Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today the Ambulance Did Not Come...

... The service area was going crazy this morning- we ran out of ALS trucks and I got called in for eight of OT. Ordinarily I would turn down a shift like this but today, well, today I didn't...
So our crack EMS management staff, now gifted with an extra all-ALS truck to send into battle, decides to send us out of the area on a BLS transport. Ok, if that's what you want- hell, that's super easy duty.
We had just loaded our patient, her husband, 500 pounds of personal belongings packed in white plastic bags and a potted plant in the ambulance when our tones went off- "58 year old male down, possible cardiac arrest"
Our stupid-visor, the same genius that sent us out of the area jumped on the radio and assigned the call to us.
"Unable sir, we have a patient onboard."
"What, what patient?"
"We're out of the area on that BLS transport you assigned us"
"Do a quick turn-a-round"
Notice that no one has been sent to the man down...
"We will be about 90 minutes or more"
Silence from the stupid-visor- please refer to the EMS manager training video...
My partner could finally take it no longer and asked Dispatch to send Mutual Aid.
Our fearless EMS Supervisor did not respond to the call, it took the Mutual Aid Service 12 minutes to get on scene.
Thankfully this was not an arrest but a syncopal episode.

While we were out of the area our service was unable to send an ambulance to-
  • A car crash with injuries
  • A nine month old who fell down several concrete steps
  • A female with abdominal pain
All resulted in transports by Mutual Aid- my partner and I could definitely have handled two of those, maybe all three.
But we got our transport in and made the Service $175...
... hope it was worth it...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Medics as Targets

"A Palestinian medic, traveling with two International Solidarity Movement volunteers, has been shot by Israeli forces in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
Red Crescent medic, Hassan al-Attal, was shot through the thigh while collecting a civilian killed by Israeli fire from Zemmo, east of Jabaliya refugee camp.
"- From YouTube

... just in case you thought you had a tough EMS shift...
At one time in history it was considered dishonorable to shoot at the Medics... not today, not in Gaza.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The EMS Management Training Video

... The video gives a real quick look at the EMS managers thought process...

... it goes something like this:
"Hey look, I've got a really great idea... whoops, help, maybe not so great... the EMS field staff will bail me out- hell, it was their fault anyway..."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Unions and EMS

Sometimes your EMS supervisors,managers,directors, chiefs- the dinosaurs- poison the work environment, demoralize and degrade the field staff, become petty, abusive, unreasonable... unprofessional.
You're an EMT or a Paramedic- a professional person with a higher calling. You help people- why should you have to suffer the "daily indignities" imposed by what is proving to be the most backward element in EMS- the managers,the dinosaurs.
Maybe you and your workmates just need a little help leveling the playing field...

National EMS Association 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

EMT's on TV

...from the nice people at

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just Watch....

  • Watch your thoughts; they become words.
  • Watch your words; they become actions.
  • Watch your actions; they become habits.
  • Watch your habits; they become character.
  • Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
- Frank Outlaw
... and who was this Frank Outlaw anyway?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

EMS Wages- Grainger County Tennessee Style

The headline reads:

"Grainger EMTs get emergency pay raise to meet new minimum wage"

Here's the link to the rest of the story:

I guess there isn't alot anyone can add to that...

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Is Dark As A Dungeon...

... way down in the mine, down in the hole- confined space rescue... I went through the training years ago, even did a legit confined space rescue. Today I'm thinking of turning down a better job, in a better place, a better service... a more professional environment- surrounded by people who know me, like me, respect me and want to work with me. Oh, and it's way more money, so why Pedro, why? How could you pass on this great opportunity?
Well, turns out someone discovered what I just told you- I did my confined space training years ago- and these folks were kind of insistent that I "update" as part of their introductory training. Very, very reasonable I thought- until a friend described the process... this outfit does the training at an old missile site- no simulators here- you're lowered down a tube that's just big enough to squeeze through with SCBA on, and at the bottom you wiggle into a horizontal tube about 75 feet long, access a patient, secure him and return. That's great- except right now, today, in this moment, thinking about going into and through that damn hole is giving me the cold sweats- panic.
I'm trying some self help psychology, but as of right this minute it ain't working... but the more I try to talk myself into the hole, the more I admire you folks who do the training and put it on the line out on the streets- you're the greatest...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Busy Day In EMS- ville...

