Lame excuses

My employer runs a paramedic program. When I say that the company runs a paramedic program, what I want you to take away from that is that the company supplies a physical location for a paramedic program, and students to fill the chairs.

But, they attached the words “EMS Academy” to it, so maybe it is sorta-kinda-official.

Whatever. It’s a moot point.

My employer runs a paramedic program.

Being one of the company’s Field Training Officers, I get to see the aftermath of the paramedic program, when the newly graduated paramedics spend several shifts riding with me. Some of them aren’t prepared, but most are.

I was having a talk with another FTO, Tony, while at the hospital a few days ago. This must have been early in a shift, because I actually cared about the topic.

Tony mentioned that he rarely sees the same paramedic student more than twice, and that each student does at least twenty rides at our company. He thought it would be wise for a student in our paramedic program to be ‘assigned’ to an FTO for the duration of their preceptor rides.

While we’re on the subject…our program is putting paramedic students on ambulances for their preceptor rides after three months of school. They don’t know how to read a monitor, and they aren’t allowed to perform any ALS interventions. What the hell is the point of riding for twelve hours on an ambulance if you can’t do anything?

Anyway.

Tony made a good point. After ten rides or so, there should be a pretty good rapport between an FTO and a student. They should be able to communicate openly with each other, so the student can get the most out of their classroom time, and their ambulance time. After twenty rides, any bad habits should be corrected, and the FTO can feel confident in his evaluation of the student. Alongside the FTO’s confidence in his evaluation, the course director can feel confident in the evaluations he gets from the FTO.

But instead, the students just ride whenever, and wherever. Rarely more than once with the same paramedic, or even with an FTO.

So Tony and I brought it up to the director of the program.

“Assign each student to an individual FTO. We have twenty-five students, and eighteen FTOs. Surely we can come up with a list of seven competent medics to fill the roster of needed FTOs. Once a student is assigned to an FTO, that student does all of their rides with that FTO. It only makes sense.”

We got a reply:

“Well, that would just be too hard, and we don’t want to make it any harder on the students.”

This is why I don’t care.

Lame-ass excuses.

Classy, mom.

I’m listening to my student talk to the mother of a child who fell and hit her head. Ain’t nothing wrong with the child, but everyone already knows that. We’re going to the crappiest hospital in the county to “get her checked out.”

Of course.

So student is sitting there just chatting away with this lady. Which is quite alright with me, because it gives me the ability to focus on Angry Birds catching up on paperwork.

This guy isn’t burned out yet. I can tell, because he is asking about stuff that I don’t care about.

“So she is your youngest child?”

“Yeah. We have two others. Two boys.”

“What are their names?”

“Well, the oldest boy is named ‘Rex’, because his daddy is Mexican, and ‘Rex’ is Spanish for ‘King.’* The next one is named ‘Prince’ because if you have a king, you have to have a prince, right?”

“Right. Well, I figured you might have named her ‘Princess’ since you already have a King and a Prince.”

“Oh, we didn’t think of that.”

“How did you come up with her name?”

“Oh, I named her ‘London’ because we were watching that fancy wedding on TV when we made her.”

This might be the classiest lady I run across ever in my life time.

 

*It’s not.’Rex’ is Latin, and this lady is an idiot.

Brilliant!

“Medic 4, caller reports a male in his twenties possibly overdosed. PD is en route with you.”

An overdose at the drug-treatment center. This seems ironic.

“Medic 4, update. Caller reports patient is unconscious but breathing. Caller advises come to the intake area.”

“Medic 4 received. Radio, show us on scene.”

Slimm and I make it inside with our equipment, walking with local fireguys. Slimm is still incredulous that Marshawn Lynch didn’t get the ball on those last plays from the goal line.

The scene looks like something out of a sketch comedy: fifteen people running around like chickens with their heads cut off, while some guy is lying unconscious on the floor. There’s two women in the corner, on a floral sofa, crying softly. One appears matronly, and the other could pass for a sister or girlfriend.

“Hey, y’all. What’s going on?” even though it is pretty obvious.

“He came in for <gasp> treatment, but then <pant, pant>, he acted like he was really high, and <gasp> then he went unconscious.”

