Yesterday I got a little carried away and put up what I believe a record number of articles posted in a single day. I wrote five hard-hitting, fact-filled pieces of “reporterage” that were examples of the hard-hitting journalism that hits close to home that you in no way have reason to have come to expect from me.
The fact that it was April 1st, 2013 has nothing to do with it as I maintain that most of these stories have at least some grains of truth to them.
I stopped posting on my site when another blogger messaged me to tell me that I “sure was trying hard” that day and I didn’t tell you the story of the ambulance service that… Well, maybe I’ll save that idea for later. Anyway, enjoy this clip show. If you didn’t learn about the stuff in these articles, then you didn’t learn the news of the day.
Thanks for reading! I think for the rest of the month I’ll leave the funny stuff to my buddy Rescue Joe over at RescueHumor.com
At small ceremony held today, Paramedic Christopher Downdike was honored by his ambulance service for having a near 95% against-medical-advice refusal of transport rate. Among other things, Paramedic Downdike was recognized by both his superiors and his peers for being able to sign off nearly 438 patients during calendar year 2012.
“For service far beyond what we could call ‘normal’ we recognize Paramedic Downdike for managing to not transport far more patients than could have been expected.” Said Chief Norberg of the Mountain Orchard EMS department. “Through his inaction, Paramedic Downdike has been able to save Medicare, Medicaid, and a number of other private healthcare insurance companies vast amounts of money that they otherwise would have wasted on paying for ambulance services.”
Displaying little more than his trademark apathy, Paramedic Downdike said that it hadn’t been easy. “First off, I couldn’t sign em’ all off. I mean, these people… they call us at like all hours of the day for stupid reasons. Why are they calling me when they could just as easily take a taxi or just drive themselves. Is it really a heart attack?? Geez… Not this time, buddy.”
Paramedic Downdike continued to deride patients who he felt were beneath his vast array of medical skills and level of competence. He let us know that most patients with “Chest Pain” were really just victims of indigestion that could probably just take some antacids and “be just fine” and that anyone complaining of back pain was “faking it so they can get drugs in the ER.”
“Call me when you’re dying and I’ll come save you. That’s what 911 is for. If you need a lot of my skills, then we’re good. But if you call me because you’re having something stupid like a broken arm, well then you better be able to sign that piece of paper because I ain’t havin’ it.” Said the heroic paramedic.
It wasn’t a perfect record though.
“There’s this stupid state law that says we can’t really tell someone that we’re not going to take them to the ER if they really want to go, so sometimes we’ve got no choice.” Paramedic Downdike explained. “A lot of those cases I was able to just turf to BLS but some of those yahoos actually made me take em’ to the hospital. Hello bench seat… you ain’t messin up my cot today!”
At the end of the ceremony, Paramedic Downdike received a call for a 2 year old having a seizure. He was heard muttering “Stupid parents who can’t give their kid Tylenol” as he sauntered off to “take a leak” before he left.
Calling the county-based ambulance service “A bunch of dumb, know-it-all ‘paragods” Ernie Slater, a local volunteer Basic Level Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) dismissed calling for an Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic intercept for his patient with chest pain earlier this morning.
“Those dumb paramedics think they know everything” said Mr. Slater, hitching up his belt which in addition to holding up his EMS pants, also held a wide-array of pagers, radios, and EMS tools neatly arranged in holsters. “We show up and we can take people to the hospital. I mean, what more do they really need?”
Mr. Slater, who refers to Lifestar EMS, the county based paramedic service, as “Death Star” recently graduated from his EMT-Basic class at the local community college. He credits his vast amount of medical knowledge to the fact that he took the class three times before he passed it and had a lot of time to learn the information presented to him by the instructors, of whom he added “Were a bunch of idiots who didn’t know nothing.”
“We’ve got high-flow oxygen and can give nitro pills to anyone who needs em” He declared proudly, giving the patient their fifth pill since he assumed their care. Our service says we give them till the chest pain goes away and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m taking this guy to the ER down the street. I mean, what am I going to need those stupid medics for? Nothing.” He added “I got this.”
For his part, the patient, who called 911 this morning after awaking with crushing chest pain added “I can’t really complain about the care I’m getting, but shouldn’t an ambulance guy take the dip out of his mouth before he comes to your house? I’m pretty angry about him spitting tobacco juice on my carpet but how can you get mad at a volunteer?”
Paramedics, who can perform so-called “Advanced” treatments like starting IVs, giving medications, performing airway management techniques, and interpreting EKGs go to school for a significantly longer amount of time than do EMT-Basics. The length of school which Mr. Slater added “was stupid” and “dumb as hell”.
“Why would I want to go to all of that extra school? I mean, I pretty much know everything they do and I see no reason why I can’t do all of the things like them ‘paragods” He opined derisively. “Starting an IV is easy and nothing they do is all that hard.”
At press time, Mr. Slater was planning to spend his evening hours playing video games at home rather than attending his service’s continuing education classes scheduled for tonight.
I came across a new business today while I was casually wandering around the Internet and I just absolutely had to share it with the EMS crowd. The company, called "Hangover Heaven" (www.HangoverHeaven.com) is set to open April 14th, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV. (Where else?)
If you haven't already clicked the link their business model is that they have a bus that drives around the strip, picking up the hungover masses, and providing "a small IV in your arm that provides the necessary treatment to continue the party or just get back to your normal self." They have two packages, the "Redemption" package for $90 that provides IV hydration only, and the "Salvation" Package for $150 that provides relief through their "Proprietary treatment" which they say contains intravenous hydration, an anti-emetic, an anti-inflammatory medication, and a "Vitamin supplement" package.
You should really read their website yourself. Some copywriter did a great job of selling what I can only surmise to be a banana bag, ondansetron, and toradol. Those meds and the IV fluid will most probably cure any hangover quite handily. While I think this is a bit cheesy… I've got nothing but respect for their plan. Heck, if anything I'm jealous that I hadn't thought about it first. While I'm not licensed to practice EMS in Nevada, I could easily cruise around the streets of Milwaukee, Madison, or Chicago in my ambulance providing the same services to the over-imbibed folks in those fair cities. If we could ask for cash up front, like I'm sure they are, we could probably pull in a few thousand a week doing this. For that kind of coin any city could afford to fund the pension plan and give the nice EMS folks a hefty raise.
What I'm saying is, come on cash-strapped municipalities, belly up to the bedside and get your medical directors to authorize this service. Your budget woes are a thing of the past!
Is this legal? The owner is an anesthesiologist, but there is no mention of who is actually providing the service.
I'm a Nationally Registered Paramedic… are you hiring? Please?
Are you selling franchises? Cuz I could use one here in Wisconsin and Illinois real bad. I'd start my own but I'd need a medical director who would be willing… and the ones around here are probably spoil sports
Although… I haven't yet asked them if they are ok with this. They could be. Perhaps it's better that you just sell me a franchise real quick and real cheap-like and we can just keep the brand-name going strong.
