Category Archives: Ins and outs

Location, location, location

Another year, another type of medium for PCR writing, another piece of software.

One thing I’ve noticed at different agencies, no matter how data are gathered, is that the options provided to us for location data never include the truly applicable. For instance, there would be such no-brainer selections as “residence” or “grocery store” or “office” but there are other way more specific locations that generate far more emergency responses that are never listed.

Just to name a few:

  • payphone (by far the most under-appreciated location as far as data collection is concerned)
  • bus stop
  • subway/train station
  • liquor/convenience store
  • shelter
  • rehab
  • homeless encampment
  • gas station
  • airport
  • doctors’ office/clinic/dialysis center
  • sidewalk
  • someone’s front lawn
  • someone’s back yard
  • someone’s doorway
  • in a car
  • on a bus
  • parking lot

Can you think of any others?

The ideal ride-along policy

While I enjoy sharing the very basic facets of emergency service work with people who are interested or just starting out, there are, as I have said many times before, plenty of people who are simply not cut out for this type of work but mistakenly think they are, usually because of 9/11 and TV and movies. There are also plenty of civilians and politicians who think we sit around and drink coffee all day, also usually because of TV and movies.

I’m not saying this work is so difficult that we, and only we, can do it. Quite the contrary – monkeys can physically do what I do, and it is here where the key to this work lies. Rather, it’s the non-physical side of this work that makes it difficult. Anyway, directly or indirectly, we’ve covered this ground many times before.

The usual ride-along arrangement is some 9-to-5 slot or a single 12-hour shift during the day. I really dislike this. Ride-alongs get but a fleeting glimpse into what we do. They need to do an entire month –¬†politicians, reporters, students, civilians, siblings, whoever. The whole month.¬†Minimum. Whatever the schedule is – nights, weekends, 24 hours, 48 hours, plus mandatory holdovers – they need to do every single shift for a month.

That should weed some people out.

And cut down on the number of assholes bothering me when I’m getting coffee.

FAQ #5

Q: Why are there so many of you here?

A: You did call 911 for what you claim to be an emergency, no? Perhaps you should look up what “emergency” means.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for…

After more than a decade of doing the same stupid things over and over again, in the last few years, finally, we have begun to let good sense and logic take over:

  • We have finally moved away from the idiotic “everyone gets oxygen” mentality
  • And the stupid spinal immobilization for insurance neck and back pain
  • Waveform capnography for intubations and hypervents (sorry – don’t really care about the shark’s fin)
  • CPAP
  • Lucas (even if it makes no difference in survival)
  • Timestamps on monitors that get exported to PCRs
  • The media finally got distracted and forgot about Ebola wiping the US off the map

I need to work on my Christmas list.

Difference in word order

Good day: Eat lunch without interruption, get coffee, run some good, legitimate calls. You know, help some people who truly need help.

“I can’t believe we actually get paid to do this. This is pretty cool.”

Bad day: No food the whole day, get up 5 times after midnight, run dumbshit vomitings, anxiety attacks, psych holds, drunks, drug rehab don’t-feel-goods, insuritis neck pain. You know, babysit some dipshit whiners who need nothing but a slap upside the head.

“I can’t believe we get paid to actually do this. This is fucking bullshit.”

What’s his name?

“I’ve just been calling him ‘Sir’ the whole time.”

I’m not ashamed to admit it, as explained in this article, for our purposes, names are kind of pointless.

It doesn’t change how I fix a patient’s so-called emergency. (My brain is busy deciding how to fix the emergency.)

It doesn’t change what the emergency it is. (My brain is busy determining what the emergency is.)

It doesn’t change how nice or not nice I am. (My brain is busy processing which to be based on how nice or not nice the patient is.)

My brain is otherwise occupied.

FAQ #3

Q: Why do crews sometimes appear to be laughing and joking on calls? It does not seem very professional.

A: First and foremost, most of the calls are so stupid that it requires no intervention. As a comparison, no one expects taxi drivers to do anything but drive safely to the destination.

A small minority of calls, however, are indeed stressful in many different ways. A very sick person. An injured child. An extraordinary asshole insulting us the entire time. A combative fuckhead who wrestles with a half dozen responders. Add those to such routine stress as our stupid bosses and idiot co-workers and unrealistic oversight agencies, and it can really drag you down.

For most of us, our world is a small world, and calls are social events in a sense. We see old classmates and friends we haven’t seen in years. We see people with whom we used to suffer through shifts. We see those we don’t like but, after all, we let bygones be bygones. So imagine the 4 or 6 of us showing up on scene when someone cries wolf – it’s a great time to catch up when there’s nothing to do.

In addition, we naturally understand the harmful effects of stress and we don’t need a scientific paper to know that. What better time to de-stress a little than on stupid calls?