Tag Archives: kids

I know you can open your legs

Code 3 for pregnant female whose water broke.

We walk all the way around to the back house. Two toddlers are asleep in the only bed in the house, on either side of a pregnant woman, whose pinkish water is gushing through her underwear onto the bed. Totally gross.

I cut the sides of her panties and try to spread her legs to check for crowning. Third pregnancy, broken water – I can’t believe there are people who still don’t LOOK. She resists, trying to keeping her legs together. I have no idea why. You call me – I’m going to see what your problem is and manage it, and that includes those parts between your legs.

“Oh NOW you can’t open your legs?”

Proof that the pain scale is stupid

I’m at an autism spectrum disorder talk and someone pointed out that the Wong-Baker Faces pain scale does not work when assessing autistic children.

Without thinking, in a room full of multidisciplinary personnel, I blurted out, “I don’t think it works with anyone!”

The room instantly erupted in certain laughter.

That is my totally nonscientific, anecdotal evidence that the pain scale is stupid.

Body Cam 1, Foul-Mouthed Woman 0

In this week’s Chest Cam Chronicles, a Fairfield, California boy was left sleeping in his car before it was stolen. His parents called police for help. And then they said the police were mean to them while they were generally unhelpful toward the police.

The worst part of our work

If your friends and relatives are like mine, then you’ve entertained questions about the worst calls you’ve been on, or similar questions phrased differently.

Obviously, they expect to hear about the blood and guts and explosions. However, rather than seeing someone’s head fall off, I think, really, the worst is when I witness up close the abject poverty some people are unfortunate enough to face in what is supposedly the “world’s only remaining superpower,” the stunning ignorance some people are too ignorant to realize they display, the classless words some people choose to open their mouths and spew, the heartless cruelty some people inflict upon others, the lost innocence and increasing viciousness of the ever-younger criminal underclass, and the absolute hopelessness with which some people live their entire lives.

And only the single-minded kindness, determination and dedication of our crews can make any of it just a little bit better.

Applied probabilities

Code 2 for unknown injury.

A toddler has a gaping laceration, likely caused by the a rusty, aged, outdoor chain-link fence around his residence.

“Has he had a Tetanus shot?”

“We don’t believe in vaccines.”

“Umm… Okaaaaaay…”

“We have our reasons.”

“Really… you know what Tetanus is? Or maybe you’ve never heard of polio?”

The mother then has the same exact conversation with the ED attending.

I’m certainly not an expert in infectious diseases and vaccines, but I do know a thing or two about statistics and probabilities.

Over the years some very smart people figured out that there are some very dangerous and sometimes incurable scary diseases that you don’t want to catch. And then they figured out how to inoculate you so you don’t even contract these diseases. Some of these diseases were even declared eradicated a long time ago.

If you believe vaccines are a bigger threat to you and your children than the diseases they aim to prevent, then clearly you either have a fuzzy grasp of probabilities or are immune to facts. Which is a little ironic that you’re turning down the acquired immunity.

Believe what you want, but to me it’s quite simple.

Let v be the chance of a certain vaccine causing harm (such as MMR causing autism), and d be the chance of contracting the horrible disease(s) the vaccine is supposed to prevent (such as MMR).

If v > d, then don’t get the vaccine.

If v < d, then get the vaccine.

Let’s say that v = 0, because that’s the scientific consensus, multiple studies have failed to establish any connection, and Andrew Wakefield’s high-profile study claiming a link between autism and vaccines has been thoroughly discredited as flat-out fraudulent, not to mention it was based on “anecdotal evidence” on 12 kids, a statistically minuscule sample size, which, if you know anything about statistics, means absolutely nothing.

As for d, we know that it is a positive number not zero. In fact, d increases in value with the increase in the number of unvaccinated people.

Therefore, v < d.

It’s pretty simple.

Get vaccinated.

It’s a huge public health issue.

Then again, I suppose if human beings understand anything about risk, they would wear their seat belts and never start smoking. But they don’t.

*So I originally had a whole bunch of links prepared for this post when I started writing this nearly a year ago, but thanks to the Disney outbreak, the (near-)universal condemnation of anti-vaxxers has made the links unnecessary. But I will include a timeline from The Onion. You’re welcome.

Stop whining

The big news going around today is an Anne Arundel County, Maryland, dispatcher is facing termination because he told a 13-year-old girl to “stop whining” (audio included) after a hit-and-run driver killed her father and injured his fiancée.

I’m certainly not saying he couldn’t have handled it a little better, but did everyone forget that his primary task here is to find out what happened and where it happened? It’s obvious that it’s a legitimate emergency. It’s obvious the caller is having some trouble providing an accurate location. It’s obvious the caller is upset. It’s obvious it’s a difficult call to take.

If you can do better spending most of your shift talking to difficult callers, step up. Any dispatcher will tell you callers themselves say way worse things than “stop whining” to them every other minute.

So he didn’t have the best bedside manner. So he didn’t choose his words a little better.

Save the outrage for something else. Like the anti-vaxxers. Or this insane anti-vaxxer book for kids.

Dear Fucking New Guys

Dear Fucking New Guys,

First, I, more than most, don’t like talking about time. But try to be less cocky when you show up on a call. Chances are there are plenty of other people – medics, nurses, docs – who have done way more time than you have.

Also, let me save you some time so you don’t show up on the next call asking if “this patient need[s] to go the hospital in an ambulance.” Some of you really like to ask this question, usually with this annoyingly condescending tone even a deaf person can pick up, as if no one in the history of Earth has thought of it. Since we all have done much more time than you, we – surprise, surprise – already know that most of these people don’t need to go to the hospital in an ambulance. It’s a little game we play. It’s not a fun game. It’s not a very sensible game in some ways. In fact, you can even call it the Hunger Game, since most of us are always missing meals for this game. But until the administrators and managers grow some balls, it is the only game we play.

You can laugh at how stupid people are, you can complain, you can even start a shitty blog that no one reads, but if you don’t like taking people to the hospital, then don’t work on a fucking ambulance.