In all seriousness. Think of what effect this could have on the already overused emergency healthcare system in the city. I mean, if even 10% of the people who are going to be seen by this bus would have otherwise ended up in the emergency rooms getting largely the same treatment, this company could sincerely ease some of the burden on the healthcare system. It's definitely a cheaper alternative. Even their $150 treatment is way cheaper than a trip to the ER. This bus could immediately benefit the entire system by giving patients an alternative to the traditional, significantly costlier, methods. It will save insurance companies and governmental healthcare payors thousands and free up the ERs from taking care of this patient demographic.
I really do think they're on to something. Wish I'd have thought of it first.The success of this business will go to prove something. If it survives and thrives, then EMS can also find free-market alternatives that will help save our profession and the communities we serve. Obviously it can be done.
“I gotta ask ya… How did I look in my underwear tonight? I wore a special pair just for you”
“Um… What?? What do you mean?”
“Well, you always seem to call me to come over here just after I’ve gotten into bed and right as I’m going to sleep. I figured you probably have a camera in my bunk room at the station or something”
“I wore the pink ones. They’re special. Just for you.”
This conversation pretty much actually happened the other night. No, her name wasn’t “April” (because I’ve changed the name) and I wasn’t actually wearing pink underoos (they were purple) but the sentiment was there just the same. Even in my relatively small jurisdiction we have our share of “frequent fliers”, the regular patients who call 911 all the time and seem to make up an extremely disproportionate number of our annual calls for service. They’re our regulars. We know their addresses by heart and cringe every time we hear them come over the radio. Sometimes the regulars are sweet people, nice folks in every way who call us for legitimate reasons… other times; they’re not.
Regardless, the regulars are fixtures at every single EMS station I’ve ever been to. Every service has their share and every service knows them by heart. We get to know them, and they get to know the crews as well as drug seekers get to know the local ER docs. Sometimes they even get to know our shift schedules and only call on days where they like the EMTs that are working. Sometimes they just don’t care and call when they’re lonely, or when their scalp is itchy, or when their feet are dry, or when they’re sure the kid down the hall is up to no good and they know the cops will come when they call for an ambulance… etcetera.
Sure, I could be a good little EMS blogger and give you a bunch of useful strategies on how to positively affect the lives of these patients and offer them resources on how to more constructively manage their healthcare/loneliness/insanity needs… but not tonight. Tonight is the second night of an unscheduled 48hr shift and I know… I JUST KNOW that the camera in my bunk room is very much functional and someone is going to see my polka-dot underwear and call for me just as my head hits the pillow.
So tonight I’m going to tell you about my new idea for a game we can start to play here at the unnamed ambulance service where I work.
I call it, the “Wheel of the Regulars”
I plan on making a “Wheel of Fortune” style game board complete with a rotating wheel made out of plywood. I will put a spinner on it and divide it up into sections. In each section, I plan on putting the initials of our most prolific EMS regulars… the ones who we are almost guaranteed to see multiple times in one week. I’ll make it so that the wheel can be spun manually, and will eventually stop with an indicator showing the initials of one of the regulars.
Each morning at Start of Shift, I plan to have each crew-member take a turn spinning the wheel. That will be their bet for the day… if the regular whose initials they have randomly chosen through their spin calls 911 during the shift, they will win a prize. Their bets can be hedged by the EMT estimating the time the patient will call down to the minute, and the employee who gets closest to the time the regular patient actually calls will win an additional prize. I have a feeling that we can get a pretty good pool going with this and that it will be loads more fun than the run-of-the-mill sports pools that go around this place. I figure that if the game gets big I can make a lucrative side business selling the game board and the system for playing the game.
Maybe I ought to sell this idea to the people who brought out the EMS Monopoly game?
Nobody has found a really effective way to deal with regular EMS callers yet (Could I call them “Prolific Patrons”?) because the problem is as multifaceted as it is expansive. Sure, there are tools out there for our use, but none of them are very effective.
And until we find a way to fix the problem, we might as well have some fun with it. I even tried to come up with a song to sing while the wheel was spinning, but all I could think of was this:
Call me old fashioned if you want to, but allow me to hike my EMS pants way up higher than my belly button and talk in my Old Grizzled Medic ™ voice for a second here. You see, the kids these days are doing something that just tans my hide. What, with their iPhones, and their iPods, and their iPads, and me with my iGlasses and the Etch-a-Sketch… Confound it! I just don’t understand.
You see, Youngins… back in my day we didn’t have all of these fancy techno-toys that we do now. When it came to running on the ambulance, we made do with what we had and that was the way we liked it. What, with all of the trudging 20 miles to work in the feet of snow uphill with the both ways and whatnot we earned our measly pittances and then trudged back home to our coal-heated shacks to jitterbug away the three hours we got off of work in between our 120 hour shifts. We didn’t need all the pansy stuff you enjoy now.
We did our medical care to the best of our abilities then. We actually had to LIFT our patients into the ambulances on the cot, rather than having the little button lift 700lbs with one finger. We had to look at actual paper maps to find addresses, rather than having the nice lady in the GPS tell us where to go. Heck, we even had to write paper reports on our EMS calls BY HAND USING A PEN.
Paper reports written by hand do one thing and only one thing very well. They suck. They are simply awesome at sucking. They stink on ice. They are medieval torture devices left over from the Monty Python version of the Spanish Inquisition and honestly, the day we switched over to computerized reporting I stabbed a wooden stake through a stack of the dreaded Illinois “Bubble Sheet” EMS report forms. Then I poured gasoline on them, turned around and flicked a match behind my back as I walked away in slow motion without looking back at the explosion and flames. I was wearing sunglasses. It was epic.
It was Just Like This! Only with more geekery and no little girl and I was shirtless...
Paper reports could be documented at the patient’s side but it just always seemed so darn inconvenient to do so. I did it occasionally during long transports, or when we were running back-to-back calls and I wanted to jot down the high-points of each call on the report form so I could accurately remember them when I got the chance to catch up on my paperwork. It wasn’t uncommon to be “down” four or five reports in those days because we were just so dad-gum busy and the reports took so blasted long to `complete. A stack of those paper reports could give you writers’ cramp for days. Especially the Illinois “Bubble Sheet” forms which I used for years, they were awful monstrosities constructed to worship the demon “ScAnTr0nn” who mandated that little bubbles be filled out perfectly for every name, address, and number you scrawled on the form. Those evil little dots cost me hours of my life, a good amount of my hair, and most of my sanity. After using the awful bubble sheets for years, I switched systems to a place that utilized a somewhat less-evil paper report form, and then back to a place that still used the hated bubble sheets, and then Huzzah! To a place that had computers.
Although I must admit that the hand-strength I developed from writing those awful things made my one-handed beer can crushing trick a hit at parties.
