Its amazing the trust people give you. You’re a complete stranger to them, yet at the moment which is the worst part of their life’s they trust you 100 percent to be there for them. They relate you to god. They think you have this unspoken power to control fate. That some how some way you are invincible.
I agree with you 100% Its an awesome feeling to have someone walk up to you on the street and say thank you for saving my life, and I have no clue who they are but tell me the call.I know them..that 15 or 20 mins of having that feeling is worth all the blood the pain and tears we have to carry inside each of us..its worth all the BS
I agree with what most say. We do not have the para-god syndrome. those that do are dangerous. But yes the public does look up to us... greatly. anyone whos ever been in a school or any other type of pub ed will know this. and thats before the dreaded call to 911. I have never came accross the public who calls us paragods but have undying gratitude for the service whatever the outcome. We are the blessed ones who answer the call of the needed.
People put us in a catagory that is way up there. As everybody knows, It is good to see patients are doing well, Long after the call. I seen one of my patients the other day from about a year ago where I delivered her baby, And she thanked me again. That made my day!. There are some people who could care less for what we do,Even in a time of need. There was a call where the patient really needed to go,But the patient refused to let us check him out. He stated he did not want our help, And he wanted us out. So we left, And the whole time walking out to the truck I could here him cursing us out. The next day he died. I will never know why he hated us. Anyway, A majority of people do care. I hope that did not put a damper on everybody. Talk at ya later.
I appreciate the confidence that people give us but we are just people helping people that are in desperate needs. We do this out of the hope that the courage and knowledge we are given will help us to better someone elses life.
Sometimes the easiest person to talk to is a stranger. Am I God, not even close. I can't control fate only try to fix what fate has given a person. And finally I am not invincible, I am flesh and blood.
I really dont think it has anything to do with the paragod syndrome. That idea has been around since the time when medics started to think they could do anything, save any life. They forget that we all used to be ambulance drivers or ambulance men and there is a pervading mindset among many of our EMT-P brothers and sisters that they charge in like a night on a white horse, start a line, push a drug, get a rhythm and all is well. Its not really their fault, though, for the most part. That's how people treat them. You come screaming up to their house in the middle of a freezing cold night, get out of the rig, retrieve the med box and O2 tank and sometimes you literally sweep their loved on off their feet and off to safety and care.
One thing that was taught to me by my EMT instructor (a retired 36 year veteran EMT and Paramedic and former Navy Corpsman) that has served me well in the field is that we dont practice emergency medicine in EMS, we perform emergency medical interventions. Stop gap measures until a higher level of care can be reached. In the days when ambulances were hearses painted white, all we did was run up to the house, put the person on a litter, take them back out to the "hearse" and go like hell to the hospital. Really nothing medical about it. Now we do a little more. We can literally jump start hearts, electrically and chemically, we can stop deadly allergic reactions in their tracks, bring someone out of diabetic shock. You have to admit that to the family looking on its all pretty impressive. For us, its algorhythms.
I had an experience about a year ago that drove this home. My unit (C-34) got this call "elderly male, unknown medical, pt in status epilepticus." Well thats not good. We were three minutes from the scene. We pulled up and the whole family was standing in the living room minus the mans wife who was in the basement rec-room with him. He had a fresh craniotomy scar and was seizing to beat all hell. EKG goes on, sPO2 is taken, vital signs measured. All of this looks very impressive to the family. Medic gives 4mg of ativan IM and the seizures slow way down, at which point the medic decides its scoop and run. The cot wouldnt fit down the basement, and neither would the stair chair. This poor little, elderly man weighed probably 85 pounds soaking wet. The medic turned to me and said "Can you carry him?" I didnt know but I gave it my best shot and carried him up two flights of stairs and to the waiting rig. The doors of the rig were open as we strapped him in, gave more ativan, hooked him up to a bunch of machines and drove off. To somebody who doesnt know what they are looking at, that must look pretty impressive. But its really just another reminder given to me by my paramedic mentor: If A doesnt work, go to plan B. If plan B doesnt work, go to plan C. If plan C doesnt work, IMPROVISE. He gave us all t-shirts when we graduated that said EMS: Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. Thats really what we get paid to do. Walk into some of the most hideous situations imaginable, do our best to maintain a look of calm and we improvise. Because God or the universe or whoever is fighting to take that person and we are fighting just as hard to keep them. Sometimes the universe wins. But an awful lot of the time, our training kicks in and we do just the right combination of things to keep someone's loved one from dying. You gotta admit. That looks pretty invincible.
