The people I work for don’t want me to tell you this, but…

This teenager blows his knee out stopping at 3rd base, an uncomplicated deceleration injury, but he seems more interested in watching his team play anyway.

For some reason, his mother calls 911.

“I just want to make sure he’s OK.”

I look at her quizzically, “OK? He’s not even paying attention to us.”

“The last time he hurt his knee, the ambulance told me that he’d be seen faster if we went with them.”

I can guarantee that no paramedic would ever say something stupid like that.

“Ma’am, from the guy who’s had 4 knee surgeries to the mother of someone’s who’s probably going to have knee surgery, you should take him to an orthopedic surgeon, not the emergency room.”

What’s crazy is that even in 2014, there are some back-ass-ward managers and local oversight agencies who still insist we take everyone to the ED.

Which one of you is the child?

Code 3 for a child caller stating that her mother is sick. Estimated address.

So after 5 address changes over the air with dispatchers working their magic and 5 corresponding door knocks, somehow we actually find the correct location.

A Spanish-speaking woman is lying in bed complaining that she is “numb.”

And she has “pain all over.”

I really don’t see how those two complaints go together, but what do I know; I’m just a stupid ambulance driver. But not stupid enough to know this woman is full of shit.

Anyway, all of us are less worried about this woman than we are about the little girl – her daughter – out of whom she probably scared the bejesus. What kind of person abandons, for lack of a better word, her responsibilities to her child because she merely doesn’t feel well?

If you make your 5-year-old call 911, you’d better be dying.

It’s only your body

“What medical problems do you have?”

“I just had surgery.”

“What kind of surgery?”

“Colonoscopy I think. Something like that.”

“Well, that’s not really surgery. Or did you actually have surgery? They remove something?”

“Colonosc-something. I don’t know.”

OK whatever. I’ve lost interest anyway.

Two minutes later, I lift her shirt up as I always get around to looking under clothes.

A colostomy bag. And bandages. Not just a little bit different from a colonoscopy.

“So you had some colon and maybe other stuff removed.”

I don’t even bother asking why stuff was removed.

“I told you I had surgery,” she looks at me with annoyance written across her face.

“Except you didn’t know anything about your surgery when I asked.”

This is another area where I really have a problem with the concept of consent. People don’t understand anything. “Informed consent” is an illusion in the great majority of cases – are you really going to hang your hat on the average civilian’s ability to care for him/herself? Those of you who are still worried about that kidnapping/false imprisonment charge or are always so quick to let people refuse care against their best interests, perhaps you should think again.

How about simply “put the phones down”?

New York and San Francisco are just 2 cities out of many that are constantly trying to reduce traffic casualties, particularly pedestrians. They talk nonstop about redesigning roads, improving signage, reducing speed limits, increasing penalties, etc. While I’m not saying these measures won’t help, I’m wondering why no one is coming right out and saying the obvious.


The yellow sheet isn’t just for dead bodies

Code 3 for man down. On the sidewalk.

Typical drunk call. In front of a house.

A man comes outside. Probably the homeowner.


“I live here. What’s going on?”

“Oh, just some drunk guy.”

“Oh good, I saw you guys and the yellow sheet, and I thought someone died.”

“Heh heh, that’s when the sheet is on top. This yellow sheet is on the bottom – it’s for the piss.”

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

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