The first report I wrote on a computer was a simple little form written on a then state of the art laptop that weighed approximately 17523lbs. It took forever to load, locked up and lost reports frequently, and was an absolute gift from God. Then, the regional EMS system stepped in and put computers in the EMS report rooms at the hospitals because nobody could ever figure out how to hook up their ambulance laptops to the ancient dot-matrix printers they’d provided for us. Those programs were sweet! I hate switching my hand between a mouse and a keyboard 15 times per second to enter data and the reports we used on the desktop were forms I could simply use the keyboard with the whole time. I actually typed faster than the program could keep up and knew just how many times I had to tab through a list to mark the correct spot on the form without seeing it on the screen. I’d end up having the report typed out a few seconds before the machine caught up and put the words on the screen. It. Was. Awesome.
Still, those reports were something that could only be done away from the patient’s side. We all had note pads to jot down info we wanted to put on the report while we were treating the patient and we took those notes to the computer to enter into the report. Nowadays, them kids with their fancy technology have Toughbooks with touch-screens that they use to write their EMS reports and since their invention, I’ve noticed a trend.
It first started when I noticed my medic protégé Chad had a habit of bringing the toughbook in with him to emergency calls. He’d grab the jump kit, the o2 bag, and the computer. Then, while he was interviewing and assessing the patient, he’d be starting their report.
This dismayed me. Again, call me a crazy old coot and an old-fogey… but I believe that we should not only focus 100% on the events of the call and upon what the patient is telling us, but also that we should give the appearance that we are doing so. You just can’t make me believe that a patient is going to feel that we are listening to that which ails them and are paying attention to their needs when we have our nose in a lap-top. Sure, it may save time on the overall reporting process by allowing the EMT to get an early start on the documentation, but it also ends up taking more time on scene to wait for the computer to enter in information. I also think that it takes away the EMTs ability to fully observe everything that is going on with the patient and the scene around them. It robs one of their situational awareness and of the nuances of the patient assessment.
That, and it’s just plain rude.
It bothers me enough that I launched a whole ridicule-based diatribe against my young protégé and shamed him into no longer bringing the computer into calls with him. I have no problem if he begins the report at the patient’s side during transport as long as he has completed everything that needs to be done and he makes sure to monitor the patient thoroughly. That’s cool, I guess. I am glad that he won’t have to suffer the pain of hand-written EMS reporting. That’s a cross us Grizzled Old Medics™ bore for you with honor.
You’re welcome. Now get off my lawn, and STOP USING THE COMPUTER IN FRONT OF THE PATIENT!!
Back when I was a high-school student I was completely enamored with EMS. I just couldn’t wait to slip into a uniform and get out on the streets of an ambulance. While in retrospect maybe I could have refocused the energy I spent researching the EMS gig into something a little more profitable, the sheer amount of stuff I read about EMS in my formative years helps me in my job to this day.
One of the earliest EMS blogs I ever read was one that I found back in High School. I forget the name of it now and I would guess that it isn’t even still up there on the interwebs anymore. However, the writer’s acerbic descriptions of his own life under the lights of an ambulance were hilarious and fascinating to me. I’ve never forgotten the words he wrote.
I was reminded again of one of his stories this morning when I was getting off shift. I’m finally back in the back of an ambulance after spending some time at my secret-squirrel job and I’m loving it. While I wish I got paid more to do what I love, I do truly love what I do. This morning was no different. Again, the EMS gods had me laughing until I cried while an elderly lady screamed in sheer terror.
Yes, I said that. No, I’m not a monster. You would probably have laughed too. Hard.
This morning the radio decided to wake me up around 0430 for the tip-up of the uninjured fall victim. I went, assessed, found nothing, and tipped the poor guy up back into bed. It was a simple call. He signed off on a refusal form, and all was right with the world again. I went back to the station to write the report and after some time spent in between dozing and typing on the Toughbook, I finished my report around 0600. By then it was too late to go back to bed and sleep for an hour, so I stayed up to wash the ambulance and make sure the shift chores were done. It’s the custom at our company to leave the quarters pristine for the oncoming shift, so we do a full cleaning in the morning before shift change. It works for us.
Around 0630, my partner and protégé Chadwick sauntered in to the station. The poor kid had been ran hard and put away wet the day before and looked unapologetically fresh in contrast to as haggard as I looked. Darn Kids. As he helped me dry the trucks and sweep the floor, I was teasing him about catching a late call.
“Can you feel it, Chad?” I would ask. “Right now, there’s some guy that’s waking up and walking up to the toilet for his morning dump who’s gonna vasovagal out and seize on the bathroom floor. It’s your call so when you kneel down, try to avoid the skid marks.”
I kept razzing him as time went on, and when we finished washing the trucks we walked outside to enjoy the crisp, bratwurst-and-cheese-scented Wisconsin morning.
“Did you hear that?” I asked, “that was someone hitting the floor”.
And amazingly, right then the tones went off. It was for a medical alarm that had been activated at a non-medical senior-living high-rise in town. Coincidentally, it was for a fall victim in the bathroom.
Chadwick mumbled something that might have been profane I’d think if he wasn’t such a Bible-Thumper and hopped in the truck. I drove because it was his call. On went the lights before I opened the bay door. I think it’s more dramatic if I turn the lights on before I open the door. It just looks cooler that way. Johnny and Roy did it, so I can too. I also wear my helmet like they did. Yay me.
We arrived on scene right before the less-than-optimally-caffeinated police officer who was responding with us. He was able to finagle the key out of the knox box and let us into the building. Apparently last week one of our crew had gotten fed up with the key not being in the box at this building and had opened the lock in a gentle, professional way using his foot. Apparently the building management wasn’t happy with them for doing that, especially since it was for a call that turned out to be a false-trip of a medical alarm. Today we found the key in the box… weird how that happens.
Chadwick and I deftly navigated the long hallway and the small elevator up to the third floor with our stretcher and all equipment in tow. Hypo-caffeine Copper tagged along, and we found the door to the apartment locked up tight. Luckily for the maintenance man, he had the key right handy for us to use.
We entered the apartment with us yelling “Ambulance!” and him yelling “Police Department!” I thought it was redundant, but hey… he needed to wake up and yelling something helps that. We heard the sound of a running shower and walked towards the bathroom yelling our respective titles.
The patient heard us, no doubt, and did her best Wicked Witch of the West impression as she yelled “Ohhh Myyyy GAAaaawwwd!” We explained again about the whole “Ambulance!” and “Police Department!” thing, but she was having none of it. We told her that somehow her button had gotten pressed and that the machine had called us, but that didn’t seem to ease her fright at having three strapping young men in uniform show up to help her shower, apparently.
After much consternation on her part, and my starting to laugh the tears out of my eyeballs we thanked the lady, apologized for her fright, and cleared the scene to head to the police department for the fresh pot of coffee the officer said he was dreaming about. We hung out, and since I’m a renaissance Medic I tweeted in a HIPAA friendly manner about the call.