I had a woman once tell me that she prayed to God for her little boy but we saved him. I gave her the old axiom about doctors: God saves the patients. We just collect the fee. They do relate us to God alot of the time and if youre really good at what you do, and do it right 99% of the time, you might start to feel like God. When the disaster team I am on went to Katrina and triaged, treated and evac'd (along with members of other DMATs, the USCG, the USPHS and a million other responders) 33,000 people in 17 days, that looks an awful lot like something only God could do. And in truth, if those patients had come to their time to die, there wouldnt have been anything we could have done to stop it.
Dont ever take it for granted that they trust you even though they have never see you before. And dont forget that if their loved on dies in your arms as happened to me on March 23, 2007, they might blame you. So do the best you can, remember that you arent invincible and ALWAYS do your best to be worthy of the trust they place in you. The fact that you can see that they do puts you ahead of alot of other responders. Dont ever lose that. God saves the patients. We just take the fee.
You sure have touched on a common subject in EMS. Paramedics dont save lives. EMTs dont save lives. As my craggy old VietNam vet/Navy Hospital Corpsman instructor told me "God saves the patients. We take the fee." But the families dont see it that way. They just see the bright lights and hear the sirens and seen us come through the door in fancy uniforms, open up our box of drugs, start a line, maybe even send electricity through someone's heart. To them it looks like we must be God because they have probably never seen anything like that before. But as my Navy Corpsman instructor also told me: "We dont practice emergency medicine in the field. We practice emergency interventions." All we can do is use the equipment out agency provides us with, follow our algorhythms and when that doesnt work, we improve. Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. Thats really the best we can do. To a certain extent, I understand the Paragod syndrome. If you could stick something in somebody's vein and reverse and overdoes or put a few thousand volts across their heart and make it beat again, and you did this day in and day out, you might start to feel like sort of a god. All I know is that I have don things in the field that Im not really good enough to do. Whether it was God, or the Universe or just the starts lining up right, someone or something decided it wasnt that patients time to go and they decided to use my hands and the skills I have learned, or yours, or your partners to prevent the loss of that life on that day.
On March 23, 2007, God or the universe or whoever decided to take a 66 year old man away from me as I pumped his chest and the medics pumped more drugs than most pharmacies have. His family watched as we worked on him for 22 minutes. We would get a run of three ugly beats, and then asystole. More drugs. A few shocks when his heart decided it would try v-fib for awhile. In the end, as my partner and I picked him up to put him on the cot, he left us. 15 more minutes of compressions and drugs on the way to the ER and he was pronounced dead at 0245hrs, March 23, 2007. He was 61 years old.
We have absolutely no power to control fate. But your right: it sure as hell looks that way to the family. You should have seen their faces when his heart would fool us with a few agonal beats. On another call, we had a seizure patient and after several rounds of ativan, he stopped seizing and opened his eyes. The cot wouldnt fit down the stares into the basement living room and neither would the stair chair. So the medic and I carried this 90 pound man with a fresh craniotomy scar on his head up two flights of steep stairs and into the ambulance. As we drove to the hospital his vitals improved, he talked to us, joked with us...but it could just have easily have gone the the other way. But on that day, God, or the universe or whoever saved his life. We just collected the fee.
What the families often dont see is the messy, ugly part. The blood on the cot from multiple IV sticks. The urine we had to clean up when our seizure patient lost bladder control. The family of our cardiac patient didnt see the pre-cordial thump we used on their father, desperately trying to beat the living daylights back into him. For a few minutes at a time, the Universe decides to put the life of someone else in our hands. Sometimes it works and sometimes it slips through our fingers. And just as much as those families see us as some sort of Gods when it all goes right, they can just as easily see us as devils when it goes wrong. So if you always do your best, whether the patient lives or dies, you have done your job very well. Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.
Sorry about the double post. I wrote the first one and it didnt post. So I tried to remember what I had written and when I posted that, it posted both of them. I tried to delete the second one but it would let me. Oops. Sorry folks.
In this world of today, when the majority of people think "turning the other cheek" means turning and walking away from someone in need. This brotherhood and sisterhood "WE" belong to, don't just stop to help them, we RUN to help them. That, in of itself is what makes them feel they are going to be OK. I'm still trying to get over the day someone replaced Patient Care with the term "Customer Service". I know they say it means the same, but I'm old and I remember why I started doing this in the first place.
I am not sure that people relate us to god as much as just pure good. Why else are people so damn suprised when they hear of a firefighter/emt/cop that committs a crime? But like others say, we all have our faults and in the end we are just trying to do everything we can to make sure that our patients can have a chance at walking out of the hospital. Sometimes there is just that one patient that we can try everything on and nothing helps.