't like the Sp'ghetts that much- no, this was a fund raiser my friend. We see them all the time- why it's like supplemental heath insurance! Now forget for a moment all the system abusers you see everyday- toe pain, finger pain, itchy this, scratchy, shaky, silly, my doctor told me to call, I'm too sad, I'm too happy,drug seeker, you know, you know.
No Padrone'- we were actually buying dinner so an 11 year old girl could get a bone marrow transplant- yes that is right- in 21st century USA we are trying to finance life saving medical procedures with noodles and red sauce.
That's just peachy you say, unemployed immigrants, let 'em git jobs and git theys own heath care insurance. Yup- good plan knucklehead- this family has jobs, and they serve the community and dey pay taxes- but... like alot of us... their health care plan fell short... and the caring healthcare pros that intervened on the little girls behalf basically said- ok, you ain't getting in the happy circle of life till we have $xx,xxxx, cash, up front- we will bill you for the rest.
So- the system is broken- you know it is, you see it. Till it can be fixed Pedro the Paramedic will eat VFD spaghetti and buy the raffle tickets and, and and...

Hey, is it some- how immoral that people in this country are being denied the most basic forms of care for no reason other than their insurance status?

Let Pedro the Paramedic just say it folks- any nation that requires it's sick and injured to pay first or die is wrong and rotten and immoral at it's very core.

Now please- let me repeat... right here in the USA, everyday, all the time, routinely- we sacrifice moms, dads, kids for no reason other than- they can't afford the cost of saving and maintaining their sorry asses- again, in 21st century USA we are trying to finance life saving medical procedures with noodles and red sauce, again, in 21st century USA we are trying to finance life saving medical procedures with noodles and red sauce, again, in 21st century USA we are trying to finance life saving medical procedures with noodles and red sauce, again, in 21st century USA we are trying to finance life saving medical procedures with noodles and red sauce...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

To Those We Serve...

"Were it not for the presence of the unwashed and the half educated, the formless, queer and incomplete, the unreasonable and absurd, the infinite shapes of the human tadpole, the horizon would not wear so wide a grin."
Frank Moore Colby
Imaginary Obligations


"No sir, I am not a public servant- I'm a public official."
Pedro the Paramedic
Setting it Straight One More Time

Saturday, May 3, 2008

America's Sootiest City

Yea, you're number one! Pittsburgh, the legendary "Smokey City" is back on top of the heap as it were. It has regained its rightful place as America's Sootiest City. As a former visitor to the Pittsburgh area I can attest that the air is indeed sooty, gritty and well-I guess you'd have to call it particulate.
The natives aren't too worried though- or so I gather from some of the news reports- they have the head in the sand syndrome mastered- hey, sand, more particulates- no wonder...

Air quality aside, I would have to put Pittsburgh in the mix with St Louie/ Kansas City, Atlanta and Bakersfield as among the most inhospitable, corrupt and blighted urban area's in the nation.

My memory of Pittsburgh is of a town full of lard seekers, butter-rollers and glum dinosaurs. The backward, sullen and swollen sons and daughters of the Linkhorns...

But don't just take my word for it...

"Hunched in its ravine, it is a hard-bitten, proletarian town, populated by immigrants ... from beyond the Carpathian mountains. Bingo parlors abound, as do establishments dealing in prosthetics."
Peter Conrad writing for the March 13, 1994 edition of The Observer Review of London

... The American Lung Association... They started this whole mess didn't they?

Friday, May 2, 2008

What's All That Junk On Your Belt Dude?

When I first started in EMS I looked for things to hang from my belt- lights (sometimes two, yes two flashlights), carabiners, trauma shears, pouches for gloves, pouches for stethoscopes and of course my radio- and back in the olden days the average portable was about the size and weight of a really good red-brick.
I only began reflecting on this because today, in the ER parking lot, I saw an EMSer packin' enough stuff on his belt to fill a Galls to the roof- walking hardware store... jingle, jangle, jingle...
Today- well I'm down to what I consider the bare essentials- two pairs of gloves in my right front pocket and a very light weight UHF portable clipped to my belt. Everything else is in the ambulance, in the House Bag or on my partner...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More on the Facts of Life...

