When I should have been sleeping Thursday night, I was watching “I am Sam” on TBS. I actually tried to walk away from it a few times, but I guess I’m a sap for that kind of thing. Well, not really, but whatever. This post IS a little bit rambling and a lot scattered. Mostly because I’m a LOT emotional about it. I’m sick of watching “EMS Professionals” treat patients with complete disregard for the most basic of human needs.
It got me thinking about the countless parenting lessons the Main Character “Sam” offers us. As a mentally handicapped dad with an IQ around 70, the struggles WE all face on a daily basis are compounded–yet somehow he does it better than most parents could imagine. So… Because it is what I do, I TWEETED it. Next @EMS2Foundation asked me a simple question, that made my mind spin out of control.
do you think there’s any good lessons from “I am Sam” for EMS personnel?
Obviously I am Sam is full of Life lessons in general, but I think that the overwhelming theme is about compassion and understanding. I’m not sure what it was about this question that really got me going, but it did. I actually got frustrated trying to write this post–not because I can’t find the words or ideas, but because the basic concept–one we ignore all too often–is so easy. It is almost easier to follow this concept than what most of us do, but yet we still continue on.
What is this concept? Treat our patients with Respect, Integrity, and Compassion. The EMS Blogosphere is abuzz with EMS 2.0 discussion. Seems as though every one of my fellow bloggers has written an EMS 2.0 post–so I guess I HAD to follow.
For those of you who are living under a rock in West Texas, EMS 2.0 is:
EMS 2.0 is the global effort to reform prehospital emergency care. We are an open community that includes members of the general public, medical professionals, and policy makers. All of us are committed to reforming prehospital emergency care world wide.
Personally, I think it should start on a much more basic level.
Respect. Integrity. Compassion.
It seems to me that medics have this
God Superiority Complex that justifies the way they treat others–Our patients are scumbags, bums, drunks, and thugs. Our patients DESERVE what they got. Our patients don’t deserve good care. Our patients don’t deserve critical thinking. Why should I respect someone who doesn’t respect me?
Sure, we see a lot of bad eggs. Part of why we see them is the nature of BEING a Bad Egg. Bad Eggs do stupid shit. Bad Eggs make bad decisions. But…. Bad Eggs are still people. Do we expect the bad eggs to magically un-rot if we treat them like crap? Right…. Don’t get me wrong–I am not suggesting you coddle drunks and seekers. I AM suggesting that you don’t disrespect them. I AM asking that you don’t maliciously maltreat them. I AM asking that you give your patients a chance–now when they take that chance and piss it away by swinging at you, that is a new discussion.
I think that if we treat patients with respect, the image of EMS will only get better. Often we have this public persona that we are lazy, dirty drunks–much like the patients we hate–yet we don’t do anything to improve this image. It is OUR responsibility to ACT professional, and Respecting our patients is the foundation of that.
In the Movie, Sam doesn’t shove anyone down. As a matter of fact, it is striking how much he tries to NOT disrespect anyone. Our patients deserve to have a care provider with this dedication–yet often they end up with far less.
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
I think the easiest way for EMS professionals to honor the integrity of our patients and act with integrity ourselves is to Follow the EMT Oath. What you say? We have an Oath? Yup, and while we might not put our hands on a bible or be sworn in like some public servants, we are still obligated to uphold this Oath.
Be it pledged as an Emergency Medical Technician, I will honor the physical and judicial laws of God and man. I will follow that regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of patients and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, nor shall I suggest any such counsel.
Into whatever homes I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of only the sick and injured, never revealing what I see or hear in the lives of men unless required by law.
I shall also share my medical knowledge with those who may benefit from what I have learned. I will serve unselfishly and continuously in order to help make a better world for all mankind.
While I continue to keep this oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life, and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. Should I trespass or violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot.
So help me God.
A big part of Integrity is Pride in one self, pride in your profession, and pride in what you do. If you are missing one of these parts, maybe this profession isn’t for you. Maybe someone a little more disconnected is your cup of tea. These aren’t optional parts of doing our jobs the RIGHT way. If we can’t act with honor, why bother?
Likely the most underused tool in our “kits”. To do this job for a long time you almost have to disconnect from your patients. The things we see and do are hard on the strongest of hearts, let alone one who allows them to eat you up. What that doesn’t mean is that we should disregard the significance of the moment for our patients. Our patients are in pain, dying, sick, or injured and it is our job to assess, treat, and transport them to the next level of definitive care.
