Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When Life Imitates Art

No one I work with has mentioned the NBC show Trauma so I'm guessing it's pretty much a non-event. I had the mis-fortune of watching the show and, I know real life doesn't sell, but the show was goofy. Let me tell you right now- if Harold and Kumar had crashed a chopper into the side of a building around here, they ain't gettin' a new one any time soon. So from a consumer point of view, I thought Trauma was goofy, stereotypical, cliched, poorly executed, written and acted.

Again, I repeat my assertion that the ONLY way to save the show is to add Lassie to the cast. Please contact NBC and demand it.

To me the real danger of shows like Trauma, and I'm speaking from my EMS vantage point, is that there are knuckleheads out there that believe that stuff. People we work with or could, in the future, work with. People who identify with these fictional characters and try to incorporate that "stuff" into real life.

So, let me put a dime in the old anecdote jar and run this one past you:

I was working a 12 with Jim, who was both a new Medic and a new hire, and with Jen, who was precepting with me for Paramedic class. Jim and I had never partnered before but everybody said he was hyper and prone to "itchiness". Real Medics, real big city Medics if you will, don't appreciate either trait.

Our first call of the shift was to a nursing home for an "eighty-two year old female. Doctor is requesting transport because of abnormal labs". Ever get a call like that? Oh, I bet you have... usually they are the very definition of a routine EMS call, and I happen to think they are great for students because they can do all their fun Paramedic interventions without the pressure of a patient who is headed down the crapper at warp speed.

Of we go. Jim reaches over and flips on the lights. "Don't need 'em Jim, nice easy ride will do. We're just a few blocks away". Jims respirations went way up- especially at the red light we caught half way there.

Upstairs in the facility we found our patient in bed, alert and oriented, appearing to be in no real distress. Her two grown daughters were there with her.

I took a step back and let Jen take over, Jim was to be her partner and helper.

Jen was doing a pretty good job- she had instantly established a rapport with the patient and her family, and was collecting a detailed history. During the interview I overhead one daughter say " Moms English isn't always so good- we're from Lithuania"

Jim meantime was going nuts- things just weren't moving fast enough for him. Jen was sitting on the edge of the bed talking and I had taken a seat in an armchair in the corner. Things were getting done- but in a calm, relaxed way. And that apparently was not Jims style.

Jim grabbed our brand new Lifepak 12, held it up and yelled " Jen, fer Chrisakes! This is an emergency! Let's get moving dammit! Get her on the monitor STAT!!!"

To make a long story short- we got our patient to the hospital, gave the report and stepped outside to do a little post call review.

"Jen, you did a great job on this call. I know you didn't get a lot of help but you got everything done, you did it well and our scene time was under twenty minutes. Very cool Jenny-Jen"

... and then I turned my attention to Jim...

-speaking loudly-
"Jim, what the hell were you thinking back there? I can't believe what you just did to us. You're an insensitive asshole. Jim, did you know STAT is Lithuanian slang for Your Mothers a whore?.. and you yelled it at two Lithuanian women with a sick Mom. They're gonna write a letter because of you- make sure you write an incident report. Idiot!"

Back at the station Jim stomped inside the crew area and I could over hear bits and pieces of his conversation with the two other crews in the base- "Incident report...he said... I said... STAT... Lithuanian..." Suddenly, laughter- loud, out-of control-hey yer an idiot- laughter.

Jim ran out front, stood in front of me and screamed "You are a prick!"

He never said STAT again...

... but for the three and half years he was in our station, his nickname was, oh yeah baby- STAT.


TBChick said...

Too funny!! There always seems to be one, no matter where you work,that just has to make a big deal out of nothing.

I just love giving them a reality check.

Think you might have inspired another post for me. Thanks.

The Happy Medic said...

Spot on with the nursing home call, way to pass along the reality of our situations. I too deal with flustered folks wanting to roll lights and sirens a few blocks for the "headache, sudden."

As far as Trauma, it's not as bad as half the crap on TV these days, I'm giving it 4 episodes before I pass judgment. That's how long it took the network big wigs to decide to cancel one of my favorites.

And STAT as a nickname...bitchin'!