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July 4, 1776

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Action of Second Continental Congress,
July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.

He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.

He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.

He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.

He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pre-tended Offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a civilized Nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome

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One of the blogs that I used to read just about every day and plan to start reading again is “Statter 911.” There is a link to Dave Statter’s blog over on the side bar.

Dave is the person who came up with the highly appropriate and accurate phrase that is the title of this post.

It’s a great term for the stupidity that some people display on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Which more and more are turning into anti social media platforms.

They also enable the Cancel Mob to ruin a persons career and life with a high rate of efficiency.

It doesn’t matter that a person posts a 2 second video clip of someone doing something that looks bad, but isn’t

It doesn’t matter that a joke gone bad can ruin someone’s life and even that of their family.

It doesn’t matter that a bad Tweet can not only cost you your job, but that of your parents, siblings, spouse, or even your kids.

The current political climate is to punish first and then look at the evidence later on, if ever. Once ruined it’s nearly impossible to regain your reputation. It’s so hard that a cottage industry has popped up to help people salvage their business, reputations, and lives which have been ruined by bad publicity.

Search the term “Reputation Restoration” on your favorite search engine and see the results.

If you run a business, a few bad Yelp reviews can ruin it. Or a rant on your Facebook page for that matter.

If you are employed by any government agency, even your off duty, private (or so you thought) comments can be used to terminate you. The magic phrase for that is that your comments “undermined the public’s confidence that you would carry out your public duties without bias.”

Think about that. You make an off the cuff comment at a party about, let’s say Black Lives Matter. Someone over hears you and takes offense. They know who you work for and the next thing that you know you are being accused of potential (not actual) discrimination against a protected class.

And you are fired for it.

If you think I’m making that up, then you might want read this article. Note that it’s from 2011, so the situation is definitely worse now. While that article covers public sector employees there is some mention of private sector employees as well. Almost all police officers and the vast majority of fire fighters are government employees. Some EMS providers also work for government agencies, so there is wide application in EMS.

That’s a long article, but this quote is significant,

In determining what sort of First Amendment rights government
employees should enjoy when they are off duty, the distinction
between speech “as an employee” and speech “as a citizen” is
ultimately not as useful. Employees do not stop being citizens when
they are at work; likewise, they do not stop being employees when
they are not. Furthermore, it does not help to compare off-duty
government employees to off-duty non-government employees.
Outside of the government context, private employers can discipline
their employees for their off-duty expression with impunity, absent a
state-statutory or constitutional requirement to the contrary. In that
way, employees for private employers are always employees in terms
of the precariousness of their speech rights. They enjoy the robust
speech rights of citizens only vis-à-vis the government. The problem
is that for public employees their employer
is the government.

On or off duty, public employees represent their government employers to some extent. Speech that undermines the public’s trust in the ability of the agency to fairly and without bias fulfill it’s duties can result in discipline, up to and including termination.

Some years back a police officer was fired (actually allowed to resign) from his job for allowing a stripper to have a picture taken sitting on the hood of his police cruiser. That was bad enough, but he lied about it when confronted by the chief of the department.

He likely would have been suspended for the picture, but then lying about it when the picture had already been published was just the capper on that escapade.

This isn’t particularly new as Dave identified SMACSS as far back as 2011. It’s just got worse since then.

Here is a post of Dave’s from three weeks ago. Notice, it’s not just rank and file or lower level employees. Even chief level employees can add to the stupidity.

And the SMACSS pandemic grows with 11 more cases

How is it that there are still people in the fire service who don’t get the concept that what you say on social media can come back to bite you? Raise your hand if you don’t know this yet.

Last week we brought you ten cases. Here are 11 more incidents of Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS). Of the 21 cases, 14 involve chief officers. There’s a clear trend here when two-thirds of the people getting into trouble are chiefs. I get that it’s a difficult and emotional time. But you won’t make it any better jeopardizing your position in the fire service by sharing those emotions publicly.

