Saturday, October 18, 2008

EMS Saves... Another Universal Care Plan Fails

That's Jim Craig, I believe, circa 1980. 

Hawaii's universal child health care initiative failed within the first year because, unbelievably, people who formerly paid for their insurance quickly dropped it to get the 'free' insurance. Check it out here. 

Back to medicine. For some reason there are a lot of docs and nurses out there who look down their noses at EMS. 

You are twenty-two and healthy. You get stung by a bee. You go into anaphylactic shock and are dead when EMS arrives. They transport you 45 minutes to me, all the while doing CPR, intubating you, and pumping you full of epinephrine. As you hit the door your heart starts up again and I get to bless you as you go up to the unit. Your family wants to thank me but I point them straight to you. You did it and did it well. 

I love paramedics, and for you future users of EMS, these guys and gals are EXACTLY who you want on the scene of your heart attack or car crash. You don't want House, MD, nor do you want Marcus Welby. You want the people who are trained to get you out of your car, revive you, and get you to me alive. 

God bless the intrepid medics. I know your pay sucks and people hit you and spit on you, but without you there would be lots more dead people. 


  1. Nice to know they're looking out for us.

    Don't have a heart attack in Japan. Not only do they not know how to do much medically wise, but cars do not pull over for ambulances. Imagine that in Tokyo traffic. To make things even worst. It takes several hours to find a hospital that will take an ambulance. So you die in the bus OUTSDIE the hosptial.

  2. Please excuse my spelling/typos. I wish I could blame it on a hangover.

  3. I'm right with you on this one, 911DOC. EMTs are the unsung heroes of emergency medical care.

  4. But all the epinephrine in the world won't help if it can't get into you, lets hear it for the real hero of EMS, the guy wielding the "Jaws of Life"...Yay...!!!

  5. Well, as a former medic (now nurse)...thank you!

    Interestingly enough in my five years as a medic, it was NEVER the docs that gave us a hard time (I actually dated quiet a few and almost married one) was always the nurses.

    Even now as an ED nurse...I don't get the attitude some nurses have. We are are here to work...we are here to get patients.....just get over it...or go work in a doctor's office. Of course, I am not referring to all nurses....but it is a large number....

    And about the sucked when I did it...but things have gotten better. When I worked in Seattle (where the medics kick ass, BTW....they can RSI, start Levo, stick in a subclavian) they made more than many of the nurses.

    The only a nurse I STILL get bit, spit on, name it...except now I get to keep the patient for 8 hours as opposed to 30 minutes.....and they are all those pesky witnesses walking around. So much better when it was just me in the back of an ambulance...along with my very protective, large, male partner....

  6. Amy: When my son fell off a cliff the rescued him by boat then put him on a copter because it was rush hour--it would have taken an hour to get to the trauma center. Count me as a grateful Mom.

  7. As a Paramedic all I can say is...


    It's nice to know people do recognize us and what we can do (despite the few that can't do anything right). Keep up the great work and the great writting. You as well Jen and Amy!

  8. Kudos to the EMS guys.

    I do have only one problem. Just don't piss my leg and tell me it's raining. I know for a fact the drunk from the bus station with the forehead lack and a gallon of urine in his jeans didn't ASK to come to my hospital (there are 3 within 4 miles) Just tell me the truth that you wanted to quickly dump and go and I will respect you more.


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  10. Hey...thanks. Good job to the medics! Nothing like a good save!

    SC: I promise not to lie to you! Drunks w/o traumatic injuries always go to the hospital with the nurses that are rudest to us...atleast, that's how I roll. Kidding.

  11. Worst thing that can happen to you is to have anyone other than a medic on scene if you have a true Emergency! I've received quite a few medic calls over the years from crews about some damn fool internist or surgeon who is on scene and wants to do something crazy!

    I try and make it a point to talk to the crews when they bring in anything interesting and thank them. I truly appreciate the work they do. I look at some of the patients and I KNOW I wouldn't want to have dealt with them in the back of the unit or trudged through their critter infested trailer.

    So, Kudos to the folks with the sirens and the stethoscopes!

  12. We could do with them here. In France the firebrigade come out I kid you not! Well I suppose you get to see eye candy before you die. Debs x

  13. Thanks, 911Doc. You and WhiteCoat are exactly the second and third docs I've known to offer such praise of us EMS types.

    (Actually, WhiteCoat's is almost a carbon-copy of Doc #1...Whitecoat: every work in the DC area?)

    shrodingers cat: I never once lied to nurses when I brought them urine-soaked drunks (or any other kind of drunk). They'd ask me "if you picked him up 2 blocks from [hospital x], why did you bring him all the way here?" I'd always smile sweetly and say "Because I like the staff at [hospital x]; they don't treat me like [feces] every time I walk in there."