Humor in EMS is where you find it. Often it’s at the expense of co workers, or even patients. Never in front of the patients of course, but the truth is that much of what we do in EMS (and the ER is the same) is to mitigate the consequences of the folly of our patients. Enough PC explanation on with the show.
We have had a fairly large influx of new EMTs over the past couple of years. Many of them have little actual street experience, and a couple have NO street experience at all. Kind of scary considering what we do and what a typical EMT course is like.
Last night was overdose night. The first one was a married couple, newlyweds in fact, who overdosed on Fentanyl (a narcotic) and Southern Comfort. Oh and the wife used Methadone (not hers). As well. She was out and I do mean out. Unconscious, not breathing. One of the BLS guys was using his handy dandy Bag Valve Mask Resuscitator (BVM) to ventilate the patient, while his partner moved a mountain of laundry so we could put the patient on the floor. Once the laundry was done and the patient moved, I told the EMT to continue with his Day 2 activities while we got the Narcan ready.
“Yeah, Day 2 of EMT class, where you learned CPR.”
My partner just looked at me in that confused way of his. He does that a lot these days.
The EMT decided to put an oral airway into the patient’s mouth, which he probably should have done a bit earlier, but whatever. The effect was immediate and dramatic. The patient woke up, and sat up with her arms out in front of her like a Zombie. She of course spat out the oral airway and proved that her return to the land of the living was completed by immediately concocting a lie about what happened. I forget what the lie was, but does it really matter? The lies are all the same, that is unbelievable. And stupidly so.
The first EMT’s partner was standing there, completely mystified as to what happened. Again, new guy, little experience. We (well actually his partner) had brought the patient back from the seeming dead, which is of course very dramatic. I told him it was time for a Day 5, but he wasn’t sure what I was talking about. So, I asked him what he learned about on Day 5 of EMT school and he told me “Loads, Lifts, and Carries”. Which was correct, so I suggested that he get the stair chair ready so we could move the patient down to the ambulance. Which he did and we did and the patient went to the hospital to be “observed” by the ER staff until the drugs wore off.
Later in the shift we were called by a different BLS crew to a street corner where they had found a, ahem, lady of the night passed out. She too had decided to stop breathing and the syringe stuck in her Frederick’s of Hollywood brassiere was a key tipoff to what the problem was. When we arrived, one EMT was doing a Day 2 and his partner was taking vital signs. So, continuing the trend, I asked him what the Day 3 was.
“What did you learn on Day 3 of EMT school?”
“OK, what was her Day 3?”
“Oh BP 132/76, pulse was 100.”
See? It’s pretty simple.
Then of course it was time for a Day 6. “Ambulance operations and patient transport”.
Who says EMS is difficult?
I think I might have to expand on this program!