Home Blog Page 4

Not So Fast There, Sonny


Sitting at the airport, minding my own business when there was an overhead announcement. It seems that the flight that was to board ahead of us had a mechanical problem. Passengers will be delayed.

Too bad for them. I went back to my coffee and checking email.

New announcement. Their flight had been cancelled because the planed couldn’t be fixed and there weren’t any spare planes hanging around.

Very bad for them. They were all directed to come to the customer service desk and be rebooked. The stampede headed over and started the process.

At the risk of wrong speak, I have to say that there were five hard working airline staff was trying to get people  onto new flights without undue delay. One of the five had, shall we say, limited ability to speak English clearly. Want to guess which one was on the intercom making announcements?

A Chinese couple behind me was rolling their eyes at how bad he spoke English. They spoke both English and a Chinese dialect flawlessly. Every time this guy made an announcement, people rolled their eyes and asked each other what was said.

But I digress.

I was waiting for my flight to start boarding when my phone alerted me to a text message. Looking down at the phone I read, “This is to inform you that we took your plane to satisfy the other fliers and you are now screwed.” That’s not exactly what was said, but it was definitely the message. Now it was my turn to go up to the customer service counter and find out WTF was going on.

Then, got another text message that said, “We rebooked you for a later, direct flight.” That will only screw up my arrangement with Ambulance Driver who is picking me up in Dallas. I clicked on the link and saw what my boarding order. This that “Want to get Away” airline that lets you pick your own seat. The trick is to get there early enough so that you actually get to sit inside the airplane. I pay the $15.00  for the privilege of checking in early and getting a good seat. My original boarding order was A26, which is prime seat selecting territory. My new boarding order was C39. As they say, “C” stands “Center Seat”, usually between two smelly people. And the one closest to the window has to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.

So, I went up to the counter and talked to the nice lady. She explained that they don’t have a “waiver” function for their business flier upgrade, so I’d have to fork over $40.00. She did, however give me a $100.00 voucher for a future cancelled flight. I kid about that, part.

So, I decided to call the customer service line for the airline and see if they can refund my feel. Which is where I sit as I type this. The nice young lady wasn’t sure she had a “waiver” key either. I might have to email customer service.

I’m on ignore hold while she checks with someone.

She’s back and busy clicking away on her keyboard.

The verdict is…

They refunded the upgrade fee.

All in all, I did okay on this. Although I still have to sit in the airport for four more hours.

Adventures in travel.


I’m A Traveling Man


I’m off to the Dallas for the NRA Annual Meetings. I’ll be posting from there with information on new gun gear, the speeches, and whatever else pops into my mind.

After that, it’s off to Austin for some family time with Mrs. EMS Artifact and our lovely daughter. As a bonus, we get to meet her new beau. She seems quite taken with him and I’m happy for her. Still the Dad in me wants to see what he’s all about since it’s only been a couple of months since they met and started going out.

Her ever protective older brother wants a 2,000 word essay from him on the 2016 Presidential election before he approves. He’s afraid that she’ll marry a Democrat.

I have some posts floating around in my head, but haven’t had time to sit down and pound them out on the computer.

Upcoming topics,

What’s Changed in EMS.

The Second Most Dangerous Thing in EMS

EMS Artifact versus the Forsythia, Part II

Some Days I Just Want To Bang My Head On My Desk

Plus, I’m sure I’ll post something about current events and stupidity in the world in general.

Until then, a musical interlude.

Not A Victim, A Hero


Early in the morning James Shaw Jr. was sitting in a Waffle House restaurant when a criminal, who shouldn’t have had a gun, started shooting patrons. Ultimately four people were killed and others injured.

Mr. Shaw reacted instinctively and wrestled the rifle away from the shooter. He then dragged the shooter outside where they separated and each went in a different direction.

He doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but then heroes never do. What he did was save several lives, even if that wasn’t his plan when everything started. That’s where the instinctive part comes into play.

