Tag Archives: paramedic

Article: I Have Ghosts in My Head

This is a powerful article about the inevitable party question: So, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen?

I can’t remember how many times I’ve been in this situation. I’ve been out of the business for quite a while now, so it doesn’t happen much any more, but man…..Always bothered me. My standby answer was: “Depends on your definition of worst.”

That could be followed with: “Do you mean how much blood was spread across the highway? Or how long it took to clean the puke, blood and other bodily fluids out of the back of my ambulance? Or how long it took to get the smell out of my nose? Or do you mean saddest – cuz I’ve got a bunch of those.”

Too many definitions of “worst”. And on the rare occasion when I do share some stories, it’s never even close to the actual worst……

Article: I have ghosts in my head.


“It’s Not Your Fault”….I Lied….

Wow, is this powerful….The video in the link below describes a scenario that probably almost anyone who has spent a few years on an ambulance can understand.

While I don’t remember any specific time I told this type of lie, I am quite certain that I did. How can you not? “It’s not your fault…..” “It’s not as bad as it looks….” And any number of little (or big) white lies we tell to comfort the patient or the family……

And our selves……

Here’s the link to “It’s not your fault”

I do not belive I ever told the lie he describes, although I dealt with at least my share of SIDS. However, I was in a very similar situation – the only difference was that Mom already knew….and lying to her would not have changed anything……

(I have written about the emotions surrounding my experience and how it effected my for years, here, , if you are interested….)




A Pause to Honor….

I find this very interesting. It is a fantastic idea. And, at the same, possibly a horrible idea.

The article linked below talks about hospital emergency workers “pausing” to honor a patient that has not responded to their efforts to save their life. Essentially, a moment of silence for someone they did not know at all.

In many cases, probably most cases, I think this would be a great way to bring a different kind of closure to a situation that is, in itself, so final – and yet, possibly not completely resolved for those who worked so hard for a different outcome. Taking just a moment to come to grips with what has just happened, might make it easier to step away and move on….

On the other hand, at least for me, there were many times that stopping to accept what had happened would have put me over the edge. The scenarios that were just so utterly horrific……If I stopped to think about it, I would not have been able to get back in the ambulance and run the next call…..

The article is about hospital workers. I wonder if it would have the same effect on field crews. Not to take anything away from the hospital folks – the death is just a real – but it is a different situation. Chances are pretty good that the patient the ER staff has stopped to honor was brought in by an ambulance crew who has already left the room to do paperwork and clean up the rig. Would it be effective for the crew to come back to the patients room? Or stop where ever they happen to be when they get word? If they even get word?

Yep, definitely interesting……….


Article: Nobody Taught Me How…….

This is an excellent post! Not about PTSD, but about being a paramedic – It’s about the parts of the job nobody taught you and you had to learn on your own…..


A Paramedic’s Comfort

This is an excellent post by a fellow blogger. Sums it up nicely, if you ask me….


Article: South Austin Event Helps First Responders

This is definitely a step in the right direction. Staggering numbers though – One first responder suicide every two-and-a-half days?? This has to stop…..We need to be watching each others backs. Taking care of our crews.

The most important part of this article? The phone number at the end: “Safe Call Now is a hotline specifically for first responders run by first responders and their families. Reach Safe Call Now 24/7  at 1-877-230-6060.”

Please, please, please…..Don’t be afraid to use it.


Article: Pictures of PTSD

This is incredibly powerful. It is focused on members of the military, but I think any first responder dealing with PTSD can put themselves in most, if not all, of these pictures. I know I can…..


Article: A Genetic Link to PTSD?

This is very interesting. And it brings up an interesting question: If you knew you were likely to develop PTSD, would you still take the same path into EMS? Hmmmmm…….

I’m having a really hard time answering that question. I think probably at the time I got into EMS, if someone told me I would have PTSD, I would have said “yeah right”. But, in hind-sight, knowing how difficult it has been to work through and how tough it’s been for my family, I’m not sure……

What say you??


When God Made Paramedics………

Saw this posted in a group on Facebook and just had to share. I’m not much of a religious guy, but this is touching……


When God Made Paramedics…

When the Lord made paramedics, he was into his 6th day of overtime, when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one”.

The Lord responded, “Have you read the specs on this order? A paramedic has to be able to carry an injured person up a wet, grassy hill in the dark, dodge stray bullets to reach a dying child (unarmed), enter homes the health inspector wouldn’t touch, and not wrinkle the uniform”.

“The paramedic has to be able to lift 3x their own weight, crawl into mangled cars with barely enough room to move, and console a grieving mother while doing CPR on a baby knowing full well the baby will never breathe again”.

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pair of hands… no way”.

The Lord responded, “It’s not the hands that are causing me the problems; it’s the 3 pair of eyes a medic needs to have”.

“That’s on the standard model”? asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees open sores while drawing blood and asking the patient about Hep C and HIV (already knowing the answer and wishing he’d taken that accounting job) – a second pair here – on the side of the head – to ensure personal safety for themselves and their partner. Lastly, the third set; needs to go here – in the front – allowing the paramedic to look at a patient reassuringly and say “it’s going to be alright” all the while knowing it isn’t so”.

“Lord”, said the angel shaking her head and touching his sleeve, “get some rest and work on this tomorrow”.

“I can’t” said the Lord, “I already have a model that can talk a 250lb drunk out from behind the steering wheel without incident and feed a family of 5 on a private service paycheck”.

The angel circled the model of the paramedic very slowly and asked, “Can it think”?

“You bet”! said the Lord. “It can tell you the symptoms of 100 illnesses, recite drug calculations in its sleep, intubate, defibrillate, medicate and perform CPR nonstop over terrain any doctor would fear… and it still keeps its sense of humor!

This paramedic also has phenomenal personal control. It can deal with multi victim trauma, coax a frightened elderly person to unlock the door, comfort a murder victims’ family, and then read in the daily paper about how paramedics were unable to locate a house quickly enough, allowing the person to die – A house with no street sign, a house with no numbers, and a house with no phone for a call back number”.

Taking it all in, the angel leaned over and ran her finger across the cheek of the paramedic. “There’s a LEAK!” she pronounced, “I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model”.

“That’s not a leak” said the Lord, “it’s a tear”.

“What’s the tear for” asked the angel.

“It’s for bottled up emotions, for patients they’ve tried in vain to save; for the ongoing commitment to the hope that they will make a difference in a persons’ chance to survive – for life”.

“You’re a genius”! , said the angel.

The Lord looked somber, “I didn’t put it there” He said.

~ unknown author ~

Article: What Happens When You Feel Nothing?

Yep – This article shares a perspective that only those who have been there can appreciate. Reminds me of a call I responded to for a rock climber who had fallen quite some distance and landed on his head. Needless to say, there was nothing for us to do – so we went back to the station and made spaghetti….

The last sentence of the article is perfect: “But I can’t help but wonder if we’ve already gone crazy.”

I think you have to be at least a little bit crazy to do this job. The trick is to keep from going completely crazy……



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