My former agency came out with it’s policy back in 2010. It was simple.

1) No pictures of anything while on duty.

2) No texting or posting while operating a department vehicle.

3) No posting of any ongoing incidents while on duty.

To my knowledge, that hasn’t changed. Oddly enough, there was no policy about writing blog posts while on duty. Then again, if management knew that I was writing posts during those lulls in action while I was working, they’d have come up with a new rule, I’m sure.

Facebook is good for posting and viewing cute pictures of grand kids and pets, and catching up with old friends. It’s also good for looking at pictures of old ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. Even at that, there are useless Facebook groups like “Dinosaurs of EMS” full of old fools who think that “Mother, Jugs, and Speed” was some sort of EMS how to movie.

If you’re in EMS, your best route is stay away from social media. On or off duty anything you post can (and likely will) be used against you.

NOT The Way To EMS

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This is verbatim the narrative of a call I recently reviewed for a client.

dispatched to a 51 yr old male with positive covid 19. On arrival pt was waiting outside. pt tested states that he had tested positive for covid 19 8 days ago and was in hospital. Pt states that he still is showing symptoms and would like to be reevaluated. Pt was explain that the hospital is not going to retest. Pt states that he is staying in his hotel room and has no more money and would like to go to noble so he has a place to stay. Pt was told that the hospital is not a free hotel. Pt was advised to find a way to pay for another week on hotel room. Pt was told to rest in his room while he can. Pt vitals not taken due to positive covid 19. Pt was told to call back if symptoms worsen. Pt was left in hotel room.
signature not obtained due to covid 19

I was so flabbergasted that I had to read this hot mess twice to believe that it was a real PCR.

It would be easier to list all that was done right in this report than all that was done wrong.

The total of things that were done right is zero. NOTHING that is documented here is within any protocol I’ve ever seen.

One of the first things I teach people when documenting patient refusals is to NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances suggest to the patient that you don’t think that he needs to go to the hospital.

Provider initiated refusals are a very good way to end an EMS career. Even if no one complains, if your employer has any sort of Quality Improvement or Quality Assurance program, whoever does the reviews is going to have their hair set on fire by this sort of thing.

Now, this call took place at the height of the Covid Panicdemic back a couple of months ago. The state released temporary special protocols for dealing with potential or actual exposure cases. There were some steps temporarily authorized that would not be allowed during normal times.

I won’t go into them, some of which I considered pretty unreasonable.

Suffice it to say that telling a patient that he wasn’t sick enough to go to the hospital, refusing to do an assessment, and abandoning the patient are not among them.

I completed the review, assigned a score to it, and sent it on to their medical director for her review. I also notified our operations manager as he may want to suggest to the agency manager responsible for EMS that this might, just might, be a reportable incident.

That’s a decision that the agency medical director and agency management make and fortunately, my company stays out of it.

Also fortunate is that this is the only egregious incident that I’ve come across in several hundred case reviews for several different agencies.

 

Two Junes, Two Years

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One June 4, 1942 the United States Navy won one of the greatest sea battles in history. It wasn’t supposed to happen, but the Navy cryptographers had broken the Imperial Japanese Navy code and knew the exact time and place of the attack. As a result, the United States was able meet and destroy much of the Japanese fleet.

That fleet had planned to accomplish two things. The first objective was to draw the few remaining US Aircraft Carriers into an ambush and sink what remained of the USN air offensive capabilities.

Once that was done, the Japanese would land troops on Midway Island, defeat the US Marines and Sailors there, and seize the island. That done, they could directly threaten the US Mainland and Hawaii.

A victory at  the United States to sue for peace on terms favorable to the Japanese. That would leave the Japanese free to concentrated on defeating Australia and New Zealand. The Pacific would then be their territory and Japan would conceivably rule half the world.

It was another meant to be another in an unbroken string of Japanese victories that started even before they attacked Pearl Harbor and bought the US into the war.