Assess, TREAT, and transport. Treating our patients doesn’t have to involve and IV, medications or the LifePak 12. It could simply mean providing a compassionate ear to calm them down. More often than not, my patients don’t need any “medical” care, yet few people outside of medicine are prepared to offer them what they need. They need someone who has “seen it all” and able to reassure them, comfort them, and be honest with them.
BE HONEST. Compassion doesn’t mean making false promises. You should all know better than to go all TRAUMA on me and yell at your patients for dying or promising they’re gonna live. If they’re gonna die, you don’t have to say “Look, you’re dying”, but you NEED to make them aware(obviously if lucid) of the severity of the event. You MUST be compassionate and part of that is being honest. Tell them what they NEED to know. Tell them in a way you’d expect me to tell your mother.
Sure, EMS 2.0 is about a lot more than all of this “simple” crap, but what point is there in wasting the effort to improve the rest of EMS if we aren’t doing the bare minimum for our patients. The smartest, best groomed medics can still disregard the simple basics of patient care.
In the end of the day, if you aren’t treating your patients the way you’d expect me to treat your 85 year old mother, step back and ask yourself WHY? Then fix it.
If you haven’t seen I am Sam, you should. Sure, it’s sappy and silly, but honestly there is little excuse for us to not all live with the same Love and Care for others that Sam does for his daughter Lilly. Either we decide to do our jobs with Honor, Respect, Integrity and Compassion, or we’ve decided to insult our patients AND our colleagues. What point is there in improving the rest of EMS if we can’t address the most important part?
Girl that’s how I feel
Cause when she loves me I’m on top of the world
Cause when she loves me I can live forever
When she loves me I am untouchable
My wife is my queen. Without her I assure you that I would be completely lost. This song has a way of describing just how we work. It just all of the sudden clicked with us. We had an on again/off again relationship that lasted several months. Shortly there after I moved 1826 miles to Florida… For many reasons… But mostly because I was afraid of who I was becoming.
So I ran. I ran fast. I left my dog, my friends, my family, and I ran. I spent 11 months in that dreadful state(good god… humidity is supposed to end at some point). It was really my only option.
Butit worked. I grew up. I learned how to work hard–and I learned that what I was doing wasn’t for me. I learned there is more to life than what I want… but what I NEED. Then one night I found what I was looking for…. one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-six miles away from where I was. So I packed up my little red VW bug and moved my completely heterosexual ass back home. I tried to play tough. I tried to deny how I felt. But I couldn’t.
So I moved in with her. I married her. And we had a beautiful baby boy. She is my rock. My soul mate.
She is my wife. Whatever it is that brought me back, I’m not 100% sure. But SHE brought me back. Nothing else could ever have the power over me that she does.
On December 7th, 2008 I took a job with a little ambulance service in my hometown. The town where I grew up–where my parents still live. My wife and I moved back home this spring.
The Little Ambulance that Couldn’t has one hell of a reputation. When I was hired on I thought most of it was BS. I was HOPING it was all BS. They said the owner was crazy. They said he was unprofessional, unqualified, unstable…. They said the medics were out of practice, that they were just stretcher jockies.
I tried. I really, honestly tried to make the best of it. I needed an out, and this was it. I took what I had and ran with it… But the breaking point was always on the horizon.
Every time someone went wrong at the Little Ambulance that Couldn’t it was always the end of the world. Out of soap… the sky is falling. Missed an IV… the apocalypse is near! Had a patient get pissed…. OMG… The dinosaurs are coming!!!
The LCTCn’t was more concerned with LOOKING like a real ambulance service than BEING a real ambulance service. We spent more time sweeping, washing trucks, and mopping floors than we did running calls. Since January 1st I was ON 46 calls. I was lead on 26. On 12 of those calls there were 3 or more staff members on the call(any time we had an “exciting” call, every damn staff member in town showed up cause they thought we NEEDED the help. I’m sorry, but I don’t need 27 people vying for control of MY call.).
The owner at the LCTCn’t had a hair trigger. Any time something tiny happened he went off half cocked. When business was bad he wouldn’t hesitate to let us all know how we were all replaceable and he was willing to work 24/7(I raise you this and challenge you to actually do this now!).