He doesn’t seem to have had a plan, he just saw what needed to be done and did it.

Man fought gunman: He ‘was going to have to work to kill me’

The man who wrestled the gun away from the Waffle House shooting suspect in Tennessee said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would “have to work to kill me.”

Police are calling James Shaw Jr. a hero for saving lives in the busy restaurant, but the 29-year-old Nashville resident said he only made a split-second decision to challenge the shooter and called it a “selfish” act to avoid being killed.

Selfish? Maybe, but I wouldn’t call it that. I’d call it heroic, even if Mr. Shaw doesn’t see himself that way.

When Shaw’s father went to visit him in the hospital before he was released, he had one piece of advice for his son: “Don’t do that again.”

“I take no pride in him charging a loaded gun,” James Shaw Sr. said. “I do take pride in him helping save the lives of other people.”

After the son’s release from the hospital, the family went to church together.

The Shaws, and all of us, have something to be thankful for.

Amateur Gun Smithing


I’ll start this post on with one of those “Don’t try this at home” warnings. At least don’t try this at home and blame me if something should go wrong.

As all but the most casual reader of this blog will know, I have a fondness for the Smith and Wesson semi automatic pistols. Not the newer polymer framed reliable but bland M&P guns, but the older all metal Third Generation pistols.

Starting in the late 1980s, these were among the first wave of semi automatic pistols that replaced revolvers in many law enforcement agencies.

They are well designed, well built, utterly reliable, and accurate. Oh, and expensive. By the mid 1990s, Glock semi automatics had started to displace S&W weapons in police holsters. Glocks are reliable, accurate (for the most part), and well built. I don’t think that they are particularly well designed since they have a combination of no magazine safety and require the trigger to be pulled in order to field strip.

The biggest advantage of Glock was cost. The injection molded receiver (frame) of the Glock is far less expensive to manufacture and can be made in less time. As a result a lot more Glock frames can be produced in a work day than can metal frames.

That is despite the fact that S&W owns the most CNC machines on the east coast. In the days when they offered factory tours I went often and always marveled at the ability of the factory to turn out lots of frames in a relatively short time. The problem is that demand for 1911 pattern pistols, revolvers, and AR15 pattern rifles takes up a lot of machine time. Cost is less of a an issue for those items because the target market is different and likely smaller.

Law enforcement firearm sales are a huge market and very competitive. This drove S&W to develop polymer frame pistols. I’ll let the interested reader research that, including some legal unpleasantness with Glock.

Commercial sales of the Third Generation semi autos pretty much ended in 2006. There were still some available in the supply chain, but for the most part they were being phased out. A few larger LE agencies retained their pistols and S&W even made some for those client agencies who insisted on metal over plastic.

Alas, those days are coming to an end as agencies such as NYPD, CHP, RCMP, and others are replacing their pistols with polymer framed guns.

The good news in all of this, at least for those in most of the country, is that surplus pistols are starting to show up at reasonable prices. These guns have been well maintained by certified armorers, and are carried a lot, but shot very little. If you are interested in one, now might be a good time to buy.

All which falls into the “I told you that, so I can tell you this.”, category.

The guns are relatively easy to work on as long as you have a minimal set of mechanical skills and some quality tools. As it happens, I have both, especially the minimal set of mechanical skills.

The subject of today’s post is the S&W 457, which was part of the “Value Series” of semi automatics. These were an attempt by S&W to produce a less expensive pistol while retaining the all metal design. There were a variety of models, some of which were variations of existing designs. The 457 was different in that there was really no direct analog in the regular series of guns.

The 457 is a seven shot .45ACP semi automatic with an alloy frame. It came in a few different variations. The early guns were alloy frame with carbon steel slide. Then came the 457S with a silver colored frame and stainless steel slide. There were some made in Double Action Only (DAO) configuration, but they are rare and never seem to come up for sale.

