A word of advice…

Posted: January 10, 2011 in medical

I am your mostly-friendly, only-slightly bitter, humble neighborhood paramedic.

I work long hours under high stress for mediocre wages.

I’ve done this for 16 years. I suppose I love my job;

I’ve gotten to do some amazing things.

I enjoy saving lives.

It’s more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done.

In this business, seconds count.

Anyway, please make my life and the lives of my colleagues slightly easier. Here are a few helpful suggestions:

1. PULL TO THE LEFT AND STOP & OPEN THE MIDDLE OF BOTH LANES.

I am driving with lights and sirens for a reason and not just because it makes me look cool (though I do admit, it is kind of fun).

Just because I get to weave around you does not mean you can do the same to me.

Please don’t cut me off, drive on oblivious to my presence, or try to sneak through the intersection while I’m trying to clear it.

Don’t get annoyed and cast angry glances and gestures at me.

I’m sorry you’re going to be two minutes late to your manicure appointment.

I promise I’ll make it up to you. Send me your address and I’ll write you an apology.

Hell, just to make sure you know I’m really sorry, I’ll have the six year-old in respiratory arrest I’m transporting write you one, too.

2. PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, BE CLEAR WHERE YOU ARE.

I’m good at finding big landmarks (office buildings, towers, major stores). Houses and smaller places are a bit tougher.

Additionally, people these days are privacy obsessed, and I guess this trend has extended to marking their addresses in the most obscure places.

We have GPS, Map book Guides, and all sorts of other stuff, but it only helps so much.

Have someone flag us down if possible, especially at night.

At the very least, describe your place to the dispatcher. I really hate driving by your house five times blaring my siren looking like a complete dumbass.

3. THINK BEFORE YOU CALL The Emergency Call Center.

It’s a number for EMERGENCIES. Chest pain is an emergency. A major, bloody trauma is an emergency.

A toothache at 4 a.m. is NOT an emergency. Your sick dog is NOT an emergency (though don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, too).

No I’m not a mobile pharmacy dispatched to satisfy your morning narcotic cravings.

Also, please don’t use me for “bum control.” I will not whisk away the smelly homeless person camped out in your entryway just because you call him in as unconscious. Chances are, I’ll wake him up, confirm that he was only sleeping, and let him go about his business. Call the police if you want him arrested for trespassing; better yet, just ask him to skedaddle.

4. I AM A COMPASSIONATE PERSON.

I love people. I love helping people. However, compassion for stupidity is hard to find at three am when you wake me up from a great dream involving Jessica Alba, Sienna Miller, me, and the neighbor’s hot tub. Please be understanding.

5. PLEASE KEEP THE EMOTIONS IN-LINE WITH THE EMERGENCY.

It’s ok to be a little panicky, agitated and emotional during times like this.

Who could ever blame you? But please, don’t start hyperventilating and pass out over a sprained ankle…especially if you are just the bystander.

6. I DO ALL I CAN FOR EVERY PATIENT DURING EVERY CALL EVERY TIME.

I am a medical professional, believe it or not. I’m not an idiot. I have my honours degree,  and many many hours of further continuous training. I run over 2000 Emergency calls a year, We have protocols to follow. If everything I can do is not enough, sorry. Believe me, I’m frustrated, too; I wish I could do more.

7. TO THE IDIOTS WHO GET INTO DRUNKEN FIGHTS AFTER LAST CALL.

There is no more need to talk all big and tough, cursing and puffing your chest out, once you’re in the back of the ambulance under my care.

I’m treating you most likely because YOU SUCK AT FIGHTING. Who are you kidding; you’re not so tough.

Your improvised Kung Fu really wasn’t a challenge for the 150 kg. bouncer. Also, FYI, I bench over 120 kg, I’m trained in Krav Magra, I’m sober, and I’m wearing steel-toed combat boots. I really don’t think your inebriated, chain-smoking ass could take me.

So shut up, stop cursing, and hold still while I try to patch up what’s left of your face.

What, the alcohol pad stings? Ahh shame, What happened to the tough guy who thought he could beat up the world a few minutes ago?

8. BE NICE, RESPECTFUL, AND POLITE TO ME,

and I’ll be the same. The meaner you are to me, the larger the needle I use to start your IV.

9. IF POSSIBLE PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE TO VOMIT.

I hate puke. I hate the smell, look, and pretty much everything else about puke. Please let me get you a vomit bucket. Better yet, if you really must vomit, please direct it towards the unhelpful, mean, or rude bystanders on scene. I’ll be more than happy to help you do this.

10. TO THE OBLIVIOUS OFFICE WORKERS SQUEEZING THEIR WAY ON TO AN ELEVATOR WHILE I’M WITH A PATIENT.

I don’t care if you only need to go a couple of floors. While you think this may only cause a few seconds of delay, honestly, it takes far less time for me to shove your ass out of the car. I’m not here pounding on this patient’s chest for my own entertainment.

You can wait for the next one.

11. STOP ASKING ME ABOUT THE WORST THING I’VE EVER SEEN, DEAD PEOPLE STORIES, OR OTHER DISTURBING :

We all have repressed memories, and I work especially hard at repressing many of mine.

I really don’t like talking about death. I got into this business to save lives, not to kill people. Please satisfy your morbidity somewhere else.

Please help me help you. Thank you. And please remember to pull over for lights and sirens.

Oh..and BUCKLE THOSE KIDS IN!

 

(adapted from the original sent from a colleague in the United States)

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Comments
  1. shaun ilderton says:

    Awesome brother.
    Let me know if u ever in durban, we’ll go visit some lodge’s

  2. carldem says:

    thank you my Brother, I will most certainly do so. Same goes to you if you are unfortunate enough to be sent to JHB for whatever reason, we will make your visit more worthwhile.

  3. blackhuff says:

    Great entry. Forwared it to my friends. Such a must know entry for all to read.

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