Poll #5: Annoyances

Funniest thing I heard #6

Code 3 for chest pain.

First responders: This guy’s complaining of chest pain. But it’s bullshit.

Partner: Why didn’t you reduce us to Code 2?

First responders: Because it’s chest pain.

Partner: So why didn’t you put him  on the monitor?

First responders: Because it’s bullshit.

Partner: So why didn’t you reduce us?

First responders: Because it’s chest pain.

Partner: But you didn’t do anything or give him meds.

First responders: Because it’s bullshit.

Partner: But you didn’t downgrade us.

Me: I’m going to sit in the rig. Let me know what hospital when you guys are done.

Am I the dick here?

Code 2 for vomiting. Specifically, in the restroom of a public building. Strangely enough, this building is always open, and the single restroom is available for all to use. It is, of course, 2am.

We arrive at exactly the address reported. No one is there. Not in the restroom. Not anywhere.

So we’re standing around about to leave, and an apparently homeless man with a backpack approaches without difficulty from several hundred feet away, waving his hand.

“Did you call us?”


“What for?”

“I’m ill. I’m going to have to use the bathroom.”

“Well, your ambulance is here.”

He doesn’t say anything else, walks right past us, into the building and into the restroom.

We all look at each other. Huge medical emergency as usual.

So we’re all standing around waiting for him. A couple of minutes go by. He opens the restroom door and pops his head out. I can see that he’s temporarily set up camp inside.

“Are you ready to go?”

“Are you going to treat me?”

“What? I’m not treating you in there while you’re doing your business. If you’re ready to go, let’s go.”

“Well, you don’t seem like you want to treat me. Even back when I walked over from that other building.”

“You weren’t even where you said you were, so why would we think you’re the patient?”

“I don’t need your services anymore. You guys need to think about the way you treat people.”

“Don’t ever call us again.”

“Fuck you, I’ll call you whenever the fuck I want.”

“No you won’t.”

Applied probabilities

Code 2 for unknown injury.

A toddler has a gaping laceration, likely caused by the a rusty, aged, outdoor chain-link fence around his residence.

“Has he had a Tetanus shot?”

“We don’t believe in vaccines.”

“Umm… Okaaaaaay…”

“We have our reasons.”

“Really… you know what Tetanus is? Or maybe you’ve never heard of polio?”

The mother then has the same exact conversation with the ED attending.

I’m certainly not an expert in infectious diseases and vaccines, but I do know a thing or two about statistics and probabilities.

Over the years some very smart people figured out that there are some very dangerous and sometimes incurable scary diseases that you don’t want to catch. And then they figured out how to inoculate you so you don’t even contract these diseases. Some of these diseases were even declared eradicated a long time ago.

If you believe vaccines are a bigger threat to you and your children than the diseases they aim to prevent, then clearly you either have a fuzzy grasp of probabilities or are immune to facts. Which is a little ironic that you’re turning down the acquired immunity.

Believe what you want, but to me it’s quite simple.

Let v be the chance of a certain vaccine causing harm (such as MMR causing autism), and d be the chance of contracting the horrible disease(s) the vaccine is supposed to prevent (such as MMR).

If v > d, then don’t get the vaccine.

If v < d, then get the vaccine.

Let’s say that v = 0, because that’s the scientific consensus, multiple studies have failed to establish any connection, and Andrew Wakefield’s high-profile study claiming a link between autism and vaccines has been thoroughly discredited as flat-out fraudulent, not to mention it was based on “anecdotal evidence” on 12 kids, a statistically minuscule sample size, which, if you know anything about statistics, means absolutely nothing.

As for d, we know that it is a positive number not zero. In fact, d increases in value with the increase in the number of unvaccinated people.

Therefore, v < d.

It’s pretty simple.

Get vaccinated.

It’s a huge public health issue.

Then again, I suppose if human beings understand anything about risk, they would wear their seat belts and never start smoking. But they don’t.

*So I originally had a whole bunch of links prepared for this post when I started writing this nearly a year ago, but thanks to the Disney outbreak, the (near-)universal condemnation of anti-vaxxers has made the links unnecessary. But I will include a timeline from The Onion. You’re welcome.

Stop whining

The big news going around today is an Anne Arundel County, Maryland, dispatcher is facing termination because he told a 13-year-old girl to “stop whining” (audio included) after a hit-and-run driver killed her father and injured his fiancée.

I’m certainly not saying he couldn’t have handled it a little better, but did everyone forget that his primary task here is to find out what happened and where it happened? It’s obvious that it’s a legitimate emergency. It’s obvious the caller is having some trouble providing an accurate location. It’s obvious the caller is upset. It’s obvious it’s a difficult call to take.

If you can do better spending most of your shift talking to difficult callers, step up. Any dispatcher will tell you callers themselves say way worse things than “stop whining” to them every other minute.

So he didn’t have the best bedside manner. So he didn’t choose his words a little better.

Save the outrage for something else. Like the anti-vaxxers. Or this insane anti-vaxxer book for kids.

It’s all relative

Listening to yet another story about how some asshole was feigning unconsciousness before being called out by the crew and then reacting angrily along with his family, I’d like to remind all of us that without these people, there are no good people by comparison. Be grateful for them and the stories they provide us.

Sorry, that’s the best I can do. This job sucks. Haha.

You call, we haul. Now get in the friggin' ambulance.

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