... not everyone can or will, always be positively impacted by their encounter with Emergency Medical Services...


"You take the good you take the bad
you take them both and there you have
the facts of life
the facts of life
There's a time you've got to go
and show your grow'n and now you know
the facts of life
the facts of life"


... Theme song lyrics by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring, and Al Burton

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Paramedic Wanted-Apply Within

I am not even going to use this opportunity to comment on the nationwide- I mean, world wide shortage of paramedics... nope, I just wanted to say- I was surfing the www when I came across this blurb on the Yahoo home page. "Hot Jobs For Night owls"- the photo shows two happy knuckleheads pushing a stretcher occupied by , uh you know a sick dude.
Now qouting below from the web site:
"Connie Meyer, a full-time paramedic and member of the board of directors for the National Association of EMTs. You'll need people skills, basic first aid and emergency care knowledge, and of course, the ability to stay calm in a crisis. "Panicking is OK, but you just need to know what to do with yourself when you do it,""
Again, no comment- well other than to say Meyer is a shit head and the NAEMT could not care less about the sad state of affairs street-side in EMS.

"Panicking is OK, but you just need to know what to do with yourself when you do it,"- Yes my friends, these are the words of a shit head- a member of THE ROYAL ORDER OF THE DINOSAUR- yes we shall discuss this at length as we get to know one another. In the mean time just take it from ol' Uncle Pedro the Paramedic- "Panicking is NOT OK- DO NOT DO IT!!!"
We in fact get paid to calmly and neatly handle situations that yer everyday shit head off the street is unable to handle without panicking.

Here is the link to the post- read it for yourself- if you can: http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/career-articles-hot_jobs_for_night_owls-352

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Killed in the Line Of Duty

Let me tell you a story about a tragic loss of life right here in my service area...

Three professional firefighters killed fighting a house fire when they were unable to find their way back out.
What happened and how does that affect us?
Ok...
  • They went inside without a hose line
  • There was no safety line
  • None of them had a radio
  • They stayed in the house so long their air bottles were depleted before they could escape
  • Poor or no accountability- nobody knew they were in trouble till they were dead
So you say- I'm a paramedic there Pedro, how does this impact my job?

When you take things for granted, when your training fails you, when your operating procedures break down in the field, people are put in danger. Medical call, car crash, train wreck, mass incident, even just driving to or from a call- push your luck often enough and eventually somebody will get hurt- or killed.
Don't take the little things for granted. They only get taken care of when you take care of them. Open your eyes, clear your head. Stay safe.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Things That Are Funny For $200 Alex...

... In no particular order and not even EMS related, but to me, funny...
  • When I hear Hillary Clinton babble bad about the last seven years under the regime of Dumb King George - Hey, didn't she vote yes for every dumb-ass thing he's done... yes she did...
  • I laugh, in sad way- like when you see something pitiful, when John McCain, stages something to show how youthful and vigorous he is only to come off looking more and more like the sad, rickety, simple old man he is.
  • When drunks insist on helping the Paramedics
  • I laugh till I cry when my patient is a bulky dude in his 30's, who lectures me on citizen gun rights and self defense whist he is being transported to the ER after shooting himself in the calf holstering his sidearm.
  • I chuckle when drunks admit to "two beers" and only two beers. None of them have ever had more than, yes, two beers... I have a vision of a dude, laying on his back on the sidewalk, propped up on his elbows, soaked in his own piss screaming "Sir, I swear, I only had two beers sir. Sir, why are you laughing at me?"
  • And of course, I have to laugh when they swear they did, swear they did not and call me sir 15 or twenty times.
  • I smirk when I drive past the little road-side monuments that we allow to blossom that commemorate the spot where poor Drunk Johnny met his end.
  • I roar out load when I encounter firefighters on the job- I will pay cash money to go out on a fire call. The comedic high jinks are of the greatest quality and well worth the price of admission. Why, if I had a dollar for... Never mind- I am laughing now- we will make an entire episode or two about fireman follies...
  • And like you, I still laugh when grown men, who should know better, stick one of their only two hands under the deck of a running lawn mower. Ouch, but, come on- funny...
  • I laugh when bystanders, who did nothing while awaiting our arrival, scream at us to "DO SOMETHING!"
  • I try so hard not to laugh when the most hysterical of all the bystanders at an incident runs up, waves their arms and screams, "I'm a nurse!".
  • I do giggle a bit when me ambulance is referred to as "a bus" or "the bus"- though most of our patients really only need a bus- say it- it's true...
  • I smile inside when I get to talk to you, come on- you know...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Women in EMS

