Two sets of vital signs

“Please provide at least 2 complete sets of vital signs on EVERY patient, and additional sets of vital signs if a patient’s condition changes, or after an intervention was performed.”

Sound familiar? I’m sure you’ve seen sentences like this in memos issued by the those tough-guy desk jockeys.

EVERY patient? Yeah, right.

When I’m taking James to the hospital for the 11th year in a row for the same thing every shift, you’re lucky if I even bother. In fact, forgive me if I just wait until we get to the ED. I don’t care if you think I’m a bad medic, or a lazy one. His vital signs are irrelevant.

I really don’t see how this is dramatically different than the decision-making process that leads you to omit spinal immobilization or choose one treatment over the other. Patient presents, tells you what s/he wants, you decide what s/he needs and doesn’t need using your knowledge, experience and judgment. James walks up to the ambulance, wants a ride to hospital for the 2,546th time, he needs nothing at all.

He barely needs ONE set of vital signs; he certainly doesn’t need TWO sets of vital signs.

If I’m wrong, you can fire me.

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