Beer, Baseball and Boobs: Things EMTs Are Not Paid To Dispense

September 10, 2016

I’d like to dedicate my belated worship of this piece by Elizabeth Spiers to every drunk male baseball fan who has accused me — an on-duty in-uniform EMT looking for patient distress in a sea of 40,000 people — of not “smiling pretty” for them. 

My breasts come with me to work because I was born with them, happen to like them and see no reason to hide them. My hair is in pigtails at work so it doesn’t fall in your blood and/or vomit. My smile is fantastic but I don’t get paid to flash it your way at work because you think you’re cute.

I love my work. You, on the other hand, have gotten on my last nerve, fellow fan.

I get paid to be “a professional.” Which is why I’m discouraged from telling you exactly what I’m thinking when you walk past my post, leer at me and put your hand on your chest complaining of a heart attack. Just so you know, though? That line might work better on one of my male colleagues because they haven’t heard it 6,000 times. They may have never heard it at all, since their mere presence seems to discourage your bad behavior, and that is also ridiculous.

I get paid to pick you up when you trip down the stairs you’re not looking at. I get paid to pack your nose when you misjudge your height and pick a fight over a foul ball with the wrong guy from Queens. I get paid to make sure you don’t choke on your vomit on the way to the hospital after ten too many $10 beers and I get paid to clean up after you, too.

Once you’re in my care, I even get paid to promise you my phone number in exchange for yours, which I will gladly do, so I can properly fill out the paperwork the hospital will need to treat you and alert your friends and family of your whereabouts.

It’s 911, by the way. Call anytime. Service guaranteed, smile not included.


EMS Transport Tips: Do Not Drop The Olympic Athlete

August 7, 2016

I thought the initial lack of at least splinting-in-place straight off was bad enough for poor French gymnast Samir Ait Said, who suffered an open tib/fib fracture while performing his second vault yesterday

But the medical staff did get around to it eventually, after removing him from the floor. 

Frankly, if I’ve learned anything working this year as an EMT in special events, it’s that personnel on scene make patient care decisions based on what they encounter on arrival. Judging those decisions from across the stadium, let alone across the world, is dicey. Every venue has their own protocols about how to handle patients based on event efficacy, liability, visibility, etc. 

Those concerns, whether providers like or not, are legitimate ones that have to be taken into consideration with event EMS. 

But then they DROPPED HIM. Said was halfway in the bus. Dude is 146 lbs. Unacceptable, no matter what.

TransCare Ambulance Co. Shuts Down Entirely Despite Tilton’s Promises

February 26, 2016

 So a couple of things. Tonight, the Daily News is singing the praises of “FDNY EMS crews work[ing] non-stop since Transcare bankruptcy,” a reference to the long-expected news this week that the private ambulance company would be  restructured under Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, shutting down its NYC 911 services and leaving an estimated 1,200 employees in the lurch. 

Not knocking FDNY for what I’m sure has had to be a step-up of their coverage, but let’s be clear—much of the city’s 911 system is served by private ambulance companies and volunteer services, and they’re picking up TransCare’s slack as well. 

Just because the general public, and much of the press, thinks 911 IS the New York City Fire Department, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t know better or bother to find out. 

Uniformed EMS Officers Union head Vincent Variale has been telling all who will listen, including WNYC this week, that FDNY should do away with the use of private and volunteer ambulance services because:

Peoples’ lives are on the line. We have to have something more dependable out there to service the people.

Something more dependable like FDNY? The EMS side of which is plagued by low morale and chronic underfunding, according to a 2015 report from the Citizens Budget Commission

FDNY’s own data, provided to the CBC, shows that EMS receives only 13% of FDNY’s annual budget despite being responsible for 75% of the entire department’s calls. How much of the FDNY’s calls are actual fires these days? A whopping 5%. Yet the department counts more than 10,000 firefighters on its payroll and only 5,500 EMTs and medics. 

Is relying on private agencies and volunteer organizations the safest bet? Certainly not when they’re run the way TransCare was. But it’s a necessity of the Fire Department’s own making. 

As for TransCare, it seems its employees have spent the week being led on by the beleaguered if bedazzled Lynn Tilton, CEO of private equity firm Patriarch Partners, TransCare’s owner. 

On Wednesday the agency’s employees were told the NYC 911 (including Westchester) divisions would be closed over a period of up to perhaps a month, putting over a thousand employees out of work with little notice. By Thursday, it became clear that the hoped for “wind down” was nonexistent and shut down would be immediate. 

Finally, late Friday evening, TransCare shuttered the rest of its divisions (the Hudson Valley including Dutchess County and Pittsburgh), which includes the jobs of the 700 employees Tilton praised herself for saving on Twitter:

So much for legacy and heart.