So, in my daily parusal of the various blogs, I came across Ambulance Drivers' blog, and an article he wrote for EMS1.com. I'll wait right here, I promise.
So, this topic has definately struck a (good) nerve with me. I will always be the first person to say that I don't have all the facts, but my opinion would be (insert opinion here). In the case of the PA Medics. I was in Pennsylvania during the snow storms, actually in Pittsburgh visiting family. We got easily 24 inches in about twelve hours, if not more in a shorter time. Heavy Snow Plow trucks and Salt trucks were stuck all across the city. I personally watched an ambulance attempt to get up a hill and continually slide down.
Now, for those Medics. First off, I do not condone leaving the scene of someone who is calling for help. In this instance though, I can see it and would've probably done the same. You have Medics who need to respond all across the city. Pittsburgh roads in many places are still made out of cobblestone and bricks, so even using drop chains won't help. Trying to extricate the victim out would've been another challenge. Sure, you could've used the Reeves stretcher like a sled, but now you could cause an even worse injury to the patient if the providers fell ontop of them. Asking the patient to meet them half way isn't irresponsible either. I would not have taken a stretcher up there...that's just asking for it to tip over.
All in all, while the comments over the radio were poor form, the medics in Pgh did the best they could in the disaster that occured.
On the other side of the coin, we don't see the good that happened. I don't think anyone heard about the other EMS crew in a Pittsburgh Suburb that, after wrecking their ambulance trying to get a patient to the hospital in the same blizzard, hopped out of the truck with their various broken bones and injuries, and carried the patient up the hill to the trauma center they were trying to go to.
Now that's dedication.
It's true, EMT's eat their own kind.
As I posted before about the death of my C-1. I was the head Medic on that call. We had several different departments from the area there trying to help out with the other patients and mine. The stuff that was said about my crew and myself after the call was abhorrent. I am trying to intubate, laying on my stomach on a completely dark bridge. The Fire Department didn't have the scene lights up yet, and all I have to see with is the little light at the end of my blade. One of the cops on scene refused to shine his MagLight in our direction for a few moments so we could get our job done, insistant on standing a few feet away smoking a cigarette.
Somehow in the confusion, the tube tamer got out of my reach, so I did what any self respecting medic would do; I held onto the tube in my bare hand while I sent someone to the truck for a new one.
The flack I heard for the months following drove two of my partners from EMS. We heard things like: It's their fault, you know. That Medic didn't have a tube tamer, and that killed 'em or That's what happens when you let a girl on the truck or my favorite one If I would've been there, I woulda saved him. Other comments about what drugs we did and didn't use, or the caliber of the training we had or didn't have, or how gender played a role in the outcome ran rampant through the EMS world.
We were all punished and admonished by our own, fellow crew members. I had to have another Medic ride with me for a few weeks afterwards because those in power weren't sure if I was "able to perform the functions of being a fully functional Paramedic." I had random members of the department show up on calls, and I even had calls jumped and taken away from me because of my "poor performance on an EMS call." When asked about my performance and what was poor, the answer given to me was, "Well, if you can't save a life, then you can't be a Medic."
Yeah, talk about a swift kick to the pretend balls.
So, long story short; Be nice to your fellow EMT's and Medics. Unless you were there, you don't know the full story. Good article, AD!
Now, I'm off to go fishing! Power Bait for everyone!