Some of the responses included such things as:
“So I guess the Medical Alarm button is now the ‘Bring Someone to Wash My Back Button??”
“If she pressed the button and got three young public safety types to show up and help her in the shower, is there a way that I, personally could get the button for my own use? We’d have to have a gender setting, of course… As I require attractive young members of the other gender to help me with my showering endeavors”
(something that was absolutely HILARIOUS regarding “Old Lady Boob” that I have redacted from my blog site, you’ll just have to get on to Twitter to see humor of that caliber)
So after this morning’s antics and activities, I can safely say that I absolutely love my job again. I never stopped, but I’m happy that I came back refreshed from my hiatus. I missed the people we see, their twisted humor, and their acerbic personalities. It’s just like the first EMS blog I read said it would be and I praise whomever he was for his accurate description.
Sorry about the lapse in posting, y’all. I’m back and am loving it. Hope you are all too.
What a week! You’ve been pulling at least a double shift a week at your full-time ambulance job and have been hitting it pretty hard at your part-time job as well. Both services can’t seem to keep their schedules filled and everyone’s been working lots of hours in order to keep the doors going up and the trucks going out. To top it all off, the citizens just can’t seem to be good lately and both services’ call volumes have been high.
You were tired when you got up this morning and were seriously considering a nap after your morning shower, but after a gallon or two of coffee you were bright and shiny in your uniform at your station, ready for another day of EMS greatness.
That was five hours ago though, and the early barrage of calls fired at you this morning has turned into an afternoon lull. Now you’re sitting at your main station, close to the brass, with the words in the educational article you’re reading fading in and out of your bleary, cross-eyed vision. Since the activity level has decreased, you’ve gotten yourself a case of the sleepies that you just can’t shake. Since you’ve been consuming the steaming bean juice religiously lately, your stomach just won’t let you think of having another cup of the acrid station coffee and there’s no shift chores left to do, since you did them an hour ago fighting the same lethargy.
Unfortunately, in three hours you can see a long distance transfer scheduled that you’re probably going to have to do. Four hours of monotonous highway driving and the radio in the truck doesn’t have that great of reception. You don’t have any idea how you’re going to stay awake enough to drive the truck and that’s not even considering the fact that if the tones went off right now for an emergency you probably wouldn’t remember how to put on a band-aid, let alone remember a drug calculation.
You’re tired, you’re fatigued, and your body’s telling you that you’ve been pushing it too hard. It wants to shut down for a while. Your brain won’t think. You’re mouth won’t talk. You can’t keep your eyes open and wake up with a startle when you’ve realized you’ve dozed off for a bit. This is torture.
Sleep deprivation is no stranger to EMS people. We’ve all fought the lethargy caused by long 24, 48, and more-hour shifts. A great number of us work more than one job to make ends meet and pack as much family time and recreation into our off time as we can. A lot of us are going for more education and all of us get woken up from our sleep a lot more often than is healthy to run on calls. I regularly miss full nights of sleep and rarely have a night when I can say I got a full night’s sleep. We get use to it some of the way, but our bodies just aren’t meant for chronic sleep deprivation. We need to reset and reorder our brains and let our bodies recharge once in a while.
Unfortunately, our communities need us and we have to be there for them. EMS is important and it’s easy to get sucked in.
That’s why in this situation, I have very little dispute with taking a “Safety Nap”.
The “Safety Nap” is a quick power nap. A shut-down and reset period where a person who never knows when they may be called to be up all night without sleep can rest and relax for a while and ensure that they’ll be wide awake and alert for whatever they may be called to do. I took an hour last shift around 3pm as a matter of fact. I didn’t get to sleep until 1am afterwards and I was up at 5am for a call. EMS is like that, shift work is like that. We have to ensure that we’re well-rested enough to make quality decisions of the type we have to when they need to be made… and we can’t do them well when we’re drooling on ourselves from exhaustion. One of Murphy’s laws for EMS states that “You know you’re in EMS when your favorite hallucinogen is sheer exhaustion” and I have to tell you, I’ve done that while on duty before. It’s just not safe.
There are problems with this, I know. Some will say that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be scheduled this many hours and that it’s irresponsible to do so. Well, then they can come talk to my bosses and pay my mortgage. Some people will sleep all day if they let them, and won’t put any effort into their shifts unless they have to. That has to be monitored. With that said, a balance has to be sought. I see nothing wrong with the occasional safety nap and I believe that EMS managers should allow it. They also should be unafraid to throw a cup of cold water on the Rip Van Winkles among us to ensure that they pull their weight with the non-call-response aspects of an EMS job.
What do you think? Does your employer allow “Safety Naps”? Do you take them?
“Muungh… What the heck was that!?” I thought to myself as I looked around the darkened room. “Where am I? Why am I awake? What IS that awful noise?” I thought. Something had awoken me from a not-so-good sleep on a not-so-comfy sofa. Slowly, I realized where I was. “I must have fallen asleep in the day room at the station” I thought. “Why am I awake?”. I heard commotion outside and realized that it must have been the radio that woke me up. Somewhere in the dark subconscious recesses of my brain it came to me that the pager said “Person not breathing, CPR in progress”. I pulled on my shoes and thought the most important thought that any EMS provider can have when being jolted from a deep sleep at 0′ dark 30 to try and wake the dead: “I have to pee!”
Once the bathroom duty was completed I slid into the passenger seat of the ambulance and pulled up the address on the map program. My partner pointed the ambulance South while I clicked on the siren. Wailing into the night we went, lights flashing, adrenaline pumping, morning breath so bad I could slay a walrus. “Where did I put that mouthwash?” was my thought. So focused on the job were we.
Arriving at the address just behind the engine company from the first due station we hurried to gather up our gear for the battle ahead. Monitor? Check. Airway and drug bags? Check and Check. Backboard? Check that too. We hurry up to the front door and are met by a middle aged female saying “I couldn’t wake him up! He was fine when we went to bed!” We enter the bedroom and I see the middle aged male on the bed. His lifeless eyes were fixed and unseeing as we approached him. His mottled skin was cool to the touch. Long gone was any fighting chance at life. I knelt on the bed next to his torso to check a pulse and apply pads to get a strip and immediately know what is going to happen next.
“I’m freakin going to have freakin dead guy pee on my freakin knees for the rest of the freakin shift! Dang it! Dang it! Dang it!”
EMS people kneel a lot, and not just when we want a raise or need to get state-to-state reciprocity from an EMS office. At one of the departments I work at we did a big action photo spread of all of the EMTs and Medics in action. EVERY SHOT was me kneeling. Kneeling at a patient’s head working on the airway, kneeling at the patient’s chest starting an IV, kneeling next to a patient to assess them after an injury, I kneel so much that you’d think I have a promotion by now. We all do.
