Saturday, April 26, 2008
Revelations from Billings, Montana
This revelation may not be huge, but it is certainly important: people watch what we do and make opinions based on it.
While riding with Billings, Montana Fire I shot a call for a "man down." Sure enough he was down and had an altered mental status. I am proud to say that this patient received competent medical care and compassionate personal care. I am even happier to note the compassionate personal care because, as you will note in the photos, we were being watched. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
As I was photographing I saw three people walking toward us. Musicians, dressed for a concert, carrying instruments and music stands. They had to move into the street to get around the emergency scene.
As I changed position to continue my photography I saw the people watching from inside the window.
Each of these people were on the outside looking in. They will judge everyone in EMS by the way the Billings FD and AMR treated this patient. At that moment it doesn't matter if the patient is a homeless person or the mayor of Billings. Inappropriate jokes, laughing, sloppy or inattentive care, or the appearance of indifference erases all prior good done by EMS providers in the past. You are their lasting memory of EMS providers.
The interpersonal component of this is most important but I would be negligent in not noting that the people watching you provide care may one day in the future be in a voting booth in a position to deny your raise or new station.
The providers on this call passed the bystander opinion test. Do you?