Let’s hear it for the paramedics.
Who else can stop an allergic reaction in its tracks, splint the leg that is pointing in three directions, put in the IV to start the Morphine – while in a moving vehicle, hydrate the vomiting, control the bleeding, sweeten the hypoglycemic, medicate the seizing, catch the newborn, reassure the worried, C-spine the neck, begin treatments for the asthmatic, intubate the apnec and defibrillate the defibrillating…
….all before they get to the hospital back door.
They deal with dangerous neighborhoods, hostile environments, and hysterical family members in uncontrolled working conditions. People comment on how stressful my job as an ER nurse must be. My job as an ER nurse is nothing compared to what the medics deal with out in the field.
I’ve worked in ERs where the medics were treated with respect and camaraderie as part of our team and I’ve worked in ERs where they can barely get out two sentences before undergoing an interrogation from the staff that would make Gitmo look like a cake walk.
It goes without saying that the ERs that treat the paramedics as team members are the better departments.
I’ve heard horror stories of (and seen in action) nurses treating medics badly, and I don’t understand where the animosity comes from. By the time the medics deliver the patients to the ER, they have a history, first set of vitals, an IV, the initial medications – all of these things are not only beneficial to the patient but it makes the ER intake much easier. They’re just doing their job; nothing there deserves a hostile response.
Sometimes I see patients who should have called 911 but decided against it. Patients with acute MIs, asthmatics, possible CVAs. They are usually worried about causing a fuss, or they are in denial about how severe their condition may be. Often the family will want to call but are afraid of making the patient angry. They are surprised when I mention that their pain or their shortness of breath could have been addressed much faster en route via ambulance.
Utilizing the EMS system is like having the emergency department make a house call – life saving treatment meets you at the front door….
….delivered by friendly, competent, caring professionals.
Here’s a tip o’ the hat, a raise of a glass and a big “thank you” to all the paramedics. You’re the best!