I just stumbled upon a “civilian” out there who really understands what is going on with Emergency Medical Services. His name is John Dubensky and I bet he’s been reading my blogs! He writes for an on-line rag www.cracked.com . Okay, You can Slam! me for using this as a source with any credibility. But when you read some of their articles — especially the one’s meant to de-bunk common wisdom — they are so bare knuckles right on, well, you have no choice but to laugh at the tragedy!
This is especially pertinent for those of you who aren’t too familiar with EMS and have come here to learn: http://www.cracked.com/article_19798_5-terrifying-secrets-about-riding-in-ambulance.html
The article came out May 15th (today!) and already there have been 512 comments! Some fun ones:
I got in a serious car accident as a passenger last year, and kept going in an out of consciousness, head bleeding, and I couldn’t think straight and my whole right side of the body was hit, so what did the ambulance do? It didn’t even turn on the sirens…
But EMTs get paid a lot, right? Right??
But just the fact that the article is there…that SOMEONE is paying attention to what is a critically neglected field…can make a huge difference because there were many responses like this:
I know this is no where near some of the horrific calls the EMT gets, but I in no way will ever take for granted the job they do. It must be extremely stressful to see all these people you’re trying to help and save and not only not be able to save them, but also have them somehow blame you or harm you. People calling when they don’t need it would piss me off too. I think there should be a fine for any call that doesn’t have anything to do with the persons health being in serious jeapordy or close to death.
In fact, I was rather encouraged by all the support that came out from the public. Sure, some active ambulance medic respondents took the article to task on some points. But little gems like this came out as well:
I do agree that the system is severely abused, EMTs suffer from PTSD, and the work burns you out. If we had better safeguards in place some of this could be reduced, but there are protocols in place to reduce these issues presently. I think a big problem with EMS is the abundance of ignorant, under-educated EMTs on the streets that don’t know what they are doing and lack improvisation.
And here was the Magic of the piece; regular folks read the article and got involved! Medics got to speak for themselves in a public arena where the people were listening. Some of those medics got to say things that most regular folk don’t get to hear. Things like this:
One thing Cracked forgot to mention: Killing your patients. It happens to everyone. Whether it gets reported or not, patients WILL die because you showed up to work. Push the wrong drug, or the wrong dose? Perform a skill like endotracheal intubation (breathing tubes) or cardioversion (shocking) wrong? Fail to catch a critical change in a patient’s status or miss a diagnosis? Someone is going to die, and their blood is on your hands. You either learn from it and make yourself better, or it haunts your dreams and you quit. It happens to every single provider–doctor, nurse, paramedic or otherwise. Anyone who says it doesn’t is lying.I guess I must sound pretty burned out right now, huh? But you know what? I’ll take it. That’s the burden we bear. The fat, angry, violent, back-breaking burden. And when my days off are over and my week starts again? I’ll be back out there, hauling your drunken asses off the street and praying for someone sick enough to need my help. Because that’s just what we do.
That’s a dose of reality right back at you, isn’t it? Although not pristine, the article is more than adequate to have gotten a lot of attention. What more can be said than we need more of this and like this article shows, there is much to talk about!