I am a paramedic. I want to run calls, restock my truck, and run some more. I’ll wash my rig when it is dirty. I’ll mop a floor when it NEEDS it. I won’t do busy work for the sake of doing busy work. I’ll also take a nap when time permits.
When you treat me like I am disposable, I will do everything my power to prove you otherwise. Step one, walk out. Step two, fight back. Step three…. Win.
Do not try to intimidate me with reminder mailings of my confidentiality agreement. My complaint with the department of labor is well within my rights. You have failed to realize everything I did for you during the last 7 months. I wrote your protocols, designed your website(which you are now unable to update without me), implemented your EPCR program(which you are clueless on) and set up and maintained your internal network. You have no one who can do these tasks. Enjoy finding a medic/maid/IT guy to replace me.
When you are working back to back to back 24 hr shifts with your medics who can’t even spell succinocholine let alone provide you dosages. Enjoy your CPAP device I researched that you aren’t even sure when to use. Enjoy back to back 8 hour transfers. Enjoy continuous turnover because you aren’t willing to take the tools we gave you to succeed.
You’ve proven all you care about is LOOKING like a real ambulance service. When you’re ready to BE a real ambulance service… don’t call me. I have moved on. Gone. Done. Finished.
Life has been very busy/stressful/challenging lately. I have been having a hell of a time with my current job and have been looking for my way out. My boss doesn’t seem to think that 2×24 hr shifts + 3×24 hr call shifts is “working us too much”. Funny how 3 months ago he stopped working real shifts altogether since it was destroying his family life.
My family is supposed to magically survive though.
Don’t think so dude. No job will ever be worth sacrificing my family. My wife, son, and even my dogs are more important than a paycheck could ever be. The stress this job has put on my family for the last 3 months is incredible.
I’m realistic. I know that having a 4 month old son is hard. I know that the stresses a new baby can put on a relationship are rather intense. But they are nothing compared to what this job does.
I hope to have magical results for you all in 48 hours.
“If shit doesn’t change around here he is going to lose all of his best medics”
me. “Yup. I hear ya”
Inside my head…. “it is already too late”
For 7 months I have tried to reverse what I consider to be my biggest failure of my life. I work hard. I try to improve things. When that doesn’t work, I give up. I know… I’m a type A personality. I’m a leader. A fighter. I strong person. But I can’t fight this fight anymore.
Every day, I wake up—if I even slept that night, and spend an hour dreading work. If I’m on call I fear any chance I have to go in. When I’m ON I get sick. I dread the conversations with coworkers, the tedious tasks, and the shit morale.
I feel as though I’ve failed. I moved my family and implanted us here with no other options… Well… One other option. My initial first choice. The problem is… the THOUGHT of going there could get me fired here. No… It WOULD get me fired.
I’m damn scared. I do NOT want to let my family down. I want need to succeed. I need to prove myself to my family. I need to prove myself to… me. All I want is to be a Paramedic. All I want is to succeed. Yet every move I make ends in failure. My first job was a failure. This is an EPIC failure.
What would you do? I’m signed into a lease for at least a year. Further, I love being here. We are in my hometown, a mile from my parents, an hour from my in-laws, and I feel spoiled. My son certainly is. I know my parents love having a grandchild close. What do I do?
Wish me luck.
I have some great partners. I’ve also got some really, really crappy partners. Some of them just know what to do. Others need me to hold their hands while they take a crap. Some just can not figure out what being a partner means.
A partner is:
-A friend who shares a common interest or participates in achieving a common goal
-A member of an intimate relationship
-A member of a partnership
-A business partner
-Partner (business rank), a member of a law firm or accounting firm which is formed as a partnership; sometimes senior employees of the firm may have the title "partner" (e.g., "salaried partner") to indicate a profit sharing status; salaried partners are distinguished from equity partners, who own the business.
-A participant in a partner dance
Things partners should NOT do…
-Throw you under the bus every chance they get
-Use you in a piss poor attempt to further their own careers
-Kiss your ass after doing so
-Ask you for favors after doing so
-expect you to do them favors after doing so
-expect me to NOT give them a reciprocal bus-throwing-under
-Expect me to NOT succeed and leave you bloodied in a ditch off a dirt road in Idaho.