Like all Third Generation guns, they are reliable, accurate, well designed, and easy to shoot well.

I was never a big fan of the .45ACP, but a friend convinced me that I should have one. Having no interest in 1911 pattern guns, but a lot of interest Third Generation pistols I started looking for a compact version. Which lead me to the 457. I bought one, shot it, and found it as accurate and easy to shoot as my 9mm guns. I don’t carry it much, but it’s there if the mood or need strikes me.

I’ve been looking for a stainless version, but on the rare occasions when they show up, the prices are outside of the reasonable range.

A couple of months ago while searching for a stainless gun, I came upon a black alloy version for a very reasonable price. I wasted no time buying it. I had no particular reason for that, but since the price was so good, I didn’t need one.

After I got it home, I started to think. Thinking is dangerous.

Since I’ve never seen a DAO version, let alone one for sale, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see if I could convert one.

I asked around on a couple of shooting forums and found someone who gave me advice on how to do a conversion. In fact, this was how S&W modified the gun for customers who wanted it.

I went shopping on Ebay and bought some parts so I could keep the original parts in order restore the gun to original condition.

The parts needed are a hammer, sear (should be changed as a set), and firing pin retainer. That firing pin retainer replaces the safety/decocker on the Traditional Double Action (TDA) guns.

That is required to make the conversion work is filing down the single action notch on the hammer. This is done slowly, by hand, until the notch is gone and the bearing surface is smooth. Not a great picture, but I am NOT taking this apart again.

Reassembly is not difficult, but it is a bit fiddly. It helps if you have three hands or a couple of assembly aids. I don’t have three hands and only found out about the assembly aids after I was all done.

Then the frame is reassembled with the new trigger and sear. The safety/decocker is then removed and replaced with the firing pin retainer. For good measure I cleaned out the firing pin channel and put in a new firing pin spring, along with a main spring.

Here is the result. The silver colored part is the firing pin retainer. Carbon steel ones are supposed to exist somewhere, but no one has ever seen one for sale.

Once everything was back together, it was off to the range for some testing.

Staring out with just a single round loading I test fired. Success! The gun went bang when expected, the shot hit the target where it should, and the slide cycled properly. Testing continued with two and then three rounds. After that, I shot a fifty round box of range fodder.

The results were… acceptable.

A couple of things to note with the DAO trigger pull. It’s long, very long. Which is how the double action trigger pull is be design. I’m used to the first round trigger pull being long, but it took some time to get used to the long trigger pull every time. Which is why some shots weren’t exactly where I intended them to be.

The factory DAO guns have a prestaged hammer to shorten the trigger pull, but the ones that were originally designed as TDA don’t. At least that’s what other people who have done this conversion tell me.

After a bit of practice, the large hole in the center of the target appeared, which is what I wanted to happen.

The other thing is that after a while, that long trigger pull started to take a toll on my forearm muscles. That’s a range problem and if I should ever have to use this gun to defend my life the statistics tell me that I’ll fire about 3.5 rounds.

If I can ever find a stainless version of the 457, I expect to move the conversion parts to that and sell off one of the black guns.

I’ll close with the previous disclaimer. Don’t attempt this unless you’re comfortable with taking firearms apart. There are some very useful videos on Youtube, at least for now. Also, be sure to keep the original parts in case you ever want to revert the gun back to original configuration.

Oh, if you should find yourself with the opportunity to buy a S&W Third Generation gun, be careful. They tend to be addictive.


EMS Artifact Versus The Forsythia


It’s been busy here at EMS Artifact Galactic HQ. The company I work for has picked up some new client agencies. That means that in addition to work with my regular clients, I’m doing introductory classes for a new client. Plus I’m doing my regular periodic reviews for all three of my existing clients.

In addition, my boss wants to lighten his work load, so he has asked me to pick up an existing client. This one is pretty easy as they do a good job with their EMS responses.

