Tuesday, June 5, 2012


There is a Jems article comparing EMS skills to a football play...

I cannot begin to portray how demeaning and appalling that I find this article to be towards EMS as a whole. Maybe it was wrote and published with good intentions. Maybe I am taking it in the wrong context. I do not know but it is not how I want my profession portrayed for a number of reasons.

I can teach a monkey to perform a football play and run through a certain gap in the line. I can teach a monkey to intubate a patient because it is repetition and muscle memory. That is where the similarities stop. What I cannot teach to a monkey is the discretion that it takes to be a Paramedic. Fourth and long is not that big of a deal in football, punt the ball and try again later. Fourth and long is life and death in EMS and that is where the playbook is usually of no help.

I read through the article and it a very little to do with calling a play and everything to do with laziness. Not bringing in the cot with the rest of the equipment, when did the trend happen that the cot is left out in the truck? The most important piece of equipment that we cannot function without or transport the patient is the cot and we are primarily a transport service after all. I can do a lot of things for my patients but, transport in a timely manner means more for a critical patient than anything else I do. I thank God for my firefighters and the assistance they give me when they are there but, I definitely do not rely on them to get my cot in the door.  They are first responders not hose or cot jockeys.

Most Paramedics would take the airway kit, drug box, and monitor without hesitation on a dispatch like this. The mindset would be doing as much as possible without wasting time but, they left the cot outside...

Did this trend start when Paramedics and EMTs decided that they held the power to determine if this person's 911 call was legit? Maybe quit complaining about the last patient and how many cars were in the driveway, yes it is annoying, and start treating every call as an emergency until proven otherwise. If they had taken nothing in more than the cot, they would have been able to get this patient to the ambulance in a timely manner. Personally I have scene times of 5-8 minutes on critical runs because I have a cot with me and can do the rest while going down the road. Stroke symptoms, load and go…STEMI on the monitor, load and go…Respiratory distress or failure, load and begin treatment. These are the fourth and long situations of EMS, and without the ability to transport an audible is not available.

This scenario was doomed from the start because of an EMS crew that came in the door unprepared for a critical patient. The debriefing should have had nothing to do with a pep talk about football and everything about an ass chewing for being unprepared without the ability to begin immediate transport, an ass chewing for the Paramedic that did not take charge immediately with scene management. Maybe a hose drill for the Paramedics is what is needed but, instead of a hose use the cot.  A few trips up and down the stairs to the roof lugging a Stryker Power Cot will create a lasting impression to treat the cot a little more like American Express and never leave the truck without it.

No comments:

Post a Comment