Seriously. When the oldest person at your station is the most immature, idiotic, and pigheaded
dumb ass staff member, you know you’re in a ginormous cluster fuck…
Oh, and some things you should not try to tell me that you are "allergic" to:
-Epi. Seriously? You’re adrenal glands are going to have to disagree
-Sugar. Specifically Glucose. You’re fucking kidding me, right?
-Ammonia? You do understand the difference between an allergy and a hypersensitivity? You get that NO ONE likes how breathing in ammonia makes you feel…
-PS… since you are allergic to ammonia, sugar, and epi… what would you like me to do about your "allergic reaction" now that you are in anaphylactic shock? Fucking black magic?
-If you are allergic to sugar why are you drinking a humongo gas station Reese’s Capafrapasugarladencino?
The pediatric dose of Benadryl would actually give you MORE Benadryl than the adult dose… based on weight. F-tard(that is me restraining myself.)
How in the HELL did one small company with 8 full time employees end up with a concentration of 3(THREE) people with the same set of nearly impossible allergies?
So, It has been rather apparent that I can’t make my mind up. At all.
In the past 6 months I have:
- Abandoned MedicThree.com
- Started and abandoned glutenfreedad.com(no longer hosted)
- Started and flopped on courtesyshock.com(still up)
- Started, but done nothing with medicdad.com
- And now I am back with medicthree.com. Format might be a little different, as you can see, but back I am. I have new motivation for some posts, and my fears of exposure are all but gone. A few people
here know me in real life. One of them is one of my supervisors–but, if I can’t trust her… I’m in a world of hurt anyways!
Anyways… I assure you that by the end of the night there will be an ACTUAL POST HERE…
So… Let me know how things are going! What do you think?!?!?
The National EMS Memorial Service is a sad-that-its-necessary, but glad-someone-stepped-up organization. Something I hadn’t realized was that one of my childhood neighbors is on that list.
Hit closer to home than I would’ve liked. I was only 14 years old when they died. He had a son a year older than me and a daughter two years younger than I. It is amazing that someone I honestly only met once or twice has made me feel the way I do right now.
Maybe its a case of whoa-is-me, maybe its a case of –I’m-having-a-baby-and-I’m-terrified-of-fucking-up. I’m not sure…
May God have Mercy on your Souls.
May God have Mercy.
Be safe out there, friends. Godspeed.
I’ve got a little more to tell about my weekend trip with the wife, but thought I’d give you a tidbit from last week…
We were called out to the tribal clinic last thursday for about the 123423th time. I did what I do every time, back down the line of employee cars and up to the door. Or that was the plan. As I’m backing my partner starts giving me that “what the hell?” line of questioning.
He thinks its stupid that I’d back in here. He’d rather I pulled in forward and backed out with the patient on board. I think the problem with this is that I would then have to back INTO the patient parking lot after the employee lot.
So we go back and forth about this as I’m idling back. Then… CRUNCH-bang-SMACK-thud. I look out the passenger side mirror to see a dumpster–wait TWO dumpsters that are obviously not in their original position. I managed to hit one, it hit the other, which hit the garage door behind that….
Too boot I was giving my partner shit about the deer he hit 5 days earlier just before we pulled in. Karma is a bitch.
To make matters worse, as I come in I let the secretary know to have an estimate done on the garage door(small ding… no damage to our rig) and she gives me this guilt trip about how those were BRAND NEW DUMPSTERS…
In EMS there are a thousand shades of gray. Possibly millions. We have protocols that direct us to which shade we should be occupying, but often your patient doesn’t present exactly how the protocols suggest they might.
One thing is clear: When you’re in over your head admit it, ask for help, and move on. Paramedics often don’t like calling for a helicopter because it as if they have to admit that there is something they CAN’T do. Thats right! You heard it here first. Sometimes Paramedics can’t do shit. Hell. Most of the time we can’t.
When people ask me what my job is like, I respond the same. It is 70% hand holding and soft talking, 10% prophylactic medicine(ASA, Nitro, Oxygen), 15% Bullshit(drunks, pseudo-psychs, et), and 5% real medicine(cardiac arrest, resp failure, resp arrest, allergic reactions, overdoses, trauma).
Most of the people that call 911 need an ambulance no more than they need a taxi. Such is life. The problem is those mundane calls put you in a groove that sometimes you(or your partner) can’t shake off in a real emergency.