Despite a costly victory at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the US was still on the defensive. This was perhaps the lowest point in the War in the Pacific. The Japanese stood on the verge of total victory.

All of that was naught to be because the US defeated the Japanese at Midway.

All of that was for naught as the United States Navy defeated them.

Back in December, I mentioned “A Dawn Like Thunder” in the post Day of Infamy.  I recommend that book to you again. It covers the Battle of Midway quite well, especially the sacrifice of Torpedo Squadron 8.

Here is a short film, made by the great director John Ford featuring those doomed sailors.

On the morning of June 4, these men likely knew that the odds of their seeing the sunset were slim at best. Yet, in the best tradition of the U.S. Military they carried their attacks forward.

Here is a another Ford film, a documentary about the battle itself.

The US victory at Midway did not end the war. It did not even stop the Japanese from attacking. What it did do was save the United States from defeat at the hands of the Japanese.

The remaining members of Torpedo Eight would go on to fight at Guadalcanal which turned out to be a close battle that the Japanese almost won. Along the way to victory, there were victories and defeats on both sides, but the United States finally captured and held the island. From there, the Navy and Marines fought island to island to island defeating the Japanese a great cost in lives.

Fast forward two years to June 4, 1944.

The United States Army liberated Rome, Italy from the Germans. Italy had already capitulated, but the Germans had simply started to treat the Italian people as subjects, not allies.

Liberating Rome had taken six months of hard fighting and the victory should have been widely celebrated. In fact, it was for about 24 hours.

Often forgotten is that the campaign in Italy went on for several more months as the Germans slowly retreated up the peninsula back towards Germany. Liberating Rome was significant, but like Midway it wasn’t the end of a war or even a campaign.

The main reason that many people don’t remember the Liberation of Rome is that something that another momentous event took place on June 6, 1944.

The Allies invaded France and started the roll back of German forces that would end up winning the War in Europe.

That too was a near thing as the United States Army forces who landed at Omaha Beach were almost thrown back into the seat. A defeat here would likely have meant that no further attempts to liberate Europe would be attempted for years, if ever.

Here is a nice documentary that mixes footage from the invasion with an interview of a man that landed on the beach that day.

Two Junes, two years apart and the world had changed. Japan and Germany were now on the defensive. By June 1945, the War in Europe would be over, and in August 1945 Japan would surrender.

 

Some Gave All

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Ambulance Australia

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I’ve been taking advantage of my incarceration (just kidding) to catch up on some TV viewing.

That’s between trying to get some work done around the house, auditing ambulance calls, and running reports for my client agencies. At some point, I hope to actually do classes with those agencies, but it will likely be on line for a while.

I live near one of the urban hot spots for the virus, so our shut down will probably continue for another month or so.

Back to TV. I’ve also taken advantage of my Amazon Prime account to watch some TV shows that don’t appear on cable or the networks.

I stumbled across a TV show from Australia called “Ambulance Australia.” The first two seasons cover the New South Wales emergency ambulance service.

NSW Ambulance is a very large service, about 4,500 staff including paramedics, dispatchers, supervisors, and support staff. As a result they are busy.

Those who are interested can read about the service on the Internet, so I’ll just comment on the show.

It’s very well done from a production standpoint. Both dispatch (control) and field units are covered. As a result, we get a good view of the entire call from start to finish. Well, except the part in the hospital.

The content is good too, at least from what I can see. There is some editing done, but not nearly as much on the shows from New Orleans and Boston a few years ago. About the only thing I wonder about is the crew make up. I’m sure it’s a diverse system, but I wonder if there are really as many all female or female/male crews as are shown on the show. I wonder if management did a little “mix and match” for public relations purposes. Even at that, the crews are natural in their element and seem candid.

The calls are ambulance calls. There were some calls that were very familiar to me because I respond calls like that many times over my career. There weren’t any “Wow, that’s weird.” calls at all.