All of that means that I’ve been working a lot of hours and have had less time to blog. I have a couple of posts circulating in my head, and I’ll get them out as soon as I have time.

In the meantime, here is a post about nothing to do with firearms, EMS, politics, or much of anything else.

Forsythia is a deciduous shrub with upward and arching shoots that may be 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Forsythia is a popular cultivated plant that is used often in landscapes. Native to China, you can find forsythia throughout much of the northeastern US and Canada.

So says the online guide to Forsythia that I read in preparation for this post. “Native to China” means, at least to me that Forsythia is an invasive species that displaces native flora.

This article When Forsythia Becomes a Ground Cover describes the issue thusly.

Yes, forsythia is ‘easy to grow’; a phrase that has many meanings. But the survival of my specimen is a clue to what’s going on with Jason’s plants in Kettering: “layering”. Some plants can be propagated simply by pressing one of their branches down against the soil. Sometimes you need to put a rock on top to keep the soil contact, but with forsythia—and tomatoes—a branch that droops down low enough will do this naturally.

That’s pretty much it. Forsythia does well and can be contained if it’s pruned back on a regular basis. Guess who never knew that and before he knew it, had an infestation of ground covering, flowering, shrubbery.

If you came here from Facebook, the featured image you saw there is a “well pruned” Forsythia bush. Which looks like Harpo Marx’s hair style.

If you look at the picture above, the large patch of bare earth is where the Forsythia was up until recently. Back when we bought the house thirty-eight years ago, that was all grass. In fact, up until a few years ago, that was all grass. Then, seemingly while my back was momentarily turned, Forsythia moved and and supplanted the grass. I cut it back last year, but made the rookie mistake of not digging out the roots. The roots of the Forsythia, like roots of all plants and tree, suck up water and other nutrients from the ground. In the case of the Forsythia, they spread out horizontally more than vertically. Which means that you have to dig a big hole around the stumps of the cut of plants to get the roots out.

If you don’t get the roots out, the plants grow back. Just as if you don’t get all of a cancer out, it will grow back. That’s a good analogy, I think.

I first started cutting about three weeks ago, between rain storms. Then, about a week went by before I could get back to the job. At that point, to my horror, I discovered that shoots were sprouting up out of the recently cut branches. Soooo, I decided that the roots needed to be dug up.

The problem being that the larger the plant, the deeper and wider the roots.

Here is the biggest of the stumps which I dug out of the yard. The stump is partially hidden by the two big rocks I had to dig out to get at the roots. The trash bags give an indication of the size of the stump/root bundle. That one stump took about an hour of digging with a shovel and pick axe.

I put the big hole to use as a burn pit over the past weekend. Town burn permit in hand, I spent five hours on Saturday and six hours one Sunday chopping the previously cut Forsythia branches, along with some thick as an axe handle things  with 1/2″ thorns on them. That was just an extra bonus to the fun. I then cheerfully consigned them to the fire pit and watched with glee as they burned.

For all the world, my arms look like a someone who made an attempt to cut my wrists.

While doing all of that, I discovered some of the roots that I thought that I had dug out had left little bits behind. Guess what started to regrow? Which meant that I had to spend some more shovel time rooting out roots. Plus I found more under the leaves that had gathered on the edges of the yard.

During all of this my neighbor came over a couple of times to look at my handiwork. I get along very well with him and his lovely wife. I was a bit concerned that they might not like that I had strayed about five feet into their yard. Nope, no problem, although they did invite me to continue as far into their yard as I wanted. I politely declined.

I’m still not done with this battle. I have one more big stump/root section to dig out. Then that part has to go out into the deep woods behind the house. Where I have no doubt that they will take root.

Once that’s done, I’ll fill in the fire pit, spread some loam around, and churn it all up with my handy roto tiller. Then comes the grass seed and fertilizer. Hopefully, the grass will grow in. Then I’ll have to make sure to cut the Forsythia back.