This was the case recently with our SOB(dispatched as abdominal pain) call from last Thursday. I knew he was in bad shape, but didn’t realize how bad. When I couldn’t get a BP or line, my partner said for me to get on the road. I asked if he wanted a chopper. He didn’t.
Our service(for now) doesn’t have CPAP or RSI. He didn’t want to tolerate the mask. He needed an airway or assistance, but we didn’t have a line so we couldn’t calm him down… My partner attempted 14 IVs. I’m sorry, but at no point should 14 prehospital attempts be ok. If you really need a line, go IO.
If you can’t do that. Fly the patient. Do something. Do do ANYTHING just for the sake of doing something though. Do what your protocol says to do. If you can’t do that, contact medical control for orders. Admit you are in over your head.
Your patient will thank you. Unfortunately ours can’t and now we get to sit through 3 hours of M&M
People die–but when they don’t LIVE because you opted to provide a lower level of care than you are capable, you don’t belong here anymore.
Sometimes we get there too late. Sometimes we can’t get that “vital” IV. Sometimes things just don’t work out. But then, sometimes you do everything you can, all in record speed–only to “fail”.
As EMS providers we see a lot of dead people. We see a lot less people actually die. Sometimes when we get there, the circumstances haven’t lined up to allow for survival. Sometimes people die.
One of the first lectures we got in Medic class said just that. You can do everything right–everything–and sometimes PEOPLE DIE. It is sad. It can be hard. But it is true.
One of the most important things we can do is to be strong. Sam at On the Clock is getting there–so am I. Some patients hit me harder than others. Sometimes people die.
It is important to remember that for us to do our jobs, we need to be able to live, learn, and move on. Some might find this harsh–but you can only take a little piece from each death you have in this job–if you take it all home, you’ll end up at the bottom of a bottle or signing your name at the end of the saddest letter ever.
Take a step back, and remember–not everyone can be “saved”. We don’t get to pick them. But more people out there need our help and you have to be ALIVE to do your job.
Good Luck and be safe out there.
today. Seriously. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.
I was woke up by my pager at about 0600, multiple victims assualted by a broom handle(and maybe a brick). Blood alcohol of .352, .308, and .251. Sounds more like a gun caliber than what a blood alcohol should be. Of course, no one wanted treatment. Of course, we treated them all.
I then got home, took off my boots, and the pager went off. Again. This time it was for a 84yo who fell at the nursing home, 3 hours prior. Easy Peasy.
After about a 2 hour nap I was again woke by the god awful sounds of the pager. This time it was to a 60yo male who passed out at the Casino. We get there, he looks just fine. No hx of syncopal episodes, minor cardiac hx. He has a BP of 105/63, pulse 58, and looks absolutely fine. Somehow though, my partner is convinced that these numbers are horrible.
Again, TREAT THE PATIENT, NOT THE MONITOR. Neither of those numbers is cause for alarm. Hell, if I had a BP of 105 I’d be extatic. Whatever. Finally I convince him that if they don’t want US to transport them that we have to honor that, and they go to the ED.
We went behind them, because my partner is still concerned that this guy is going to code. Being a small hospital, if that were to happen, we’d be called anyway. Whatever, the only thing I had going on was a sweet nap. We get there, I sit in the waiting room and watch some Discovery Channel, all while my partner gets all worked up cause now that the patient is relaxed his pulse is in the high forties. Guess what, patient is still fine–looks fine, feels fine, not really worried.
About 45 minutes later he finally decides that if they need us they will call us. He is convinced we will be transporting this guy to the heart hospital in Sorta Big Town. Guess what–2 hours later–no pager tones.
alkjdasf;lkajsdf;lkjasdf! Seriously. The only thing that frustrates me more than trying to talk a patient that doesn’t want(or need) us to transport them in our $800 taxi is someone who doesn’t even realize the patient doesn’t need us. Oh, and Versed is NOT an analgesic.
More to follow. 60 hours left of my 168 hours of paramedical glory.
So… Took my CBT exam today. Walked out feeling like a huge moron. There were questions I just absolutely didn’t expect. Even worse… the whole “choose the MOST correct answer” bullshit just riles me up. You aren’t choosing the CORRECT answer. You are choosing the MOST correct answer. The answer is often not the one that I would chose to do in the field.