But you’d think that by now I’d know enough not to kneel in poo, pee, blood, vomit, or whatever vile substance is on the bed, floor, or surface that I have to kneel on. I mean come on. I’ve been doing this over a decade now. I have thousands of calls under my belt. I live, sleep, eat, breathe, blog, and study EMS as much as I can stand to (and that’s a lot) and I *still* am stupid enough to put my knees in poo on a somewhat regular basis?
Right now, I’m on the 2nd day of a 48hr shift a half hour away from my home. Last night, around late evening I knelt in a poo/pee mixture. I was really trying not to here, but the patient began to vomit after we got (the Pt) on the backboard in the cramped, carpeted bathroom (the Pt) was in. I couldn’t log roll (the Pt) without kneeling and the carpet was just saturated with a vile mixture of hours old poo/pee. My knees got soaked in it. And no, if you are asking, I ran out of the house late and didn’t think to bring an extra pair of pants and the pants that I had kept at the station had been taken home for laundering after another like incident.
For times like these, I recommend the “Ckemtp” method of knee disinfection. It applies for those times where call volumes don’t allow you to actually take your pants off to clean them:
Put on gloves. No sense in contaminating your hands. Chances are your knees won’t have broken skin on them unless you’ve been trying to get that promotion (Enough with the “on your knees” jokes! – This is serious!)
Take and put a towel or washcloth (a smaller wash cloth works better) in between your knees and your pants.
Spray the ever-loving bejeebus out of your pants, saturating your knees with disinfectant spray. DO NOT use bleach-based spray. The milder the better. (see “Clean EMS” for advice on contact times)
Press another towel on the outside of your pants, soaking up as much poo/pee laced disinfectant into the towels as you can. Rub them together a bit.
Re spray with disinfectant and let it air dry.
Remove the towels from your pants.
Call your wife and beg her to drive you up a new pair. Beg. Hard.
Just for the record, my lovely wife was unable to drive me up some new pants. Awesome…..
A letter I received from a reader who states that she is a paramedic student has gotten me thinking. I’m going to include her letter in this post with her permission, but before I do I would like to speak a little bit about things that we say to patients. EMS and all of emergency medicine tends to be full of emotionally charged situations being handled by emotionally drained people. Sometimes our experience in dealing with situations that lay people find to be traumatic can lend itself to our making comments that we find perfectly acceptable to make at the time we make them, and yet upon reflection seem like the wrong thing to have said. I can’t tell you just how many times I’ve been in trouble for my mouth. I will say something that I intend to relieve the tension of a situation and to provide comic relief that I think is cute and funny, completely thinking that it is above-board and not-offensive to anyone, and then find out that some wet-blanket took offense.
Honestly, I make it my policy never to make a dirty joke. All of my “patient friendly jokes” are clean enough to tell to my five-year-old with nary an off-color word or adult reference in sight and sometimes still people look at me like I’ve dropped a live weasel in the ball-pit at the McDonald’s Play Land. Like some random time ago where a patient who had overdosed, scratched her wrists with a dull knife, and was found trying to hang herself apologized to me during my assessment of her because she hadn’t shaved her legs. I said “Oh that’s quite alright, Ma’am.. You weren’t planning on needing them anymore and besides, you shaved your wrists real nice”. I believe the question I got from my partner after the call was “Does your Brain-Mouth filter even work anymore?!” He was laughing as he said it, so obviously it was funny. The patient laughed too.
I have stock comments to the common questions and situations that come up on calls that I trot out when needed to liven up the situation. Some are movie quotes, some are lines that I’ve stolen from other providers, and some are straight up from my strange brain. Like when I find someone lying in bed that needs to be lifted over from the bed to the cot with a sheet and a couple of people. Some beds are way too wide for me to work from my feet and it’s often useful to crawl right in bed alongside the patient to lift them over. I ask them “So when was the last time you had a strange man in your bed?” The unconscious ones almost always laugh. I have yet to have an older lady blush and be embarrassed and the comments I get back are always entertaining. Also, when I’m palpating an area of a patient’s body to see where they’re hurting such as for an injured extremity or the like, if the patient yelps out in pain when I touch something I excitedly declare “Found it!!” It’s much to their relief to know that I know where it is that they hurt. I also have what I call the “Poor Man’s X-Ray”. If someone thinks that something’s broken on their body, I grab it, give it a good squeeze and a shake, and ask them if it hurts. If they say “Yea that hurts” it’s probably not fractured. If they say “YEeeeeEEaaargh!!!” it probably is.
So, exactly how serious do you think I’m being with all of that above there? Here’s the test. If you took me serious enough that you want to call my medical director to tell him to pull my license… I was joking!! Ha Ha!
I remember probably the worst thing that I’ve ever said to a patient ever, and in all seriousness I still feel bad about this comment to this day. Early on in my career I worked as a Security Guard *slash* EMT at a big regional 400 bed hospital/trauma center/psyche center/everything center. Usually I worked alone on weekend nights and it was an absolute zoo. While this was one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever held, I was in way over my head for an eighteen year-old country boy working in the big city. One day we had a patient come in who had been witnessed swallowing baggies full of what was presumed to be crack cocaine during a traffic stop. He was belligerent as all heck, swearing at us and trying to swing at the police officers who brought him in, the nurses, and myself. He looked at me and said “So what the (colorful word) is going to happen to me now you (something my mother would be unhappy with me if I typed on my blog, or even thought about for that matter)” I asked him “So, are you a religious man?” To which he replied “Blankety-Blank No!! You Blankety Blankin Blank blank!” I said back to him “Well you probably should be, because you’ll need to be saying some prayers”. Then he seized and went into V-Fib. I have no idea if he survived. I honestly feel really, really bad about that. I wish I hadn’t have said it.
So when you read this letter, go easy on the paramedic student who sent it in. She seems to feel pretty bad about saying what she said and since I’m going easy on her, you probably should too.
Here it is:
I did something colossally stupid today. Something so… irresponsible and cocky that I truly can’t believe I allowed it to happen.
I allowed myself… to assume.
To assume that as a paramedic student I knew enough about a patient’s condition that I could safely make a statement to a family member, when in reality, I should have just kept my mouth shut.
It was careless. It was reckless, and it resulted in a family being given false hope.
He was brought into the ER by two of his daughters for a syncopal episode. He hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, and his daughters had been forcing him to eat. When they found him on the floor next to his bed writhing in pain, they loaded him up and drove him over to the local ER.
His VS upon arrival were… less than ideal. Hypoglycemic, hypothermic, hypotensive. He had the hypo’s covered. His coloring was even less impressive than his vitals. A few amps of D50 and some warm blankets later and we had 2/3′s of the hypo’s resolved. He was no longer altered, he was flirting with the nurses, and the color had improved.