Because I know that the Forsythia isn’t defeated, it’s just regrouping.

Hoist on His Own Petard


The saying in the title goes back to medieval times when unfortunate souls who were intending to blow up their enemies blew themselves up instead.

A Petard was a small explosive used for breaching doors or gates of fortifications. The Petard was the original shaped charge and the term was used by the British military as late as World War II.

There are two potential problems with Petards and other explosives. First, they might not go off when intended. Second, and worse, they might go off when NOT intended. Which is where the term came from. It’s actually attributed to Shakespeare and he meant it figuratively, not literally.

Which brings us to the late Benjamin Morrow.

Wisconsin Man Killed in Home Blast Had White Supremacist Materials, Stash of TATP and Guns

A search warrant filed in last month’s explosion of an apparent home explosives laboratory at a Beaver Dam, Wis., apartment complex revealed that the suspect was tinkering with TATP, an explosive used in several terrorist attacks.

“Tinkering” is not what I’d think people would do when mixing TATP, which is a very unstable explosive concoction. Richard Reid aka the “Shoe Bomber” injured himself when is TATP didn’t explode, but did cause serious burns to his nether regions. Other terrorists have been more successful, but a good number (and I do mean good) have detonated themselves when they didn’t get the mix just right.

The document, filed March 9 in Dodge County (Wis.) Circuit Court, also indicated that Benjamin Morrow was interested in or adhered to white supremacist ideology.

No details on exactly what “white supremacist” documents were found or that the late Mr. Morrow adhered to him. For all we know, he could have been doing research on “white supremacists” to help with development of his weapons. About ten years back, I was searching for information on home made target stands. The best plans I found were on a Neo Nazi website. I copied the plans, deleted as much of the history of my visit, and took a long shower afterwards. Those people are whacked.

No doubt if someone decided to do an in depth search of my browsing history, they could probably find out that I was there. Nothing ever goes away on the Internet. Which would not mean that I was Neo Nazi.

I’ll stick in one more quote and encourage my readers to go to the link and read more about this sad story. Sad not so much because Mr. Morrow killed himself. It’s sad that the entire building had to be destroyed and the occupants dispossessed.

Also found were rifle accessories, “8 handgun mags, 2 rifle mags, cordless drill, rifle case, rifle scope, ballistic helmet and vest, 680 rounds of 5..56 ammo, 110 rounds of 223 ammo, 1379 9mm, 3 loaded mags with 40 9mm rounds, bottle of BBs, pistol case, 20 rounds of 308 ammo, 3 bottle of calcium chloride” and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

Last time I checked, my cordless drill was not a rifle accessory. I guess it’s the intent, not the actual inanimate device that’s important. The police found at least one handgun, one rifle, and some ammunition. Not really a lot of ammunition if one is a serious shooter. Actually about two days worth for many people.

Police were also concerned about possible co conspirators, but none have been found nor presumably were there remains in the apartment that could not be identified.

I’ll also add that Mr. Morrow may have used some videos on YouTube to help him with his experiments in Kaboomery. Which, if you go to the web site you’ll still find available. Conservative views not okay, but how to videos to make very dangerous explosives are just fine.

We’ll never know what Mr. Morrow might have been up to or why. Which won’t stop some of the media from jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

The moral of the story here is don’t play with volatile explosives. Seriously, not good can come of this. Other than his family, I don’t know that many people will really be sad that Mr. Morrow has shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s just fortunate that he didn’t take anyone else with him and he never got to carry out whatever plan he had in mind.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Heinlein,

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”


From the Land of Gun and Knife Control


London Mayor Sadiq Khan targets knives as murder rate spikes: ‘There is never a reason to carry a knife’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a tough crackdown on knives Sunday as the city reels from a spike in stabbings that have led its number of homicides to top New York City’s for two straight months.

He tweeted: “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

The tweet also included an action plan to boost police power and prevent future violence.