... or Why The System Abusers Are Winning The War...
We had an incredibly busy day- all of us, non stop all shift- well, everyone but the dinosaurs- they bugged out at 1558 per the norm.
Ten calls in eight hours, the last two hours through gridlocked urban traffic- our other crews were as or more busy.
Ten genuine medical/ trauma emergencies in eight hours- oh that is funny- you know better.
Let's break it down:

One real EMS emergency- Chest pain with EKG irregularities
Two time wasters with the Fire Department
Five EMS Bread n' Butta's- you know- can't pee, can't poop, can't stop peeing, can't stop pooping
One thumb laceration
One desperate call for help from a gentleman with "dry lips"

My partner says- "it's like the whole world is laughing at us"

Monday, January 5, 2009

EMS Cliques

All EMS agencies have cliques, all workplaces have cliques- the service I work for has lots of them, they kind of over lap like the rings in the Olympics logo... and some are better than others- today we had the dis-pleasure of relieving one of the evil cliques, or at least a part of it. You know the kind- gossip, lie, fight, run to management, cry, argue, demoralize- wow, pretty much the backbone of EMS...
This morning my partner Amy got some (behind her back) attitude from these idiots and said the following, which I thought was both appropriate and poetic-

"You guys are like puppies- not cool cute puppies, you're like the weird, sick puppies that are left over after all the other puppies get homes"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hey, Jefferson Said It's Alright...

... I closed out my shift yesterday tending to another overdose- this doper was far from unresponsive though- she downed some pills, some booze, snorted some crank and beat the hell out of her roommate.
I got to thinking- I've never been on a marijuana overdose, or seen an assault, brawl or domestic violence call related to pot use. The stuff seems pretty benign- and before some one starts yelling gateway drug- well, let's put pot in line way behind cigarettes and alcohol.

“The greatest service which can be rendered any
country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”
- Thomas Jefferson, 1813

Image is from this extraordinary photo stream:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Scene Safety... No, Not Today...

... Sometimes the on scene co-operation between police, fire and EMS isn't always what it should be- especially at a crash when the police are determined to keep all lanes open to traffic.
The idea of setting up a safety zone and using a vehicle as a "blocker" isn't new- hell, even the highway maintenence workers do it.
The video shows you what can go wrong when emergency operations aren't pre-planned and trained for by all agencies. This time it was a crash on the side of a busy road, tommorrow it could be a major incident that gets turned into a cluster...

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Ambulance Crashes and You

Ok Paramedics (and EMTs) do you ever get so tired that you're afraid to drive the ambulance, so tired you make dumb decisions, so tired you're a danger to the general public? No? Don't bet on it...
Overtime, whacky shifts due to bizarre, irrational schedule making, unhealthy lifestyles- it all adds up...

Cool photo of the Pontiac "funeral home" style ambulance from:
Usage license:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

In With The Old, Out With The New...

... ending the year with style...
1833- Dispatched with the police for an unresponsive 40 year old, possible drug overdose. We arrived to find an old friend curled up in a puddle of water- the old junkie household remedy courtesy of the live in junkie girl friend- dump cold water or ice on the "victim". Our patient was responsive but largely incoherent and unable to care for himself. The girlfriend wasn't much help in putting together a history- junkies all lie, all the time- no need for fairy tales, you treat what you see and, well- off to the ER we go.
Not much of a story, I know. You guys treat junkie overdoses everyday. The only thing that stood out- this was the third time in the last five days I've treated this knucklehead for the same thing, the exact same thing... and we found the girl slumped over a garbage can in an alley two weeks ago. Whacked out, covered in piss, spit and vomit. Junkie family values.
1949- Dispatched for an 85 year old female with chest pain and shortness of breath. On scene we re-united with another old friend. Mary Lou didn't have chest pain and she wasn't short of breath- she was just "really, really upset" that she had fallen behind on her housework because of the holidays. Mary Lou just wanted a "check-up"- we talked her into a nice New Years Eve ride to the Emergency Room. Why you ask? Well, she's 85 and I know if she dies in the next month or so everyone will say "But the paramedics were just here and said she was all right..."
... Almost shift change- we're having a real morale problem here- you never know if your relief will call off at the last minute or walk in late. I've had to institute the 5 minute rule- I give my relief five minutes, if they aren't in here by then I swipe my card and leave. Hey, management created this monster, they can waddle out to the trucks and cover the area.
Happy New Year...