Still, his BP was crap. His tank was dry. He needed fluids, and after his third liter bag, his BP in the 60′s started to creep it’s way towards 70 and 75. I did a happy dance in my head.
Then it happened.
I was removing some of his blankets and replacing them with some that were straight from the warmer when daughter number 3 asked me a question. “His blood pressure is still so low, should we be worried?” Me. The only one in the room with them that had any medical experience.
Five sets of eyes were on me in an instant.
I finished tucking a piping hot blanket in and casually said something to the effect of, “His BP is coming up, he’s just a bit dehydrated. One more bag and I’d be willing to bet that his pressure is better than mine.”
Ugh. How could I let myself say something like that?
I didn’t know that he had a fractured hip.
I didn’t know he was in kidney failure.
I didn’t know he had a leaking AAA.
I didn’t know the complete picture, and I should have just kept my mouth shut.
I guess it goes without saying, but his blood pressure never came up. It dropped, and it dropped again, and it dropped again.
The family was informed of the complete picture. A DNR was signed. Hospice was called. He died before he could even make it to the inpatient hospice facility.
A family was given hope, because I gave it to them. And I had no right to do that. Watching them emerge from a family consultation room, one by one with blood shot eyes, holding each other when just two hours earlier they had been laughing and joking with their father…
That was probably the hardest lesson that I’ve learned in school. It’s one I’ll never forget, or forgive myself for.
So the student who wrote this letter expects to be flamed for it… I’m willing to bet that the response will be just the opposite. We’ve all been there. We’ll all be there again.
Note: This is a repost. I’ve been a busy blogger and this post deserved a bump-up. Also, the “Fiance” in this post is now my lovely wife. Enjoy.
The other day I got off shift at 8am and had to be to work at my other full-time job at 10am. Since both of the jobs that I work at are about a half hour from my house in opposite directions it worked out that I had about a half hour to go home, perform the personal hygiene ritual, change uniforms, and get on my way to work again. So I did that, got home, fed the cat, and got all prettied up as quickly as I could. Then, without warning, on my way out of the house I noticed it: A pile of cat puke on my rug.
Yes, I like cats. I have one. She’s a keeper, regardless of her regurgitation issues. I think that I’m more of a man because I love my fluffy-wuffy lil’ Kitty-Witty. So cat puke on my rug isn’t the horror of horrors to me that it might be to some people. In EMS, we tend to get puked on by humans more often than does the regular population and that fact may have further desensitized me to the violent act of emesis perpetrated on my rug by my mostly cute little kitty. However, I do like a clean house and the cat puke on my rug is an issue that normally warrants immediate action.
But of course, that’s not what happened. And for those of you in a spousal relationship with another human being you know exactly what I did. You guessed it, I left the cat puke on my carpet and went to work. For those of you who are not in a spousal relationship with another human you may not understand the thought process here. Yes, as I looked down at the cat puke on my otherwise (mostly) spotless rug the thought that it must be immediately cleaned up did in fact occur to me; but the other thought that occurred to me was: “I can leave and go to work and when I get home, my lovely fiancé will have cleaned this up for me. She’ll think that the cat puked on the rug *after* I went to work and I’ll get off scot free!”
And so that’s what I did. Yes, I *could* have taken the five or so minutes it would have taken to clean up the cat puke… but in my defense I’m a model employee and I need those extra five minutes of early arrival time at work to drink coffee and to tell everyone what a model employee I am. So if I would have cleaned it up I would have taken the risk of not being such a model employee. So you see, leaving the cat puke for my lovely, beautiful, and remarkably intelligent fiancé (who will probably read this, btw) to clean up was not something that I did because I’m lazy. It was something I did so I could continue to bring home the bacon for my family in the most productive manor possible.
That’s what I thought anyway, until I came home late that night after a hard day’s 10 hour shift off of a hard fought 24 hour shift spent saving lives and alleviating the suffering of the sick and injured and stepped in the same pile of cat puke on my carpet that I had courageously not cleaned up the morning before. True, she had put in a paltry 12 hour shift at the fire department practicing for the recliner racing 500 and had fed, bathed, and put our son to bed; but that didn’t stop my obviously well-earned righteous indignation to the pile of cat puke permeating my pile covered floor. She had decided (although she swears that she did not in fact see the pile of puke) that I should be the one to clean up the cat puke using some amount of flimsy logic that I have yet to understand.
So, to tie the above 646 words back into the title of the piece, “Cat Puke Chicken” is not the new special at your local Chinese Restaurant. It is the battle of wills that solidified between my fiancé and I as soon as my sock made contact with partially digested Kitty Kibble. We both subconsciously agreed to ignore the cat puke for as long as we could stand it in order to have the other person clean it up first. (See also: “Laundry Chicken”, “Last Sip of Milk in the Carton Chicken”, and “Couples’ Counseling”). This occurs a lot, unfortunately, in most relationships between other perfectly rational human beings. We know that we don’t like having cat puke on our carpeting; we obviously know that the cat puke should be cleaned up at the first available opportunity; and we also have continued doing the other things that we normally do to keep our houses from turning into slovenly hovels. In fact, while this has been going on I have cleaned numerous dishes, laundered, dried, and folded at least four loads of laundry, and have started (but not finished) three household improvement projects. I’m at least as good as a housekeeper as the next guy (Read: Not a good housekeeper) and I do indeed do my best to keep my family and myself from living in squalor.
So why, as two perfectly rational adults who um, chose to work in EMS, are we locked into this powerful battle of powerful wills? In a word: “politics”. Not the kind of politics that provide the revenue stream for the myriad of cable news networks, but the politics of household supremacy that truly affect our day to day lives. This isn’t Senator So-and-So bloviating about the fact that pork in the stimulus bill is in fact, not pork… it’s me and the woman that I love and want to spend the rest of my life with deciding who shall be the designated Cat-Puke-Cleaner-Upper!! Pulse pounding stuff here.
And as with everything else, this got me thinking about politics in EMS.
Say you’re in a service way far away from anywhere where I work and you have a small volunteer squad that covers the areas that your service is not jurisdictionally bound to cover. Sure, your service would be glad to come if they called you, but somewhere back in history when the powers that be drew the political boundaries they decided that your service was not responsible to respond to the pleas for help that come from that particular geographic area. Suppose that your service just happens to be a small ALS service with two paramedic ambulances and a BLS ambulance on duty 24/7 and the other service was a BLS squad with volunteers coming from home and/or work. These volunteers are dedicated, caring individuals that want to do the best that they can for their friends and neighbors but work in a system where when a call for service comes out it takes about 20 to 25 minutes for the system to get an ambulance to the patient’s side. Say also that the service that you work for has your three ambulances and paramedics about 6 miles from their patients staffed and on duty but you can’t respond because the political system is such that you would be in trouble if you did so.
