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INTRODUCTION:
Anyone get the number of that truck?

In the mid nineteen-eighties I left my twelve year career in Emergency Medical Services. It was as if I had broken free from the bottom of a huge vehicle that snagged and dragged me fifty twisty-turny miles across the city and into the sticks after I accidentally tripped and fell under it.

There I was, sitting on the roadside, intact and not knowing why! Strewn behind me were chunks that had been shorn away from the core of my humanity. Paradoxically, the protection they provided saved me, yet, in order for me to go on living; I could not pick them up again.

I rode the first wave of Mobile Intensive Care Unit Paramedics in the United States. I was thrust into a newly formed profession. It was a reflection of an approximate two decade shift in allopathic medicine from accessible, personal connection-driven, hands-on patient “care” to a costly, litigation-driven, technologically oriented, impersonal delivery system. The human body became a vehicle to repair, and mechanics were created to use the tools that were invented to do the repairs. We who embodied this transition had no idea how we reflected these changes.

Emergency medical care and transportation of the sick and injured switched from “load and go” to “stand and deliver.” The idea was that now, we could really save lives because, after all, we had the tools! Many of us in the field had spent years barely having an effect in serious medical or traumatic situations. Once given the chance, we stretched every rule in the book to get more tools and use them more often.

The systems of which I was a part seemed to be grudgingly adapting to a sudden wave of technology that placed a bunch of renegade kids into positions of high responsibility. It seemed important that those who actually delivered the care and sometimes saved lives be kept under control because if they had their way, it would cost a lot more money!…[Click here to read more!]