Monthly Archives: November 2015

Black Friday Sales for EMS

You never hear a paramedic yell “yeah, its a holiday weekend!” Holidays simply don’t have the same meaning to the people who work in EMS than they do to the rest of humanity. But, hey, we are human too. To paraphrase Shakespeare in Act 3 of The ‘Medic’ of Venice, “if you lacerate us, do we not hemorrhage?”

Besides bleeding, one of the other things we have in common with the rest of the public is that we love a good deal. However, many of us will be working at some point during this Thursday’s celebration of gratitude for the things we have (and the day after which celebrates bargains on the things we don’t yet have.) So, I have searched for a few of the specials that you can grab this week even if you are working “on the bus” this Friday.

Dixie EMS Supply is having a Tactical Black Friday Sale on lots of fun things like tourniquets, bandages, shears and more. Chief Supply is offering discounts all week on boots, gloves, and duty gear. But most importantly, JEMS is offering an unprecedented discount on training, knowledge, and networking with your peers. Until midnight on Sunday, November 29, you can save an additional $75 on top of the Early Bird Discount of $100 for either a GOLD or SILVER pass to the EMS Today conference. The event for this coming year will be held in Baltimore on February 25-27.  You don’t even need to leave your house (or ambulance post) to save money with this deal. Simply register for the conference and enter the promo code: BLACKFRIDAY.BlackFridayHeader1 (3)

If you miss the Sunday deadline, don’t worry, you can still save $100 through January and also be registered for a monthly drawing during November and December for an iPad Mini – but only if you register by using the promo code: HPEMS.

I hope to meet you in Baltimore! But if you know of any further deals offered this week that would be of interest to medics, feel free to add it in the comments below. Enjoy the holidays!


Filed under Administration & Leadership, Conferences, News, Training & Development

On the Shoulders of Giants

As we go about our routine business each shift, it can be easy to forget that we are involved in a field of healthcare that is still relatively young. Our history as a unique discipline has only recently been documented through the efforts of  the National EMS Museum, which is itself just in its infancy. It is also interesting to me to that many current practitioners still remember using equipment that is featured as historic innovations in the museum’s new mobile app. Additionally, the television show that inspired many of us to enter the field of emergency paramedicine, called Emergency!, which lasted seven seasons starting in 1972, is still available in reruns on antenna television.medgiants

The unfortunate side of all of this recent history is that some of the pioneers who were instrumental in forming our field are passing away. Just last month, Dr. Walter Graf, a cardiologist who founded the Daniel Freeman paramedic training program in Los Angeles and personally outfitted a “mobile critical care unit” in a 1969 Chevy van, died at the age of 98.

However, there is also a positive aspect of our current period of growth and development. That fortunate side is that we still have instrumental players with us that can, and should, be recognized for their contributions. These are the folks who can probably quote Sir Isaac Newtown in saying that, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” These men and women are transforming our work to include the scheduling of preemptive visits known as Community Paramedicine, or Mobile Integrated Healthcare. They are introducing new protocols and tools to prevent further injury to our patients and recognizing the extent of medical conditions even earlier during our interventions. They are working toward alternate endpoints or definitive treatments in the prehospital setting. They will be recognized with awards such as the  EMS 10: Innovators in EMS or with the prestigious James O. Page Award at the EMS Today conference in Baltimore early next year. But who are they? Well, that is where you can have an impact. Nominations are open through the end of this month for all of these awards and you can play a role in ensuring that these innovators are properly recognized by sending their stories to the nominating committees. This is your chance to help make history and recognize those who are making our future a reality.

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Filed under Administration & Leadership, Command & Leadership, Conferences, EMS Topics, News, Training & Development

EMS as the Halloween of Healthcare

Just as each year transitions at harvest from abundance toward its inevitable end, we in the prehospital field often usher lives fraught with medical disorder or trauma from normalcy toward a cold, strange world. We wear uniforms with our stoic masks and find nature’s trickery affecting strangers who beg us for treatment.

Beyond the surface, the history of Halloween also parallels our profession’s path. Long ago, Pope Gregory ordered his missionaries not to destroy the traditions of potential converts. Instead, he recommended that his followers morph those practices into new forms of belief. Pagan and Christian traditions merged: a spring festival, a decorated tree, a time of renewal. The Celtic Samhain, a day when the veil between the present world and the world of the dead wears thin, became All Hallow’s Eve, and the day after it, All Saint’s Day. It was a gradual process, and the new holiday took an existing religious tradition in its own direction.

The development of Emergency Medical Services was just as incremental. The lofty goal of caring for the sick at the point of their injury was incorporated within the existing local government structure and within a budgetary process that allowed only for law enforcement and firefighting activities within public safety. It was a time when privately funded funeral homes delivered the dead and dying victims to hospitals. A system that was merely appropriated to address a new function. Even today our improvements on this system come not as much as acts of creation, but as steps built upon pre-existing logic. If society had created a mobile healthcare system from scratch, I doubt it would resemble much of our current model.

Like the Druid converts, we worship all sorts of sacred trees in the form of protocols and algorithms. These ideas are sprinkled with the holy water of a national physician group, and blessed by a local Medical Director. One who may not even believe it is the best actual treatment. He complies simply because upending tradition risks disenfranchisement and the toppling of an entire system of makeshift steps and opens himself to judgement.

Will the idea of strapping a patient to a flat, ridged board and transporting them for miles in the back of a vehicle based only on the method of his injury be looked at one day in the same light that we now view blowing tobacco smoke into a patient’s rectum? The fault, however, is not wholly his own. Meaningful change cannot be enacted solely from above. If faithful followers want evidence as the basis of practice, they must be willing to change their behaviors to match their beliefs. They must look beyond anecdote and set aside long-held tradition and recognize that working a cardiac arrest on scene has proven value over the immediate application of high flow diesel with ineffective CPR while en route to a cath lab. They must choose evidence-based practice and not simply beg at the door for treats.

There is no doubt that our profession will change. There is promise in community involvement by paramedics to pre-empt emergency calls for transport through Mobile Integrated Healthcare. There is value in offering alternative endpoints for definitive medical care to lower costs and reduce traffic in the emergency department. Practically, development will need to happen within a framework of the system we have in place, but significant change also means significant sacrifice of beliefs. We may even need to accept heretical ideas such as a professional degree. The first step, however, is to leave Halloween behind us.


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Filed under Administration & Leadership, Command & Leadership, EMS Topics, Funding & Staffing, Opinion, Training & Development