How they were treated was different in some cases, which was interesting. They seemed to spend more time on scene than is the norm in my experience. Part of that seems to be the configuration of their ambulances which don’t have as much working room as I was used to. I was fortunate not to ever have to work in a van ambulance, but even by those standards the layout of the NSW ambulances seemed cramped to me.

As a result, even trauma calls are mostly worked on scene before being moved to the ambulance. The system I worked in had a ten minute on scene limit for most trauma. If we were on scene for more than that amount of time we’d have to explain to someone what the hold up was.

Granted, there were calls where we had to stay on scene for much longer, but they were not the norm. Of course I worked in a city that was much smaller than the state of New South Wales, so we were in a trauma center in a much shorter time frame.

Some of the things that made me laugh because they were so much like what I experienced were the crews trying to get to call through traffic. They yelled at drivers who didn’t pull over much as I and people I worked with yelled at drivers who didn’t pull over.

They had to deal with annoying bystanders, much as we had to deal with annoying bystanders.

They had patients who lied, we had patients who lied. In one notable incident a crew on the way to a call witnessed a small pick up crash into a light pole right in front of them. If the ambulance was any closer, the truck might have hit them. As the truck rolled across a lawn and come to a stop a young man jumped out of the truck and started to run away.

When the medics caught up to him, they asked him if he was the driver and he told them that he was in the back seat when the accident happened. Since they had him on video, it was kind of hard to hold on to that lie and eventually he admitted to the police that he was the driver.

In his case, he refused care and was arrested for drunk driving. Which is different than my experience because a person as drunk as he was would need to go to the hospital to be cleared medically. Other than that, it was not much different than a good number of calls i went to over the years.

I remember one call where two cars collided in the middle of the street in the middle of the night. The driver of one car wasn’t injured. All six people in the other car claimed injury.

Funny thing was, at the time of the accident witnesses (It always amazed me how many people were out in the middle of the night) said that there were only three people in the car before the accident. By the time we got there, three more people had magically appeared.

When I started interviewing the “patients” all six claimed to be in the back seat of the car. My comment to the police was that clearly the accident was caused by no one being behind the wheel.

The show is fast paced and very entertaining. I like it because there is real drama, but I didn’t see any played up drama. The calls were typical of what I responded to over the years. Some of the technology is different, but mostly it’s the same. It struck me that if I were younger and so inclined, I could climb into one of those ambulances and start responding calls.

Enjoyable TV, well recommended.

America Held Hostage

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Those of you old enough will remember when Rush Limbaugh used that tag line on his radio show until the Republicans took back the House of Representatives in 1994.

I’m using that phrase in a sardonic way, although in some ways were are being held hostage. The threat is a virus that has caused a lot of illness, some deaths, and a lot of panic over the past two months or so.

In my state most restaurants are closed, some are doing pick up or delivery orders only. Grocery stores are open, which is good. Some have “special” hours for senior citizens. 6:00AM is a bit early for me most days, but out of curiosity about a week ago I ventured out to see what that was all about. What it was about was standing outside for about 20 minutes and then going in to find absolutely nothing on my list.

I went to a different store in the same chain later that same day and it was well stocked, even with toilet paper. A cynical person might think that the special hours were some sort of scam, but as you all know, I’m not cynical

Grocery stores seem to be catching up with demand at last. The last two I were in had everything I was looking for except for… toilet paper. That’s still inexplicable, to me.

I’ve been to hardware stores and Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight is sort of a hardware store, I guess. I violated my own rule about not buying anything with moving parts at HF and once again was reminded why I have that rule. I had to take the tool apart and rebuild it to get it to work properly. I’d return it, but I really only needed it for one small job, so I put up with it. I also bought a small tarp for a different project, If it doesn’t leak, it will serve it’s purpose.

I’ve turned into a landscaper of sorts. I did yard clean up after a nasty storm earlier this week. Lots of small branches blown out of the trees. Now, if the wind and rain will abate, I’ll be able to get the burn barrel going and dispose of that and some other stuff. The lime and GrubEx are waiting for the weather as well.

