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Showing posts from 2017

A Moment in Time

We must have heard it one hundred times over the last three days. Kip Teitsort, national expert on violence in healthcare, was in town to teach Twin City Ambulance's four DT4EMS instructors an advanced level instructor course.
"This is just a moment in time." Kip would remark as he paused during a skill to show us how the elbow was controlled or how the attacker was now off-balance. Over and over he said that phrase. "This is just a moment in time."
To paint things more clearly you need to understand a bit about Kip. He's a man who was both a paramedic and a police officer. He's got 30 years of training and several black belts in multiple martial arts systems, and has instructed police and SWAT officers in defensive tactics. He's also taught self-defense to scores of healthcare providers all across the country - his current focus.
Kip has intensity and energy that never waiver, which he needs to match his passion for protecting healthcare workers from …

The Middletown Zone

In the distant future a man witnesses two thieves attempting to steal a car. He approaches them and they spot him, at first fearing that they've been caught. They quickly breathe a sigh of relief, however, when they notice a curious mark on his forehead. It is the mark placed there as punishment for his crime of coldness - not opening his emotions to his fellow citizens. He's an "invisible". A convicted criminal, his sentence of invisibility means that nobody is allowed to acknowledge him, speak to him, or pay him any attention whatsoever. He is shunned by everyone.

The criminals continue their efforts, and once they succeed in stealing the car, they drive after the man in a laughter-filled vehicular attack. He flees, but the thieves strike him with the car and leave him for dead. The man is able to drag himself home and get to his video telephone. He is in pain and he calls for medical help. The nurse who answers his call says she'll gladly send help once she ge…

I Don't Dance

YES- this is still an EMS blog. Today's entry, however, is a personal lesson about life. When you take that call and save that person, you're creating the potential for moments like this. Life matters.
The lights faded in the applause crescendo. I waited with my daughter in the darkness for our cue to leave the stage, fighting the urge to carry her off on my shoulders. I figured that would take too long for the "real" dancers who were already positioned for the next performance. So I held her hand and ushered her off quickly to stage right as we'd rehearsed. Hand shakes and hive-fives followed behind the curtains but my heart ached. It ached again as each of the black tee-shirt clad fathers fist bumped me after the recital and said "We did it! See you next year!" Today was a sublime combination of felicity and melancholy.
It was nothing Earth-shattering to the casual observer. Amidst the extremely talented performances of the dancers at Buffalo Dance Cent…

The Real Disease is Ignorance

I have a little background in medicine. "Twenty four years of work in emergency medical services with a recent sprinkle of  EMS education" is what I'd probably list on a resumé. No, I'm not a physician or even a nurse, but I know medicine and I certainly know science. Do you know who else isn't a physician or a nurse? The woman who penned this:

Radio host Judi Franco has spent the better part of two decades on the air in New Jersey and, as best as I can find, has an education in theatre arts. This makes her extremely qualified to be a local media celebrity or even an actress. Unfortunately it makes her extremely unqualified to comment on the pathology of substance abuse.

Franco, in her "12-Step Guide to Show That Drug Addiction us Not a Disease," does many things. She identifies herself as someone who is not an addict. I applaud her for sharing an attribute with the vast majori…

No Quarter for Hiders

One of our outstanding young medics popped into my office for a chat. I was expecting him, having left him an open invitation to stop by. It was no surprise, either, when he launched into discussion about a pediatric arrest he'd responded to recently. I suspect he partially wanted to be sure he'd done everything right and that it wasn't his failure as a medic that left a family tragically short a child. Concerns such as this are commonplace following these kinds of calls - you wonder if there was something... anything that would have changed the outcome. Usually there's not, and from what I have been able to ascertain the child received excellent care from this medic, and all of the firefighters and police officers on scene.
Unfortunately, people die. Yes, even kids. This medic was struggling with a run that hit close to home for him. I could tell by the way he talked about it; he mentioned things that happened again and again. He keyed in on very minor points but with …

Missing the Point

At some point early in my career I identified a deep internal conflict. I discovered that to realize the full potential of my skills both as a firefighter and as a paramedic, someone else in the world had to have a really bad day. This troubled me immensely. It troubled me because I was surrounded by colleagues who would quite openly say things like "I'm bored... someone needs to die," or "Man, this would be the perfect night for a structure fire." It troubled me because I said and thought those things, too.
We can't all be faulted. We don't know any better. We learn in class and on the streets that the only thing that matters is the technical. Ventilate. Intubate. Stop the bleeding. Fix the heart rate. Open the airway. Yet, since few of our patients require immediate performance of these critical skills, we start to question our importance. We wonder how we're making a difference. We worry that our skills are perishing. In simpler terms: we get bore…

Snare of the Fallen Mantis - a short story

Snare of the Fallen Mantis is a short-story I penned several years ago. After being rejected by several publications, I'm just going to share it so that SOMEONE gets the chance to read it. If you have any literary prowess, I'd love any critique you have!

Jason Losier opened his eyes slowly and painfully. He heard the freight-train of a headache just a few seconds before it hit him; the blaring horn, tone rising in Doppler approach, reached the apex of crescendo as his pupils first received the morning’s sun. Wincing, he raised himself gingerly to the edge of the bed, and through chipmunk-cheeked puffs of breath he cursed the streaming daylight. As his vision began to clear, his clock came into focus. It wasn’t morning at all. One pm on Saturday.      Fifteen minutes later, with the remnants of the previous night swirling into the vortex of a porcelain grave, Jason brushed his teeth and listlessly made his way downstairs. Time-faded eight-by-ten rectangles – the remains of missin…