... I thought we could perhaps dive right into a controversy. If you have thoughts, please feel free to leave your comments.
... Pedro is associated with a rather large governmental Emergency Agency. As such we are very concerned with and aware of our treatment of "protected groups"- minorities, seniors, and of course women. Now don't think Pedro is intolerant- far from it. I am merely playing the devils advocate here. Based on my observations and from conversations overheard from afar let me make this general statement:
The women who gravitate towards EMS tend to have the most complicated, out-of-control home lives, the least skills, are emotionally unstable and unable to manifest a clinical detachment or an operational mindset, and are just flat out the most disruptive group in the station house day to day.

There, I said it...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why I So Rarely Use The Lights and Siren

Walked in the station this morning right at my 0730 start time- I hate sticking the outgoing crew with a late call but I just could not get moving. Poured my coffee and immediately got dispatched for a middle- aged female having chest pain. I'll spare you the war story- mum was having a rather significant inferior wall MI, with really, really big elevations in II,III and aVF. Did I mention the no blood pressure thing? So, off we go, lights and sirens to the ER. Thirty minutes door to door- not bad. Did all the required interventions. Great.
So what could be the problem? Well, found out towards the end of my shift that the patient had laid around down in the emergency room for close to two hours- and then arrested in the cath lab.
Win some, lose some, makes you wonder though.

Welcome to the Real World

... hello, I would like to introduce myself as quietly and as discreetly as possible. I am Pedro- Pedro the Paramedic. I will tell you ALL the TRUTH about the secret world of emergency medicine and public safety- it will not always be easy, it will not always be what you want- but it will be the truth and nothing other than the truth- as I, Pedro the Paramedic see it. Ouch!
And, so you may ask- why Pedro? Well, I carry a great burden you see- in the field of medicine I am a wet-back, though I work hard and do so much good. For I am a lowly Paramedic- a bus driver, a punching bag, and sometimes my dear friends- a life saver. What? Oh yeah, read it again- a LIFE SAVIOR. The only heath care for some, the only ride for some, the only hope for many. Pedro, Pedro the Paramedic.
Do not hate me for the things I am about to share- I am Pedro the Paramedic and what I say is nothing more than than truth, the truth as I see it and, if you choose to participate- the truth as YOU see it.
Please, please, please- our beloved EMS is in so much pain- share your comments here, your hopes and dreams, your thoughts- how can we do better? This is yours, as well as Pedro's- I look forward to hearing from you- I will not under any circumstance edit any LEGITIMATE comment. No matter if you are for or against Pedro.
Now, in the next few days, we will begin. The real truth about EMS, about EMT's, about Paramedics, emergency rooms, doctors, nurses, ambulances- hey- YOU tell Pedro.
I will be here, I will relate what I see, and how I see it- the rest, as always is up to you.
Do not let us down.
I love what I do- but I am afraid of where we are going. Please, please hold my hand. The hand I humbly offer you- the hand of Pedro the Paramedic.
Pedro the Paramedic- the very last beacon of truth, justice and the American Way in EMS today.