Then comes a job I really hate. Painting. There is a section of the front of the house that needs to be scaped, sanded, primed, and then painted. Normally I’d hire someone to do that, but right now there aren’t people who are all that interested in small jobs.

Before the Wu Flu hit the world, construction was going full tilt on residential projects. Dumpsters filled driveways throughout my area, carpenters, roofers, painters, brick masons were all hard at work. Some of that has fallen off, but I still see a lot of activity when the weather permits.

So, I’ll have to do this one myself. I have to go to the paint store, a real one, not a “home improvement” paint department and get some paint and advice. I’ve used this company before and I trust their advice.

Some low, less than 10 feet, ladder work is required. Fortunately, a neighbor of mine has a set up that he’s going to let me use.

Did I mention that I hate painting? I’m not a big fan of scraping and sanding either, but it has to be done. I’ll even have to dig out one of my precious N95 masks so I don’t get a lung full of paint dust.

When you own a house, there is always something to be done.

N95 masks are a good segue to the virus.

The Chinese, in addition to lying about the origin and spread of the Wu Flu tried to corner the market on masks and other PPE while they were doing it. When they started to “give” masks to other hard hit countries, many of them were sub standard. To make matters worse, they didn’t really “give” them, they sold them. At exorbitant prices. Chinese is making a good case for being tossed out of the United Nations. Of course that won’t happen because the Chinese have spent years bring officials of Third World Nations to support them.

Speaking of donating, entrepreneur and possible confidence man Elon Musk promised to donate 1,255 ventilators to hospitals in need.  In fact, he said that Tesla and Medtronic were discussing building ventilators together. Well that hasn’t happened, at least not yet. He did manage to send some BiPAP machines, which are definitely not ventilators. As so often seems to happen with Musk, he ove rpromised and under delivered.

Funny thing about all those ventilators that people were hyperventilating about. They aren’t needed. New York is sending many of theirs to other parts of the country. After crying, rending of shirts, and bemoaning the lack of action by the federal government, it turns out that no where near the number of patient actually need ventilators.

Also, a lot of people seem to be confused, or maybe misrepresenting, the difference between respirators, masks, and ventilators. The three terms have been used interchangeably when they aren’t even remotely the same.

Masks and respirators are used by health care providers. Ventilators are used by patients who can’t breath on their own. People bloviating that they could make a ventilator for $100.00 didn’t know what the frack they were talking about. So called journalists knew even less and fell for that BS hook, line and sinker.

Several books will be written about what happened in the winter, spring, and summer of 2020. Some of them will be total and utter cow manure, but some will hopefully tell about all of the misinformation that flowed from the mouths of idiots in the media.

Meanwhile, most states are still in some degree of shut down. Others, lets say Michigan are imposing restrictions that would make the Chinese Communists Party green with envy. The idiot Governor of Kentucky and dope Mayor of Louisville ordered people NOT to go to driven in services on Easter. A Mayor in Mississippi ordered police officers to issue $500.00 fines to people who sat in their cars in the parking lot of their church and listened to a service on Easter morning. Fortunately, the Attorney General of the United States intervened in the form of adding the official position of the United States on that topic.

Then there is the Governor of Michigan who has clearly overstepped her authority. She thought that would make her a good Vice Presidential candidate for the Democrats. Actually, I hope it did.

In Massachusetts the fake Republican Governor not only ordered all gun dealers in the state to close, but he prohibited even one on one sales by them. He went on to order the State Police to forbid the gun safety classes that are required before a person can apply for a firearms license. Continuing the assault on the Second Amendment, he ordered the state to stop processing new applications and renewals. He has also refused to allow the state to automatically extend licenses which are due to expire.

Oddly enough, he has allowed motor vehicle inspections to be extended until sometime in May.

I’m sure he looks on with envy at what some of the other governors are doing to deny citizens their rights.

The litigation has already started and I expect it to continue for years after things are back to “normal.”