You may also relate to having that coworker in your EMS or Fire service that just isn’t up to par. They may be a basically qualified EMS provider through the state licensing body, but you still would cringe at the thought of that person responding to take care of anyone in your group of family or friends. They’re a provider that just doesn’t get it. Their care is substandard, their attitude is poor, and you can’t help but feel that the patients being “cared” for by this individual or crew aren’t getting the best medical care possible from your service. You’d want to say something, and normally would, but you’d become an outcast in your agency and would be looked down upon for blowing the whistle. Besides, even if you did the service is short handed and your management wouldn’t fix the problem anyhow because they need to staff the trucks.
Or maybe you can see that EMS in general is underfunded, underappreciated, and undereducated and you can’t shake the feeling that something has to be done to improve patient care industry-wide. You feel powerless to do so, but you’re angered every time you see a representation of bumbling ambulance drivers on TV, or see the local news completely mishandle a news story involving EMS, or especially when you look at your paltry pay check.
In all of the above cases, you’ve got cat puke on your rug and you’re hoping that somebody else is going to clean it up.
As EMS professionals, we know that there are myriad little political games that play out in each and every little jurisdiction a
cross the map. This service may not call this service for mutual aid because someone’s brother once stole a pumpkin from one of the other service member’s brother’s pumpkin patch. “Jim” may not provide good care, but you let it slide because he’s popular with the other crews. Sure, the local fire department gets a kajillion dollars more in funding than your EMS service does and runs like a tenth of the calls that you do, but that’s just the way it’s always been, right?
We need to step up as a profession and clean the cat puke from our carpet. Ignore the politics. Ignore the personal hurt feelings and the power plays. EMS is about the patient. It isn’t about you, or me, or that person down there. We exist solely to save lives and alleviate suffering in the people that we serve in the best possible way that we can. Nothing else matters more than that. So if you can see that cat puke on your rug, and I’m absolutely positive that you know exactly what I’m talking about no matter where you are, you probably have better things to do than be playing chicken. We all need to stand up and say that we are the Cat-Puke-Cleaner-Uppers and that quality EMS is our responsibility, no matter what little political games of chicken are going on. Our patients deserve nothing less.
(Fiance’s note: As of press time, the pile of cat puke on Chris’s floor is still intact solidifying into the fibers of the carpet)
This is a simple three question blog based quiz that you can use to determine if you have the right mindset needed to make it more than a few years in this crazy, wild profession we call EMS. If you fail this quiz, um… well then you should tear up your EMT card immediately or not. Nevertheless, if you find this at all funny, you’ve come to the right place. Howsabout that?
You’re working a service that employs two paramedics per day to support BLS ambulance crews in your jurisdiction and beyond. The other paramedic on duty with you that day responds to a neighboring jurisdiction and manages to resuscitate a patient in cardiac arrest. He transports the patient on-board the BLS ambulance to the local community hospital that does not have ICU admitting capabilities on site. Shortly after he transports the patient to the small ER he contacts you asking you to respond down with the ambulance to stat-transfer the patient to a tertiary ICU approx 1.5hrs away lights and sirens. The patient’s got three drips going, is receiving bolus cardiac meds, is on a ventilator, and is not doing well. The ER doc wants the patient outta there as soon as he can get him reasonably stabilized for emergent transport. Oh, and before you ask, the helicopter’s not flying due to weather. You’re it, Buddy.
You arrive at the ER with your EMT-Basic partner and um, you’re “enthused” about the “challenge” you’re about to face. Walking into the ER you hear more than the expected commotion coming from the patient’s room. You enter the room to find the ER staff performing CPR and attempting to resuscitate the patient after he went into cardiac arrest again. You and your partner assist, but despite everyone’s best efforts, the patient unfortunately expires.
When you return to service and get back to quarters, you expect your coworkers to:
A. Be supportive and consolatory, understanding that you’ve just been through an intense, traumatic experience.
B. Make fun of you and suggest that you’re an incompetent paramedic because, after all, the other paramedic “saved” the patient… then you showed up and killed him.
C. Insist that you’re an agent of the grim reaper and pin up another chalk outline with a line through it on your “Bulletin Board of Death” they’ve got going.
Your rural ambulance responds to a local community health clinic for a “Woman in Labor”. Upon your arrival you find a 36 week pregnant female Gravita 3 Para 3 (3 Pregnancies, 3 live births) with contractions 5 minutes apart. The physician wants the patient transported to the local OB unit that is 45minutes away lights and sirens. You load the patient in the ambulance after assessing the patient and find that she is an otherwise healthy pregnant patient possibly in early labor. You initiate ALS care including o2, an IV, and an ECG monitor for good measure. Your partner points the ambulance towards the hospital and you take off lights and sirens. Ten minutes into the transport, the patient’s bag of waters ruptures and the patient states that she urgently feels the need to push.
A. Tell your partner to pull the ambulance over to the side of the road in a safe area so that he can come back and assist while you pull out and open up the OB kit, preparing for imminent birth.
B. Administer a fluid bolus in the hope that you can slow the imminent delivery.
C. Calmly tell your partner to “Drive it like he stole it” and coach the patient in “trying not to push” while you try answer “B” and hold her legs firmly closed because hey, who wants to clean up afterbirth all over their ambulance?
You’ve just returned your ambulance to service after a mundane call on a particularly busy day. The other ambulance in the jurisdiction has not had a rough of a day as you’ve had and was out getting lunch when you returned to the station. Before you have the chance to radio dispatch and let them know that you’ve restocked and are back in service from the previous call, the tones drop for an unresponsive male patient that sounds like he has a severe lower GI bleed. Although you’re probably two blocks closer to the call than the other truck, they are dispatched because you haven’t gone in service yet. Their most direct route to the scene puts them right past the front of the station where they’re sure to see you on their way by.
A. Call dispatch on the radio and inform them that you are indeed in service and will respond to the call if they wish you to do so.
B. Quick, hide! Close the station door and pretend that you’re not yet back in quarters. They deserve to get the call, they’re only out two blocks farther than you are, and you don’t want them to see you and know that you’re ducking it.
C. Run out to the front apron of the station and smile and wave as they drive by! Hiiiiieeey!! Enjoy the butt bleeder! Don’t forget to write!
Extra Credit Question:
How many fingers do you think that the other crew will wave back at you with when they pass you in the previous question?
If you answered mostly “A’s” – Congratulations, you’re a new, competent, caring EMT. Feel proud of yourself, but you’re probably not going to retire from this job. I could be wrong… but you’re pretty straight laced. Have fun with that.
If you answered mostly “B’s” – You’ve been in the business a while, haven’t you? You’re well on your way to developing the hard outer shell you’ll need to survive for a while in this business. Just don’t lose your gooey center.
If you answered mostly “C’s” – Um, you’re one of my coworkers, right?? Guys, come on… Why’d you go and dump a bucket of water on me last night while I was sleeping? If you’re not one of my coworkers, e-mail me and I’ll send you an application. You’ll fit right in.