All of this because there has been a spike in stabbing homicides since the start of the year. Apparently, unlike what the world was promised, outlawing firearms has not reduced or slowed crime.

A friend of mine who lives and works in London (in EMS), this is due to a spike in gang activity. Most gangs over there, like most gangs over here, engage in various illegal activities. Since those activities are lucrative, the gangs are quite protective of their territories.

Gangs are really tribes, although we don’t call them that for reasons that are somewhat beyond me. Like all tribes, they see other tribes as potential enemies. So, when one gang trespasses on the territory of another, warfare ensues.

It doesn’t matter if they use guns, knives, machetes (really big knives), bats, chains, or tires filled with gasoline. It’s not the weapon, it’s the intent.

Mayor Khan likely knows that. His order is not mean to curb violence, it’s meant to placate nervous residents of London. Who, for the most part, are not likely to be victims of this sort of violence.

For a good chunk of this year, London has had a murder rate greater than that of New York City. Where guns are almost as hard to get as in England. The difference being that in free America guns are much easier to get and some of those guns make their way into New York City. Where they are used to commit crimes in furtherance of committing other crimes.

Speaking of New York City, one must not forget that the first gun control law in the norther parts of the United States was passed to protect criminals from honest citizens. The criminals didn’t like the fact that honest citizens were using guns to shoot criminals and stop criminal activity. Since the criminals had friends in the city and the state legislature, they petitioned for a law to make it harder for their intended victims to protect themselves.

Look it up if you think I’m kidding.

Back in London, I expect that Mayor Khan will next declare stronger regulations on rental cars and trucks since we’ve seen several terrorist attacks committed using rental vehicles as weapons. “No one has the need to drive a rental lorry in London.”

Speaking of that bastion of gun control,

De Blasio aide busted with gun in car

This de Blasio administration official set one heckuva bad example for the teens she was hired to keep out of jail.

Reagan Stevens, a deputy director in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and two young men were arrested for illegal weapons possession while sitting in a double-parked car near the scene of a Saturday night shooting in Queens, cops said.

A loaded, 9-mm. semiautomatic pistol with its serial number defaced was hidden in the car’s glove box, and there was a spent shell casing on the floor near Stevens’ feet in the rear of 2002 dark-red Infiniti SUV, law-enforcement sources said.

A gun with it’s serial number defaced is a pretty serious crime in and of itself. Add to that the likelihood that no one in the car has a permit to possess, let alone carry, a pistol in New York City. Those are two serious crimes.

Then there is this little matter,

The trio’s arrest followed a burst of five gunshots that activated an NYPD “ShotSpotter” device in Jamaica at 9:42 p.m. Saturday, sources said.

The listening device pinpointed the shooting at 174th Street and 109th Avenue, and private surveillance video captured the muzzle flashes of five shots fired from the Infiniti, sources said.

Love that Shot Spotter!

BTW, that makes a total of eight rounds, another violation of New York law.

One the other hand Reagan’s mother and step dad are both judges in New York City. I have little doubt that evidence will get lost or there will be some sort of procedural error that will result in the dismissal of the charges.

Then Reagan will go back to her $90,000.00 a year job in Mayor DiBlasio’s office. Where she helps to ensure that troubled  yutes don’t go to prison until they are at least 18.

Thus has it ever been in New York City, thus will it ever be.

Just remember that if law abiding citizens agree to give up their weapons and right to self defense, all will be well. I’m just not sure for whom.

High Tech or Just a Gimmick


An ambulance company in Massachusetts is using Amazon Echo in an attempt to improve the care it’s EMTs and paramedics give to patients.

Here is a YouTube video that outlines what they are doing.

The idea is that the crew can ask Alexa about protocols and medical information various medical problems.

The spokesman for Brewster points out that the protocols are about 300 pages long. This is true, but a look at the Massachusetts protocols shows that they are broken down into several fairly simple sections.