Speaking of which, I’m not expecting anything even remotely like the major league sports we are used to to resume until fall. If then.

All of the above said, I’m getting the sense that we are reaching a tipping point. There are people who are fed up with the burdens that various levels of government have put on citizens. There is going to be over the next few weeks a demand to start a return to normal. Whatever that is.

I expect we’ll see businesses start to ramp back up by the end of this month.

I also expect to see a vaccine before the end of this year and more treatment modalities to be authorized well before then.

As much as I think wearing masks in public is for the most part silly, if that’s what it takes to get the economy back up and running, I’ll put one on. I’m thinking about buying something like this.

Speaking of masks, this is a hard time to be a police officer. Just about everyone wearing a mask is a potential suspect.

Well enough rambling. I was able to get to the range a couple of times during all of this and will try to post some thoughts on shooting a couple of different handguns.

 

 

Staying Occupied

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Since the world has in many ways ground to a halt, I’ve been looking for things to do to keep busy.

What passes for post retirement work has pretty much stopped as the doctors are to busy to read and respond to reports, the fire stations are all locked down, and the fire fighters whose cases I review are all too busy responding to calls.

I can still do audits, but the slow down has actually allowed us to catch up on outstanding audits, so there isn’t as much of that.

Speaking of reports, the ones from this month have shown an interesting progression. Starting about the second week of the month reports have mentioned “Covid-19” more and more. The downside is that some medics are so obsessed with Covid-19 that they don’t look for other causes for patient’s illnesses.

I’ve caught about half a dozen out of the 200 or so reports I’ve done, where tunnel vision has lead to missing CHF, Sepsis, and in one case a Stroke.

A sort of upside to this is that I have more time to do “retired guy” stuff. Which translates to doing a lot of minor projects, or at least looking for minor projects.

So far I’ve replaced the shower doors on the bath tub. Which not only made Mrs. EMS Artifact happy, she’s been looking to replace them for a couple of years now, but also saved several hundred dollars. She had contacted a company that installs replacements and had received an estimate. The guy who runs the company was supposed to come out and look at the job to finalize the details. He never showed up and never called. That was before all of this started, so he’s just a crappy businessman.

I replaced a front light that went all wonky. It’s supposed to come on automatically after dark when it detects movement. It detects movement, but comes on even during the day. That took about an hour or so.

Painted a closet. This is actually a project I’ve been pecking at here and there for a few years. I decided to paint all of the closets as part of my on going process of getting the house ready against the day we put it on the market and move. I don’t know when that will be, but it will happen.

As with all projects, prep is the key and the hardest part. I spackled all of the cracks and dings in the walls. Then I taped. Then I waited for the spackle to dry. That was day one.

Day two (you don’t want to rush these things), was the painting. Which took about 20 minutes. A couple of hours to wait for the paint to be well dried and I took the tape off, cleaned up and vacuumed.

Bought five bags of top soil, dumped them out, raked it the pile flat, and threw down some grass seed. I might take up watching grass grow if this lock down goes  on for much longer.

Bought two end tables with lamps and assembled them. The first was for the Living Room to replace a torch lamp that the Mrs. didn’t like. She wasn’t sure that she was going to like the new one either, but while I was putting it together down in my den I noticed that it would fit in and replace a lamp and small table I had down there.

As it turned out, she liked the lamp/table combination, so I went out and bought a second one. I managed to stretch that out over two days.

Friday the weather was great, so I went to the range to do some shooting. Amazingly, I was the only person there for much of the time. I figured it might be busy with bored people looking for something to do.

I’ll post a bit about that tomorrow. Or maybe Tuesday.

Saturday was another beautiful day, so I went out in the yard and worked on that all day. Brush clearing, some small tree felling, and burning brush in my burn barrel.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of yard work, there is enough of it to keep me busy in the nice weather. While it’s physically strenuous, it’s mentally relaxing. Once I get out and start, I find that I just keep working at it. I ended up cutting down about a half dozen small trees and then cutting them into sections. One of my neighbors has a wood burning stove and I’ll offer the wood to him.

