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Large Vessel Occlusions - My latest EMS1.com article.

Please check out my latest article on EMS1.com!


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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…

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 …

I Don't Save Lives

When I tell people what I do for a living, I generally get one of two responses. The first is the nodding head accompanied by some form of the phrase "Oh, that's cool." I generally assume that these are the kind folks who, for the sake of social norms, asked me about myself without really wanting to know the answer. It's the same as when you ask someone "How are you?" Unless you are a medical provider, you aren't really looking for them to tell you about their hemorrhoids and how they're having difficulty getting an erection.

The second response, however, goes something like "Oh, wow! You save lives!" That's far better for the ego. I've thought about this many times throughout my career. "Saving lives " sounds so noble and so heroic. Upon hearing this phrase I picture myself shirtless with six pack abs and bulging biceps (neither of which I have ever had) standing atop a mountain of smoldering debris. The near -lifeless b…