Monday, August 13, 2007

NAEMT (again)

You may recall that I recently commented that NAEMT was moving in the right direction.

Dan Gerard doesn't seem to be in agreement with this (at least in some regards). His blog gives his reasons for this. I'll let you read those and make your own determination.

I will say that, if true, comments by Ken Bouvier about the numbers of people voting is disruptive and seems to take remove some level of credibility from the process. It is also disturbing that some people received three ballots.

When I ran for president of NAEMSE a few years back several people called me alleging election manipulation at the NAEMSE office. (This is not sour grapes, by the way). It is an example of how organizations can lose credibility--both NAEMSE and NAEMT. And is in fact one difference between a powerful membership organization and a social club for a chosen few.

I have respect for Jerry, Ken and Dan. But it is now time to make this right, NAEMT. Get your records in order, create visible policies that prevent manipulation and walk the walk of the powerful membership organization. Not the social club image you appear to be trying to shed.

Aren't you glad you don't have Orland Park's trustees?

I am continuing my "Aren't you glad you don't work in..." feature which highlights cluelessness, ineptitude or general bizarre behavior by municipalities toward those providing EMS. This week we'll talk about Orland Park, Illinois trustees.

The Orland Park Star printed an interesting article in reference to fire response to medical emergencies.

Orland Park sends an engine company if one is closer than an ambulance. This is pretty common practice and makes sense. In fact the Orland Park FD has an interesting web site explaining their "4 personnel in 5 minutes" benchmark. The site includes this video explaining their services and policy.

It seems the trustees don't get it. For example, trustee Kathy Fenton is quoted as saying:

"I live in the area of station five," Trustee Kathy Fenton said. "If we call for an ambulance, we get a fire engine, and if someone has to go to the hospital, we wait there for an ambulance to come take them to a hospital. I don't understand."

Let me see if I get this right. It is better to wait alone, without medical care, until the ambulance arrives?

Trustee Ed Schussler adds meaningful dialogue (NOT!)

"I think it's an accident waiting to happen when you have these big fire trucks. If they get into an accident with a vehicle, the citizens in the vehicle are going to lose," Schussler said.

Orland Park is doing the right thing for their citizens with the right attitude and getting their chops busted by politicos who just don't understand.

I originally thought that the fire department may not have educated their trustees properly. I did see that it was an acting chief addressing the group. But after seeing Orland Park's web site it doesn't seem education is the issue.

Perhaps the only thing that can fix this is the next election.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Where have I been this week? Scrub club camp

Yes, Scrub Club camp. I ran a week-long camp for nine 11-14 year old kids interested in health careers.

We toured fire stations and hospitals, learned first aid and CPR and a experienced a variety of other activities over 5 days. The photo is at the end of the first day. I sent them home to their parents after bandaging practice. As you can see they practiced quite vigorously.

A great experience for all--including me. But I think I'll take a year off before doing this again!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

EMS: Public Safety or Emergency Medicine?

A very interesting article with reader comments has been posted at

This is part of a discussion that has been buzzing around EMS stations and conferences for some time: Is EMS part of public safety or health care/emergency medicine?

In short, we provide care which is definitely in a health care realm. We bring patients to hospitals. Yet we provide this care in the field dressed like and alongside public safety personnel (police, fire).

The fact that is apparent to most of us is that we don't seem to fit squarely in either place--nor do we feel we get the respect (or pay) that our public safety counterparts do.

This affects all of us in EMS. I strongly encourage you to read the JEMS article and comments. While I am not sure the "Where does EMS fit?" issue is singularly tied to EMS thriving as a profession, it is a key issue today.

Where do you think EMS belongs?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Some abuse the system...others don't

This story in the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine tells a story of someone who is definitely not a system abuser.

It seems this 72-year-old woman was ambushed by her daughter with a hatchet. The woman then drove herself to the hospital.

Quite the contradiction to the 3:00 am taxi ride isn't it? Of course I suspect that the mother was trying to protect her daughter from arrest and left the scene to keep the police out of the picture.

Oh the places I could take this post. I'll limit it to two:

Be aware of elder abuse. It is on the rise (as is suicide in the geriatric population). We normally dismiss violence and suicide as a young person thing. Wrong.


Assess each patient as if it was the first time you saw them.

I was born and raised in Upstate, NY. We had quite a few frequent flyers at all times of the day and night. Maine is a different story. People here grow old and tough. I have seen twice the number of people (often 80+ years of age) NOT call EMS so they don't bother the "boys" on the ambulance (they don't know "girls" can do this kind of work). Raging chest pain, injuries. Hatchet attacks. Some need EMS and don't call for a variety of reasons.

In EMS there is always a story.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

State of the blog

Things are good at the Emergency Care blog. In July there were 1,391 page views done over 802 visits. Perhaps most importantly, an average of 8 minutes (actually 8:08) was spent on the site.

July was a big month. There was much news to note and issues to discuss ranging from the fire service "white paper" to the funeral of Allan Parsons to the potential for an AMR strike.

By other blog standards things have also gone well. Comments are on the upswing. Samantha did respond (a June post) and said that after she finished nursing school she would stay in EMS--although likely on a part time basis. WyoSkiBum stopped by with a humorous response. The bulk of the messages centered around the photos and comments on Allan Parson's funeral.

I have found that several sites have linked to my blog. Thanks to blueridgemedic and paramedic-network-news for the links. If there are more I haven't caught please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by. Please come back, comment, suggest other stories. I'm looking to make August a big month--but hopefully a safer month for those of us in the EMS business.