There are still a few more small trees I want to trim back, but that will have to wait until the weather is clear again. Which, according to the weather guessers could be about a week.

Today will be gun cleaning day. That will include the two I shot the other day and maybe one or two others. Those probably don’t need cleaning, but taking them apart and putting them back together will be fun. I like mechanical things and I like taking them apart and putting them back together.

That’s what I’m doing to keep business while waiting for the world to start again. I do have to wonder what kind of world we’ll return to when this has passed. Will things return to the old normal or will there be a new normal of not getting to close to one another?

I also wonder what the rest of the world is going to do about the Chinese Communist Government’s lying to the rest of the world about this disease?

 

Hysteria

4

I’m not making light of the potential for illness and death from the Wuhan Flu virus, but the hysteria has gotten out of control.

The media is treating this like an ongoing terrorist attack. News outlets are spreading wild rumors by the hour. Once one has been debunked, another pops up to take it’s place.

Just about every public activity that you can think of has been cancelled. Restaurants are empty, hotels have emptied, whole states are essentially shut down.

Everyone, and I mean everyone has put out statements about their response. I got one from my cable provider informing me that they are making sure that their stores are extra clean, their technicians are taking hygienic precautions, and will provide remote support when necessary. Because wait times for phone support aren’t long enough now.

5.11 Tactical assures me that they are making sure that their facilities are super duper clean. Here’s a hint. I wash all new clothes before I wear them. My wife worked in fashion retail way back and says that only fools don’t do that.

There is panic buying toilet paper. Toilet paper. There is no shortage of it, but people are buying it as fast as it is put on the shelf. Apparently somewhere along the line the rumor started that our toilet paper comes from China and the factories were shutting down.

Which isn’t true. Most of the toilet paper used in this country comes from Canada. Which last I saw was still making it. Along with paper towels.

People are buying non perishable food by the case, items like flour and rice are being sold in 50 pound bags.

The media hysteria is driving political hysteria. No politician, and remember the #1 goal of all politicians is to get re elected, wants to be the one guy that didn’t take every precaution. Schools are closed from two weeks to six weeks depending on location.

If you listen to the media and politicians catching the Wuhan Flu is a death sentence 100% of the time. Most people who have contracted the illness have mild to moderate symptoms and recover fully in a fairly short period of time.

I am hearing stories of a need for hundreds of thousands of ventilators, but not who will need them. You’d also think that every one of the 327,000,000 people in the country is going to need to be tested. Which is not true either.

I’ll leave the politics out of this for the most part, but it’s pretty clear that some people are using this as a weapon for the upcoming election. First, the President acted too hastily in closing off travel from China. Now, he’s accused of acting too slowly.

The Speaker of the House threatened to hold up the response bill if language wasn’t included that restored federal funding for abortion. Which pretty clearly has nothing to do with responding the crisis. It’s just more pork barrel spending by politicians.

The people who are in most danger from this are people over 60 with underlying medical conditions. At the top of that list is people with respiratory illnesses. That’s a fair number of people, so they should try to limit public contact. Next are people with underlying cardiac issues or Diabetes that isn’t well controlled. Of course people being treated for cancer, no matter what their age are really vulnerable, so they should be careful. People who have had organ transplants and are on anti rejection drugs also full into that category.

People over 80, even if healthy are vulnerable.

Kids, again unless they have serious underlying medical conditions, are not at much risk. In fact, so far no one under the age of 10 has contracted the illness. Adults without medical conditions catch it, but some say it’s not any worse that a miserable cold.

Keep in mind that despite any problems with paying for it, we have the best health care in the world right here in the US. Italy? Not so much, which is why their mortality rate is higher. China? Not even close. Iran? 7th Century medicine is not up to the task.

None of the people I know, including my 100 year old Mother in Law, are hysterical about this.