Computer Adaptive Testing(CAT) also makes judging your performance on the test very difficult. Unlike a written test in class, this test will either get easier or harder, depending on how big of a moron you are.
Whatever. I’m pissed, anxious, and preparing myself for the reality that I might have to retest. Hopefully I’ll have something to tell you tomorrow. I’m well on my way to being my own Psych patient.
Thats right. Screw you National Registry and Pearson Vue. So it turns out my local Pearson Vue doesn’t have a CBT exam slot for me until July 11th. Yeah… That’s right. My new job is scheduled to start July 7th(and even by then I won’t have a state license). The next closest location isn’t available till July 8th.
Nope, that won’t work either. So… I’m left to drive 138(.87) miles to podunk community college in a different state to take my CBT exam. Better yet, it’s at 9am, supposed to be there by 0830. That means I need to leave by 0615… so I should get up by 5:30, realistically 0600… Fantastic.
I’m not too worried about the practical exam, which as of now is 9 hours away. I’m actually so confident that I’ve put all my eggs in one basket and planned a bbq/drunken bonanza at my little ghetto abode after the test. Brilliant, I know.
None the less… I hope to be reporting back to all of you faithful readers tomorrow with good news and one less step to go in my Paramedic journey of misery.
Until then… Chicken Wing.
So Today was a day that I can bet won’t ever repeat itself. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
It was really a pretty slow day. 8 hrs, 4 calls, nothing serious–well, that depends on your definition of serious. Calls 1&2 were run of the mill.
Calls 3&4… Well, they make me wanna hurl.
Dispatched code 3 to an Elementary School–on a psych. 11 year old girl who wanted to kill herself. She has made suicide gestures, had a plan(posted on myspace.com) and was very, very depressed. She’s FUCKING 11 YEARS OLD! What the hell is going on here? What happened to 11 year old girls playing dress up, house, reading cute books with pink covers and harassing little neighborhood boys?
To make it better, Dad(the sperm donor) could care less and wouldn’t be coming to the Hospital. Mom–well, she’s in prison–obviously more part of the problem than the solution.
Her aunt is the only one who seems to care enough to come… So she’s getting checked into a Pediatric Psych unit on a Mental Health Hold and she’s all by herself. Why do I see this ending badly. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, or next month. Eventually though the system will be done failing her and One of us will get to scrape her off the floor somewhere.
Call 4. Code 2, same god damn school. Apparently they have a hold on the niche for kids with overwhelming psychiatric issues.
This one is 10. Yeah, that’s right. 10 god damn years old. He is “diagnosed” (by an overwhelmed, over-eager family practice Doctor, no doubt–not a psychologist or psychiatrist(Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. They are smarter than me. But Family Practice doctors have as much business diagnosing and treating mental illness as I have treating cancer)) with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder(my fav… so he doesn’t like authority… find me a kid who DOES).
He decided teacher was pissing him off, so he kicked, screamed, bit, clawed, spit and threw a chair at him. Then the principal. Then PD.
I told him he had to go with one of us. Either with us in the ambulance with cool toys or the Police car with Handcuffs and a spit hood. He calmed down(like most people do when confronted with this situation) and walked out with us. Mom was no where to be found. She is an aide at another school in the district and was on a “personal” day. PD and school staff tried to locate her at home, friends, family. No luck.
One of the more memorable parts of that call–asking if he knew what meds he took. Benedryl. Every night. What could that be for?!?!?! Hmm…. Good Night.
What are our kids being thrown into psych facilities so often now? Case 1 was legit. She needed help. Case 2 needed parents who actually parented. We are failing our kids. We’re failing the future. I’m actually scared out of my mind about it.
see more crazy cat pics
You’ll have to forgive me, but these are just too funny…
see more crazy cat pics
Check out LOLCATS.
But… I have to. I had decided yesterday I wasn’t going to talk about this particular patient. It is just one of those, need to get it out of your head, please don’t make me see it again, how could this happen–calls.
20 minutes left in our shift, we had gone Bravo and we were pulling into the garage–when The tones come out. Called for a 3 mo with “Burns” at one of our local problem clinics. Code 3.
We’re thinking it’s a BS Call. A) Who would take their baby with severe burns to a clinic and not call 911 or go to the hospital. B) it’s 20 min till the end of our shift and we’ve done a good job annoying the dispatcher today with our demand for details(we were sent on two transfers and when getting to County he didn’t even have the right building… sorry for wanting to know where to pick up the patient from…)
We walk in the clinic and the nurse starts spewing out details. 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 15-25% of the baby. That would be bad if it happened to me. If it happens to a baby–that can be deadly, and quick.