Fire dudes are taking care of the supine gentleman on the floor. They say something about him breathing 6 times a minute. I see them get a BVM out. The chickens start to run faster.

Slimm looks exasperated. Not about the Lynch thing any more, but the current situation. He turns to the ladies on the sofa; “Ma’am, any idea what he could have taken, or how long ago it might have been?”

His mother tells us between light sobs “He does heroin and oxycontin. He probably took some pills on the way here or something, I don’t know.”

Well this should be easy enough.

“Okay, no big deal. We’ll give him some medicine, make him breathe a little faster, and we’ll get him over to the hospital next door, okay?”

One of the chickens says she will go get their Narcan.

This can’t take long, right?

5 minutes later, she’s still not back. It looks like fire dude’s hand is cramping.

“Any idea where the lady is with that narcan?”

“Oh, she had to go across campus. And then she probably had to get the key from the director”

“You keep the narcan somewhere else?”

“Yeah, we don’t keep it here.”

“You don’t keep narcan in the intake area of a drug treatment center, and instead you keep it more than five minutes away, under lock and key?”

If we had known that, we would have simply left a long time ago. And here I am, trying to save my boss a little money.

They give cops that stuff now days, and I’ve seen addicts with it. But the one place most likely to see an overdose and need the drug, is the one that makes it the most difficult to get to.

Unconscionable

One of my coworkers caused the death of a patient. In layman’s terms, my coworker killed someone. There really isn’t much to discuss, or wiggle-room, or room for doubt.

That’s what happens when you act arrogant and talk a big game around veteran EMTs and Paramedics – your actions are scrutinized just a little bit more.

And it doesn’t help that my coworker doesn’t understand what she did wrong. She tries to defend it, when her actions scream negligence.

We’ve all seen the EKG. We’ve heard the report. We’ve heard the excuses. We know what happened.

A person is dead now because of the negligence of one of my coworkers. Sure, the patient may have died anyways, but my coworker assured that the patient would die.

And that lady still has a job.

And she won’t be fired.

Because she shows up to work on time.

I can’t respect management that allows that to happen.

I won’t respect management.

They are unconscionable.

Detective Doggy

An “83 year old female with back pain and can’t move.” Great. This sounds serous. At least the dispatcher didn’t say “new onset of immobility.”

That’s the catchphrase lately.

We arrive at the residence, a two-story attached townhouse in a nice area. The door is locked. The fire department meets us at the door, and refuses to allow me to kick in the door.

Something about a “hidden key.”

“But she could be dying in there!”

One day, they are going to let me kick in a door, I can just feel it.

So we find this lady, who, sure enough, is 83 years old. And, what do you know, she says her back hurts. And, if you can believe it, she says she can’t move. Dispatch is 3-for-3 on this one. She is laying in bed, with her dog standing next to her. I notice the dog has stairs to get up and down the bed.

I learn the dog is a Bichon Frise’. His name is Hercule. He looks like a fluffy soccer ball. The patient/lady/owner/doggymommy says she is a big fan of Agatha Christie. She thinks I won’t get the reference.

I do, but just don’t care.

“Ma’am, we are going to put our stretcher next to your bed, then we will lift you and move you.”

“Okay. Is someone going to take my dog?”

“We will put him in your bathroom while we move you over, then we can let him out once we get you in the ambulance.”

“No, he needs to go with me.”

“Ma’am, he can’t go with you.”

“But he has separation anxiety.”

I cannot believe that I am actually hearing this shit. My eyes roll so far in the back of my head, I can see my senior prom. Slimm is dumbfounded. The fire guys are scratching their heads.

“He has separation anxiety?”

“Yes. It’s very bad.” She looks at Mr. Poirot, and kind of whispers to us “He probably needs…medication.

“Ma’am, we can’t take the dog.”

“But you have to.”

“Is he a service dog?”

“A what?”

“A service dog. Is he trained to help you with some sort of disability?”

“No, he’s like my son.”

“He’s not coming to the hospital with us.”

“Then I’m not going either.”

Sigh. “But you said you can’t move.”

“I’ll call my daughter, and she will come take Hercule, and then I will call 911 again.”

Sigh. “Sign here.”