What people with school age children are right now is angry. People are scrambling for child care so that they don’t have to take time off from work. I joked with a former co worker who has children that I was considering opening and over night child care center for people who work in EMS. He asked me if he could sign his kids up before he realized I was kidding. He asked if my wife was willing to drive up to his house and babysit.

Keep in mind that he’s never met my wife, doesn’t even know her name. I’m sure he’ll figure something out, but the point is that the politicians are making these decisions without think through the consequences.

Maybe instead of shutting schools, they should ask the TV stations to stop doing news casts. No, not seriously, but it would be nice if they dialed the hysteria back down to 11.

I can’t help but think that by the end of April we are going to look back and wonder why we were so panicked.

One final thought. The last really big pandemic, before the word even existed, was the Spanish Influenza of 1918. Since then there have been similar panics in 1957, 1968, 1975, and 2009. That doesn’t include the SARS panic, Legionnaires panic, Ebola panic, and MERS.

In the 1975 panic more people died from reactions to the vaccine than from the flu.

Speaking of vaccines, we’ll have one but not until next fall in all likelihood. We’ll probably have effective treatments before that. Both of which are dependent on the FDA actually doing it’s job efficiently.

That’s my rant and it’s the last I’ll post about this.

Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmatic in EMS

2

Once upon a time, that phrase was known as “The Three Rs.” It’s archaic, but these days reading and writing seem pretty archaic.

As my regular readers will know, my post field EMS career involves doing a lot of documentation reviews for EMS services. This pays pretty well as a supplement to my pension, but I’m not sure if the potential brain damage from smacking my forehead with my hand is worth it.

The policy of my employer is that we’re not supposed to correct spelling or grammar errors in the narratives of the reports we review. Note that if it were, I’d be unemployed because I’m not exactly a whiz myself. I do, however, know how to use spell check and how to look up medical terms on my Smarter than me Phone.

I also know how to use the “Shift” key on my computer keyboard. Which means that I can capitalize when appropriate. I also know how to use punctuation, although I will admit to writing the occasional run on sentence.

Those are skill which a lot of EMS providers seem to have forgotten or maybe just never learned. A friend of mine blames texting in part for this. He opines that young people spend so much time using abbreviations when they text that they forget how to spell or use punctuation. There might be some truth to that.

When I read some of the reports I can’t help but think of the reaction of doctors and nurses  when they read the same report. “F******g paramedics!” comes to mind.

I also am convinced that when they read these reports those people don’t think much of the medical skills of the medics doing the writing. Not mention what people outside of medicine think.

Ambulance Driver and I have discussed the subject of college requirements for EMS personnel, specifically paramedics. I’ve been pretty consistently skeptical because I don’t see a particularly good Return on Investment (ROI) for most college degrees. I have commented that if people are going to go to college as a career advancement strategy, they should take courses that are outside of EMS. That is, they should look at business management, nursing, or some other major that will give them options outside of the EMS career ladder. That’s because career ladders in EMS are more like step stools. That is, there aren’t many steps on that short ladder.

One thing that I do think should be part of a paramedic degree program is English literacy and mathematics. We often joke about “paramedic math”, because it’s pretty easy. Especially if you memorize the formulas and can just plug numbers in. Still, algebra and geometry are good thing to know.

So is being able to put together a medical narrative that has decent syntax, spelling, and grammar. Which skills don’t seem to be all that prevalent in the reports that I read on a daily basis.

I won’t even comment on some of the wacky “treatments” I see because that’s actually my job. The problem being tha sometimes the sentence structure is so bad that I can’t figure out what the hell the medic was thinking or doing.

Since many paramedic programs are now affiliated with colleges, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to add the literacy and mathematics components. Along with classes on actually showing up to work on time. But, that’s a rant for a different day.

I’ll just add that in retrospect, I should have bit the bullet after paramedic school and gone to nursing school. Again, a topic for another post, but having “RN” after ones name opens up a lot of possibilities.

 

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.

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