It’s nice to have a reference and I keep a copy of my state’s protocols on my laptop and Smart Phone for reference purposes when I’m reviewing a case with one of my clients.

Mostly, I use that to confirm what I already know. What I know is based not only on my 35 years of initial and continuing education, but also my experience as a field provider.

Memorizing protocols, medication information, signs and symptoms, is part of what makes a paramedic a clinician. It’s easy, or at least should be, although somewhat tedious to memorize all of that information. The harder part is synthesizing that plus what you see before you (the patient) into a diagnosis and treatment plan.

I don’t know if this application will help that process. The problem, at least from what I see in my day to day Quality Improvement efforts is that newer paramedics just don’t see enough patients to garner the necessary experience to make good judgements.

Ironically, I think that there are too many paramedics out there in the world. Because there are more paramedics than patients that are actually ill enough to need paramedics, there is a serious lack of valid experience.

I’ve seen paramedics who are adequate if the patient isn’t very will. They can (usually) start an IV and (usually) give basic medications. If the patient is very ill and really needs good care, these paramedics are often not up to the task.

It’s not that they are bad, but they are the victims of mediocre education and lack of experience.

Sadly, many paramedic programs and many EMT programs are diploma mills. They teach their students enough, just enough, to pass the certification examinations.

Said examinations are what I refer to as the “Bunny Slope” of EMS education. If you’re not familiar with downhill skiing, you might want to look that one up. Hint: It’s not the bar with the hot tub in the middle.

More formally, I often tell new EMTs or paramedics that their shiny new certification card is just their license to learn more.

If one is serious about working in EMS, one will find that EMS is just one long series of going to classes. Besides the continuing education and refresher classes, there are add on classes. Classes on Cardiology, classes on trauma care, classes on pediatrics, classes on airway management. Most of these are optional, so all too often minimally competent providers find these boring and would rather do something else on their days off.

When my kids were younger, they’d see me heading out the door on a day off. They’d ask where I was going and the answer was usually “To a class.” They’d then ask if I was teaching or taking? Teaching is a really good way to learn your material, because if you’ve ever taught a class you know how embarrassing it came be if the students know more than you.

While I’m still on my soap box, I’ll also say that the lack of desire to learn beyond just enough to become certified is one of the key factors in why EMS is not only not a profession, it’s not even a trade.

If I were to venture a guess, I’d have to say that Brewster might be trying to solve a problem of provider knowledge with artificial intelligence.

That’s most unfortunate, but sadly, I don’t think it’s the last time we’re going to see something like this.

Just remember, Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Implications for EMS


This story caught my attention the other day. I’ve been thinking about it a bit and decided that there might, well more than might, be implications for EMS providers.

Texas teen was beaten, had hot cooking oil poured on her after refusing arranged marriage: police

Parents of a Texas high school student who was reported missing in late January had abused their daughter after she refused an arranged marriage, leading her to run away from home until she was found in mid-March, police said.

Maarib Al Hishmawi, 16, was reported missing on Jan. 30 after she was last seen leaving Taft High School in Bexar County. She was located in mid-March when she was taken in by an organization that cared for her after she ran away, KSAT reported.

This is in America. Texas no less. This arranged marriage involved the intended groom paying the parents of the girl $20,000.00.

When 16 year old Maarib Al Hishmawi demurred from this proposed marriage, her loving parents beat her with a broom stick and poured hot cooking oil on her.

“This young lady, at various times over that time period was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said on Friday, according to KSAT.

“Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body. She was beat with broomsticks,” Salazar added. “At least one point, she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness.”

Loving parents. Both of whom have been charged with a felonious “continuous violence against a family member”. Other charges might be leveled against them and the “older man” who was the intended groom.

There is another, more detailed story at the Daily Caller .

Apparently the father served as an interpreter for US military forces in their native Iraq. He was given a visa for him, his wife, and five kids in 20016, but there are no further details available.

So, what are the potential implications for EMS if we are called to assess this patient?