“The Project” is coming. As I’m sure that every single person who reads my blog knows, Happy Medic and Medic999 are planning the first International Medic Swap between the United States and The United Kingdom’s EMS systems. It’s beginning very soon, and I’m very excited about it. Fact is, I just plain can’t wait for Mark (Medic999) to pop over here across the pond and get a taste of Good Ol’ US EMS. Then, I’m sure that I’ll be anticipating Happy heading over to Mark’s side of the pond just as much. I’m planning on making it over to one of them to hang out with the two biggest stars in EMS blogging.
There, that’s enough fawning over my two best blogger buddies. Now it’s time to add something that’s missing from this whole equation that I think that I’m amply qualified to provide. Here guys, this is my gift to you. Enjoy. I’m helping.
Today I sent out a Facebook comment directed towards my friends on the Packer’s side of the line congratulating the Packer’s fans for being so “Sportsmanlike” after being decimated by their former godlike QB. I’m not a Packers fan, and actually I’m not much of a sports fan… but I do like Bret Favre. Not so much for the sports, although he is an artist with a football, but because he really seems like a stand-up guy in the vapid egotistical wasteland that is contemporary “professional” sports.
But enough about that. This is about my Facebook comment. Medic999 popped up and commented that, basically, we US people were whiny little crybabies and our favorite sport is meant to be played by 8-year-old schoolgirls who have sprained ankles. (I’m paraphrasing).
And with the ensuing exchange of comments, I figured out what I could add to The Project.
Trash Talkin’ that’s what!
So, ya Lilly Liver’d Limey (What does “Lilly Livered” mean?) Whatcha gonna bring to show us US medics? Huh?
Oooooh, so your little car is GREEN with BLUE CHECKERS on it! Mine’s a big SUV with a big powerful engine. It’s a 4×4.
Just got the IO drill? Hmmm, had that for a while over here. Yep, good thing you’re catching up.
Oh, so you’ve got “Tail Lifts” to pick up your stretchers for you, huh? Here we’ve got these things we call “muscles” and “brute force”.
Hmmm, so you UK guys run all blue lights and have “nee naw’s?” We run Lights and Sirens, or “Code-3” or “10-39”. Yea it’s manly! Ever heard a Federal Q? You’re going to. Better bring some aspirin, you’re gonna getcha self a headache.
You may have played some Rugby, but we occasionally run in to burning buildings. I get to go to work and “Drive Fast and Break Things” when I’m on the fire side. We get to swing axes and mauls and tear apart cars with hydraulics. What do you guys have? Crumpets? What’s a crumpet?
Awful quiet over there from your side of the pond. What’s that? Nothin…. That’s what.
(Attention, the above has been all in good fun. No offense intended. If you were a whiny cry-baby and couldn’t take a little trash talk, then I apologize)
EMS people are some funny, funny, people. Oh sure, some of our humor is strange to the uninitiated. It’s dark and disturbing sometimes… built from years of bearing witness to the macabre scenes of humanity that play out before us. Sometimes it’s more slapstick, a kick in the groin if you will. Or a psyche patient that’s so attached to the dead squirrel that he’s carrying with him that you just have to put the dead squirrel with you in the ambulance and take it to the hospital. He was starting a cult, he told me. The squirrel had no comment.
But no matter how you look at it, there’s some funny, awesome, and just plain strange stuff that happens to us out there.
And that’s what we’re celebrating here in this edition of The Handover Blog Carnival, the biggest, baddest, and most awesome blog carnival devoted to the Emergency Medical Services, the Emergency Room, and the Accident and Emergency ward. Some of this stuff will only be funny to EMS people. Some of it will make anyone laugh. A lot of it is… well, just don’t read this in church.
From the Island Across the Pond, our British Brother Medic999 chimes in with a touching but funny post perfectly memorializing a fallen comarade. He was funny, I can tell that he was one of those guys you just looked forward to working with. EMS is a family.
Ok, so this is just some gosh darn funny stuff. Prepare yourself for Ambulance Driver’s contribution. Don’t read this in church. You probably should pee before you read it too. I laughed my ever lovin arse off.
Mack 505 over at Notes from Mosquito Hill discusses those weird things we do with the other social miscreants we work with. I’m sure you’ll know what he means here. EMS is a family. A horribly, horribly dysfunctional family.
Lt Michael Morse, or L-T as I call him, over at Rescuing Providence has written this short, punchy, and very, very funny post. It’s everything you need to know about life wrapped up in one, eh, “little package”.
Happy Medic once told me that I could improve my blog by adding “More Explosions and Bikinis”. I agree. Thanks to EMS Chick and Just Me, Just My Blog I bring you two posts featuring explosions written by female EMS bloggers who empirical evidence has shown, sometimes might wear a bikini.
Making up this month’s Handover has allowed me to find this blog from a blogger by the name of Philly Dan. He was doin ambo work when Medics like me may have been in diapers. Great reading over there. Thanks for submitting!
Thanks heavens for stupid people. Without them, the Emergency Medical Services would be boring. Stupidity makes our world go ’round. As my momma always told me, “If you stick your finger too far up inside there, you’ll poke your brain and get a paulsy!”
————————————————————————————————————- Alright folks! Hope you made it down here. Great job to all of the great bloggers who submitted some funny, funny posts. What follows is some other posts from around the web that I thought needed some attention.
Oh, and some shameless self promotion too. Shamless self promotion.
Greg, over at Training Success is a buddy of mine who I finally prodded into becoming a blogger. He’s a Haz-Mat wizard. He wrote a good post about role playing in training scenarios from a class that I was in. Check it out.
My cousin is a blogger who I really want to come to Blogger or WordPress. She writes great, but her blog is over at Myspace. She guest posted her funniest medical story on my blog. Here it is. - You can find her Myspace blog on the post. She does a lot of political stuff.
Here’s some shameless self-promotion I write on a blog called The Awesome EMS blog - I wrote this here a while back ago and I think that the video is freakin hilarious. I give you Skateboard Fail. Any blogger who wants to co-write on this blog is welcome, I need help on it.
And with that, this edition of The Handover Blog Carnival has come to an end. Y’all rock for coming over and having a read. Be sure to look for the next edition coming out next month over at The Insomniac’s Guide to Ambulances. The theme will be Kids – Seen and Not Hurt. Now, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to play you out.
This site is a tad, um, “peppery” but I feel comfortble reading it at work as long as nobody’s looking and I’m at the firehouse. Some of the language gets a bit rough, but everything is decidedly “PG”, other than some of the topics.
Here are Three articles on tatoos that I thought were awesome:
Interestingly, I'm really a real person. I am an active Paramedic and I'm out there on the truck every day just like you are. I'm almost always on Twitter, usually on Facebook, and I sincerly love talking back to anyone who cares to connect. Use the buttons below to find me out there on the interwebs. I would love to hear what you have to say!