Red carpet

Attention patients: please stop making us take you to a hospital 25 miles away simply because your “doctor is at that hospital.” It is a really lame reason. Your doctor is NOT at that hospital; your doctor is doing whatever it is that takes him or her away from whiny, demanding, know-it-all patients like you who threaten lawsuits every time your narcotic needs are not satisfied.

If you can whine and demand to be transported to a particular hospital, you can safely take a cab. You are lucky that the county medical director prefers that we EMS responders babysit you. Clearly the medical director has never worked 911.

It is surprising that, despite your many illegitimate visits to the emergency department, you have not realized that your doctor is not going to be at the hospital awaiting Your Majesty’s arrival.

Your doctor is not going to drag himself out of bed at 3am because you’re going to the ED, especially not for your silly medical complaint. Your doctor is not going to close his office (and his wallet to 20 insurance reimbursements) because of you (and your single insurance reimbursement). Your doctor is not going to cut short his vacation because of you. Your doctor is not going to give up spending time with his nagging spouse and annoying children to be with someone even more irritating. Your doctor is not your slave.

Your doctor has many patients besides you, and many of them go to the ED for many reasons that do not warrant visits to the ED. You all need to learn to share. In fact, start by sharing a cab to the hospital.

Also, “my medical records are at that hospital” and “they know me there” are reasons that are just as lame, because nobody really needs your records for the lame treatment you’re seeking for your lame medical issue, and the only reason the ED staff knows you is that you are always a pain in the ass.

By the way, speaking of medical records, some of the technological advances made in recent decades are quite impressive indeed. There are these “faks machines” that can magically produce copies of documents located in another building miles and miles away. There are also these contraptions called “tellafones” that allow people to talk to other people in other states. You can now send mail and pictures instantly through electric wires these days using “comepewders” – no need to buy stamps! I never figured out how they fit the envelopes in those wires though.


Man down.

Apparently a burglar called 911 and stated that he was breaking into a garage housing disabled cars to steal tools when he found another guy, who presumably also broke in, passed out drunk on the ground.


After 20 minutes at a Chinese-speaking household where no one spoke any useful English – and presumably there was a lot of gesticulating accompanied by slow and loud English – a frustrated paramedic was overheard saying, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here; I don’t speak Asian!”

Samaritan morbidity

Vehicle accident on the freeway in the dead of night. A car into the center divider, a man in the driver seat, a woman outside on the ground, and just behind them, another involved car with no injuries.

It turns out the man, very drunk, drove his car into the center divider on the empty freeway, and then nobody drove by for at least several minutes until the woman came upon the crash. She pulled over on the right shoulder, ran across 4 freeway lanes to help him, and promptly got hit by another car that somehow failed to see the car stuck on the divider.

The Good Samaritan tried to assist the man inconsiderate enough to drive drunk and was hit by the another person inconsiderate enough to be inattentive on an empty freeway. Very selfless, but not exactly very wise. Pretty sure she didn’t get flowers from those idiots.

Cut finger

Code 3 for bleeding.

It’s just a small 1/4-inch cut on the thumb because the knife slipped. Two friends are waiting to follow the patient and the ambulance to the hospital in their car. If you’re wondering: people really do call for cut fingers.

She was very nice though, and that’s really all that matters to me.


Code 3 for the unknown medical.

It’s 3am. Locked gate. Dark house. No hint of movement. We verify with dispatch the address. We’re at the right place.

Engine company arrives. Greetings exchanged. We tell them we’ve been here for 3 minutes now. Lieutenant asks dispatch to call the house.

A middle-aged woman comes out. She didn’t call 911.

“Is everything OK in the house?”

“Yes. It’s just my son in there with me.”

“This is 2525 xxxx Street, right?”


“And there are no other people living at this address? No separate apartments? No separate units?”


The son comes to the door. “I think it’s my ex-girlfriend who called.”

“So it’s a prank call? You don’t need medical assistance?”

“Yes, we’re fine. Thank you.”

“Good night.”

Should I call 911?

Several ambulances are parked in a hospital’s ambulance bay, which is next to the main entrance for anyone who wants to enter the hospital. A car drives up to the ambulances, and a woman gets out and approaches the crews.

“My son is having trouble breathing. Should I call 911?”

All of us are really impressed that we barely move, already correctly guessing where her son is.

“Ma’am, where is your son?”

“He’s in the car.”

One of us bothers to say something. Politely.

“Why don’t you just take him in through the hospital entrance? Right there.”