Wednesday, December 22, 2010

EMS is Hopelessly Screwed Up- Here's Why...

Don't tell me it's not- you know damn well it is. The pre-hospital emergency medical services here in the good ol' USA are totally, irretrievably screwed up. You and all your little EMS pals will never ever put it back together again.

Now, here' why... short and sweet.

Most of the "good" people have moved on, they're gone, got fed up, tired of fighting the same battles day after day- never comin' back.

The lazy, incompetent, unremarkable leftovers who were (are) politically savvy and adept got themselves promoted into management- the circle of un- excellence continues. Round and round like a toilet full of shit that won't flush.

The rest of the lazy, incompetent, unremarkable leftovers? Hey- they are your partners. You know them... the patient abusers, the jackasses who won't keep up with technology, with new meds, new ideas. They're the assholes with their feet up, watchin' Charmed and Wife Swap while you check your truck, work with some new equpment, or do on-line Con-Ed.

Think it's gonna get better? Well, you want it to- you really care... but somewhere deep inside you know it's all down hill from here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pedro the Paramedic On the Economy

I can hear you now- "You're a Paramedic, what the hell do you know about the economy?". Fair enough- you're right- I haven't been to Harvard Business School, and I don't really have any other credentials I can wave at you. But... I have a keen nose for bullshit and, like everyone, I have an opinion.

When the "Suits" get on the TV and tell you the economy is getting better, look 'em in the eye and call it out; "BULLSHIT!".

What the Man is telling you is that the Money Changers managed to get all their money back- at your expense. Want to know how the economy is affecting the guy on the street? Look at foreclosures, bankruptcies and the unemployment rate... Check your regions median income... Check your towns business district for shut down, boarded up businesses. There's more plywood in the section of town I work in then a lumber yard.

So the bottom line is- it's not better, it's worse and will likely stay worse for quite a while.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

RE: Response Times

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Having sat through yet another ambulance thrill ride I thought I would pass along this fun little exercise in practical mathematics. Nothing too complicated.

Ok- our service area is divided up into districts, and yeah I know sometimes we respond way 'cross town through traffic, but we want to keep the math simple today remember?

Alright, my station is about 2 miles from any point in my district... from the station...

  • If you averaged 60 miles per hour enroute to the call it would take you two (2) minutes to get there...
  • In order to save just ONE MINUTE (1) you would have to average 120 miles per hour. Got that? Not a typo- 120 MPH to save ONE MINUTE.
Now it's seems to me that we might be able to save more time by taking a safe drive to the call and then maybe pulling our thumbs from our asses and doing some EMS work while on scene.

Thanks for your time.

(Smiley Face Hearts)
Pedro the Paramedic

Thursday, October 28, 2010

... And What Did You Do Before You Got Into EMS...

2315- I'm standing on my front porch, I can hear gunshots in the City coming from across the valley. I'm kicking myself- it's a nice fall night, I wish I had gotten an earlier start so I could walk, run or bike the two miles to the station. But I can't be late- I'm precepting Mel- one of our new Medics.

The shift starts out pretty slow- we check and fuel our ambulance, run some errands, do a couple routine (if there is such a thing) EMS calls. We're dispatched by cell phone at 0440 to do a special detail with the police.

The detail requires us to sit in the parking lot of a fast food place several blocks from where the police are serving a high risk warrant. Unless something goes wrong Mel and I will just sit until they release us.

We get some coffee and pass the time making small talk. Mel asks what I did before I got into EMS...

"Well, I was an automotive technician for a couple years. Pretty good one too. Still like to work on my bikes and stuff."

Mel looked at me with genuine disdain "How the hell does that qualify you to be a Paramedic?"
The dude was really upset.

"Damned if I know Mel. Been working for the City for 12 years, must be doin' something right."

Mel didn't seem at all appeased- he just shook his head and looked away.

After a couple of minutes of silence I asked Mel- " So Mister brand new Paramedic. What did YOU do before you got into EMS?"

" I was a bartender at {name of local club}"

I did a spit take with my coffee and started laughing.

" Bartender huh? Well Mel, I hope your precept time is everything you hoped it would be... and more."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breaking in the New Medics

Working the overnight with Terri- a new to the City Paramedic with about a dozen years of EMS experience.

Dispatched E-3 (low priority) at 0335 to standby at an apartment fire. We are the fifth or sixth ambulance assigned and are to report to the Command Center a block from the fire.

Terri jumps behind the wheel of our truck, starts it up, flips on the lights & siren and goes tearin' down the Avenue towards the fire. I let her go about a block and a half and then...

"Terri, pull over to the curb here for a second. I'm shutting off the lights."

"Ok, what's up?"

"Where are we going?"

"To a fire standby."

"Have we encountered any traffic?"

"No- it's three thirty in the morning."

"Hmm, do we have a patient?"


"That's right- we don't have a patient. Now, take a quick look in the side mirror. Just verify for me-are we a f****** fire truck?"

"No, we're still an ambulance."

"Huh, I thought so. We're an ambulance going to a standby, E-3. We're not a f****** fire truck."

"Yeah, right, right"

"Then why the f*** are you using the g**d*** lights and siren?"

Photo: Thomas Hawk/

Monday, September 27, 2010

EMS, Overtime and the Hey, Thanks Guys

Wow, sorry- I've been away from the blog-o-sphere for a while... too much overtime I guess. Thought you might enjoy checking the ol' Inbox with me..

Below is an e-mail from the chief of a large urban EMS service to the troops on the street. Thanks for working the endless, mind numbing OT- help is on the way. Or is it?

Well, as the e-mail notes eight shiny new Paramedics will be sent out to fight the good fight... left unsaid is the fact that:

a) City EMS started out 32 guys and gals short

b) Three of the eight quit already

c) Two full time Medics were dismissed, for various infractions, since the e-mail was sent

d) Five old timers quit, retired and otherwise moved onward and upward

Enough already- the e-mails below for your EMS reading enjoyment.

From: xxxxxxx, xxxxxxx
Sent: Sun x/18/2010 9:36 AM
Cc: xxxx,xxxxxx

I realize there has been - and will likely continue to be - considerable shift overtime. Although 8 new Paramedics will be joining our ranks in the weeks to come, it is unlikely they will be able to impact the OT for a while. However, we will do our best to get them into the field as soon as we can. In the meantime, the position of PARAMEDIC has been posted so we can expand our pool of qualified applicants and continue to fill vacancies. Therefore, if you know of any friends, colleagues or students who are Paramedics and are interested in joining xEMS, please share the attached posting with them.

In the meantime, please know how much I appreciate the extra effort being put forth by everybody. Hang in there / keep up the great work.relief is on the way.

Thank you!


xxxxx,xxxxxx Chief

xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxx

Emergency Medical Services



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