November 4, 2005, 1:56 am

Paramedics, Ya Gotta Love ‘Em!

Well, the doctor might not be calling on houses these days, but a quick phone call can get health care right to your door in minutes.

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!


  • Kim–Would you ever consider putting together a Lulu book? ( I’d buy it!


  • Dr. Deborah Serani

    November 4, 2005 at 4:20 pm

    I love your blog, and your posts are always such a good read. But where do you find these great pictures? They are always such a fabulous visual treat!


  • kenju

    November 4, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    Kim, I have never had the occasion to need paramedics/emts (thank God). But I have watched a lot of showson TV about them and not only are they wonderful to do what they do, they are often in danger because of it. I salute them too!

  • Anonymous

    November 4, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    Hmmm, there is no question in my mind that paramedics, EMTs and military medics do a fantastic job in the most deplorable conditions. (Did I mention I work in Canada…nothing like an extrication at 40 below, when the paramedic is at the same risk of cold injury as the patient). I’m always struck by how patients remember the names of their paramedics (and not necessarily their nurses!).

    Thanks for the great post Kim, you always help my perspective!

    Junior ER-RN

  • Third Degree Nurse

    November 6, 2005 at 3:40 am

    They have ALL my respect, too.

    Ditto on the book idea, Kim. I love your blog. Nothing speaks like experience and I would say you have some of that.:)

  • Judy

    November 8, 2005 at 2:28 pm

    I teach first aid to kids — mostly Cub Scouts. One of the things I teach them is that there IS a time to disobey mom, dad, grandma, babysitter, whoever.

    I tell the kids that if THEY think someone needs 911, to just call and let the medics sort things out.

    To my delight, every time I tell the kids to do that, there’s an adult in the audience who tells them he or she is here to talk to them because someone had the courage to call 911 over their protests.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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