It’s 2am. We’re on the sidewalk.
A firefighter/EMT is taking a blood pressure with a cuff and a stethoscope.
I put the brilliant white beam of the powerful LED flashlight square in his face.
“Really? Are you fucking serious?”
Two other guys are unable to suppress their laughter and have to step away.
As with the palpated, not auscultated, blood pressure, the oft-heard “140 over 90” comes from lazy and indifferent providers. Granted, those are the public’s most familiar blood pressure numbers as the lower limit for what is considered hypertension. And yes, if we took a million blood pressures, the mean is probably somewhere near there. But, we’re talking about individual blood pressure measurements here, one patient at a time, one call at a time.
For those of us who have taken hundreds of thousands of blood pressures flying down the bumpiest roads, this is an insult. Do you think we’ve not heard the numbers “140 over 90” a thousand times before coming from the mouths of a thousand other assholes? Do you not realize that we know you’re full of shit? Do you not care that we know you either don’t know how to take a blood pressure or, worse, don’t care to properly measure one?
How you do routine things on little calls tells me exactly how you will do critical things on big calls, medical or not.