So you respect the mothers desire to have her stay while you assess and interview your patient? Is there the possibility of coercion?

What do you report and to whom?

What sort of pressure might there be to “respect” the different in their culture? Should we be forced to respect their culture even if it harms a patient?

How would we handle a request (or demand) for a female provider?

I ask these not was rhetorical questions because these situations are becoming more common in our “diverse” culture.

A few years back I responded to a call for a Vietnamese patient with a flu like illness. What he had was more likely pneumonia, so he was fairly sick. On the physical exam I noticed ring like burns on his back and chest. I asked, through an interpreter, what that was.

As it turned out, one of his friends had “Cupped” him. This was an “alternative medicine” attempt to cure his respiratory distress and symptoms. Unsuccessful, as it turned out.

Not being a big fan of “alternative medicine”, I suggested that maybe it wasn’t a viable course of action.

One of the EMTs on the call with me got in a huff and started to chastise me that “This is their culture and we can’t judge it.” She apparently stayed awake in “Diversity University” and swallowed the party line hook, line, and sinker.

I laughed at her and told her that we live in America and practice American medicine. Where upon she continued her diatribe until I closed the ambulance door her face.

I was a bit surprised that I wasn’t called on the carpet to explain  my culturally insensitive comments. Of course, I had enough time and age to retire with my full pension, so my answer would likely have been even less culturally sensitive.

But I digress.

My point is that we are likely to see more of this rather than less. We need to have plans in place to protect our patients and ourselves.

Maybe your agency has a plan, maybe not. If the agency doens’t, then you need to.

Career Limiting Move


Easton Police Chief: EMT Took ‘Inappropriate’ Pictures Of Patients In Ambulances

Police have arrested an emergency medical technician who allegedly ook inappropriate pictures of patients in ambulances as they were being taken to a hospital and also placed a hidden camera in an Easton EMS building bathroom.

Christopher Barlow, 21, of Duxbury, Mass., also was arrested on gun charges Wednesday, police said, adding that he stole guns from a co-worker at Easton Emergency Medical Services and wrote false information on his application for a rifle.

In addition, Barlow forged documents to pass himself off as Easton police officer, Police Chief Timothy Shaw said.

This kid is a moron. And a crook. And a pervert (or something).

Here is a story from Massachusetts about the earlier antics of secret agent

Plymouth DA Warns Police ‘Dangerous’ Suspect Is Out On Bail

PLYMOUTH (CBS) – A man accused of impersonating a Homeland Security agent and stockpiling firearms and explosives is out on bail, but the Plymouth County District Attorney says he isn’t following orders.

District Attorney Timothy Cruz put the word out to the 27 police chiefs in his county that Christopher Barlow is out on bail.

Bail? Yes, I know that bail is not supposed to be a form of punishment, it’s intended to ensure that the defendant shows up for trial. There is, however, a clause in the law which allows a judge to refuse bail if a defendant is dangerous.

The DA in this case did in fact file a motion for that to happen. So, why was Barlow allowed out?

Barlow was being held up until his release on February 16th after a judge denied the DA’s request he be held for dangerousness.

Might want to rethink that one, Mr. Judge.

In another article that I won’t bother to link to, his lawyer said that he was hallucinating last fall due to an overdose of anesthesia from surgery.

In 2016.

Was he hallucinating when he demanded that the police return his firearms? The ones for which he has no license.

Which makes me wonder where those came from.

The trials should be interesting. I hope Barlow (or his family) have a lot of money. His attorney is certainly going to earn his fee.

Massachusetts has suspended his EMT certification and I expect Connecticut will do the same.

This case should be interesting, to say the least.

I’m still trying to figure out under what circumstances photos of patients would be deemed appropriate.

All About Me

After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it?

I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs.

I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non-EMS subject matter.

Thanks for visiting.

Latest Posts

Day of Infamy

Catching Up

Roy Clark