To boot, mom is a Nurse. Says she was on her way home and the Nanny called. Freaking out. Said that “something happened”. Yeah, no shit.
Apparently nanny had been trying to “wash” off some poo from a diaper change gone wrong. Apparently nanny was able to make Tap water eat skin and fless. Yeah.
My ass. The burn patter isn’t one of running water from a faucet, and it wasn’t one from sitting the baby down into the water. Seriously, the only thing I can see is if water was gently poured from a bottle or pan–you know, the kind you BOIL things in. Cause really, what Water faucet produces water that could cause these kinds of burns–and how couldn’t you feel the heat radiating out of the sink.
My chubby ass gets hot doing dishes in luke warm water. How could you not feel the heat coming at you. She claims she just forgot to check the water.
My faith in humans couldn’t be much lower–well, I guess we’ll see about that in a few hours…
We are trained to save lives. We are trained to get up early, rush to work, do what it takes, and get to the scene. We are trained to push through blood/guts/tears/vomit/feces to find the cause. We are trained to decipher the difference between minor symptoms.
We are trained to treat. We are trained to diagnose.
We are trained to respond. We are trained.
But are we trained to take it all home at night and deal with it?
I’m not sure. Sure, CISM is there to help–but you have to reach out for that. De-briefings are standard sometimes… But even then, you have to go to bed at night with everything you’ve done in your head. You have those pictures there. How do we decode that into something to strengthen us–not tear us apart.
Maybe that’s part of what being a seasoned medic means. You learn how to deal. You learn how to cope. Hopefully that isn’t what has turned so many of the medics I think of as “burnt out” or disgruntled away from their love for the field.
Someday I hope to answer that question a little better.
This is going to have to sum up the last few days. Not sure I have it in me to write it all out.
I WANT TO TELL YOU LIES
I want to tell that little boy his Mom will be just fine
I want to tell that dad we got his daughter out in time
I want to tell that wife her husband will be home tonight
I don’t want to tell it like it is, I want to tell them lies
You didn’t put their seat belts on, you feel you killed your kids
I want to say you didn’t … but in a way, you did
You pound your fists into my chest, you’re hurting so inside
I want to say you’ll be OK, I want to tell you lies
You left chemicals within his reach and now it’s in his eyes
I want to say your son will see, not tell you he’ll be blind
You ask me if he’ll be OK, with pleading in your eyes
I want to say that yes he will, I want to tell you lies
I can see you’re crying as your life goes up in smoke
If you’d maintained that smoke alarm, your children may have woke
Don’t grab my arm and ask me if your family is alive
Don’t make me tell you they’re all dead, I want to tell you lies
I want to say she’ll be OK, you didn’t take her life
I hear you say you love her and you’d never hurt your wife
You thought you didn’t drink too much, you thought that you could drive
I don’t want to say how wrong you were, I want to tell you lies
You only left her for a moment, it happens all the time
How could she have fell from there? You thought she couldn’t climb
I want to say her neck’s not broke, that she will be just fine
I don’t want to say she’s paralyzed, I want to tell you lies
I want to tell this teen his buddies didn’t die in vain
Because he thought that it’d be cool to try to beat that train
I don’t want to tell him this will haunt him all his life
I want to say that he’ll forget, I want to tell him lies
You left the cabinet open and your daughter found the gun
Now you want me to undo the damage that’s been done
You tell me she’s your only child, you say she’s only five
I don’t want to say she wont see six, I want to tell you lies
He fell into the pool when you just went to grab the phone
It was only for a second that you left him there alone
If you let the damn phone ring perhaps your boy would be alive
But I don’t want to tell you that, I want to tell you lies
The fact that you were speeding caused that car to overturn
And we couldn’t get them out of there before the whole thing burned
Did they suffer? Yes, they suffered, as they slowly burned alive
But I don’t want to say those words, I want to tell you lies
But I have to tell it like it is, until my shift is through
And then the real lies begin, when I come home to you,
You ask me how my day was, and I say it was just fine
I hope you understand, sometimes, I have to tell you lies
~ Kal The Rebel ~