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.

1 comment:

Paramedic Program said...

Informative Stuff ! Sometime acidity create chest problem and patient think it as heart attack.