This is what EMS is about

Stinky homeless guy calls for chest pain.

Sharp, reproducible, coughing-a-lot chest pain that’s been around for weeks. In other words, most likely bullshit.

I have him take off all his jackets and shirts so I can do a 12-lead, which is the responsible thing to do, at the minimum. Even though he stinks, I still do it because there are things that I have to do even if I don’t want to, and this is one of them. Most medics wouldn’t. My partner bags up all his clothes nicely, and he starts complaining that it’s cold. I turn the heater on. His complaining starts turning into cussing.

Unremarkable 12-lead, we give him a blanket and we’re off to the hospital. We’re waiting in triage and he’s still complaining about being cold. We get him a couple more blankets. He accuses us of deliberately stripping him and making him cold, and says other crews don’t make him take his tops off.

“That’s because they don’t want to smell you.”

So that is EMS in a nutshell: be responsible and get no thanks, or save yourself the mental stress and get in trouble later for not providing necessary treatment that patients don’t want.

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