Tough criminals

Criminals like to lie; it’s not a surprise. But did you know that when they get arrested, criminals like to claim some sort of medical problem and leave officers with no choice but to bring them for medical evaluations at hospitals, wasting everybody’s time?

Now the officers have to babysit them for hours instead of being in circulation responding to calls for police service while these criminals get cleared at the hospital by physicians who instead could be treating other non-criminals at these very overcrowded hospitals before bringing them to jails, which for liability reasons, turn away people with the smallest of problems, even though they have some medical staff on duty.

One officer told me that he had to bring some guy he just arrested to the hospital because he had a hangnail.


“Department policies.”

“Hangnail? Really?”

“If he’s complaining about it. Gotta cover my ass. And the department’s collective ass.”

Sometimes the medical problem a criminal makes up requires the officers to request EMS. You know we LOVE these calls. More people’s time being wasted. Of course, if I’m at one of these calls, that just means I’m not at some other person’s house for the week-long ‘flu or at the payphone for the homeless dude who has chest pain that’s cured by a hospital sandwich. Pick your poison, they say.

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.

Not-so-sweet dreams

Code 3 for the unknown.

Apparently this man called because his healthy 7-year-old son woke up from sleep scared and screaming, and this concerned father called 911.  And he insisted on the ambulance transport. Since the powers-that-be who run all facets of healthcare are fearful of liability, we transported by ALS ambulance this boy who had a nightmare to the ED.