More Firsts, School and National EMS Week

A first occurred on my last EMS shift.  Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as the first I described in a previous post.  This first, while kind of annoying was interesting and, I’m sure, a true rarity in EMS.

My partner and I got woken up in the middle of the night for someone who was bleeding.  Right as I had gotten dressed and was about to zip up my boots, the phone rang again and we were told to cancel.  So, I get back in the bed and about 10 minutes later the phone rings again and we were told to roll after all.  So, we roll and as soon as we get out of the truck we’re met at the door by a very large man and I could tell that he was somewhat unhappy.  He tells us, “I told my son not to call you guys, I don’t need an ambulance.  Where do I sign so we can all go back to bed?”


I was in disbelief.  Not that we got called to a house and the patient refused (this had actually been happening on my truck all day) but rather that we went to a house in the middle of the night and got a refusal.  This does not happen!  I’ve gone to houses for itching, a hangnail and even trouble sleeping and wound up hauling those patients.  This person bled and still refused?

Shock and awe!

And in case you’re wondering, they really didn’t need us or to go to the hospital.  It was a scratch but the son was worried because it kept bleeding (however there was not much blood involved – more of annoyance on the patient’s part).

Just thought I’d share that little tidbit.  Again, I don’t hear much of getting a refusal when called out in the middle of the night and this was the first time it had ever happened to me.

I also need to vent a little.  Well, maybe “vent” isn’t the right term because I’m not mad about this situation.  I am disappointed but I honestly can’t say I’m mad about it.  Anyway… I was hoping to go to paramedic school this fall but it doesn’t look like I’ll be going (unless something changes by the end of this week).  The problem I ran into was my works schedule.  Unfortunately, arrangements couldn’t be made that would allow both days in my normal shift to be covered and that would allow me to work weekends while I’m in school.  As I said, it’s OK.  I’ll have more time to get more experience and to take a couple of classes I needed before I started medic school.  All of this should lead up to me being more prepared when I enroll next year.

However, this situation did give some food for thought.

When someone is hired by a fire or police department, they, of course, have to obtain their respective certifications.  The department pays their tuition and other school related fees, they provide them a vehicle or otherwise pay for their transportation to and from the academy and they pay their salary while they’re completing their training.  If any additional classes are required (such as EMT-Basic in the case of many fire departments), they pay their expenses and accommodate their schedule.  The thought I pondered is why isn’t EMS the same way?  Sure, we are different from the fire and police departments but ultimately we are also an emergency service.  I’m not saying that EMS agencies should pay for someone to take their Basic class but it sure would be nice for most places to at least help someone wanting to obtain paramedic licensure.  Not only that, they should be more apt to accommodating schedules.  I realize that EMS is a 24/7 operation and must be fully staffed at all times.  However, the fire and police departments can pull it off so why not EMS?

The consensus in an informal poll I did on Twitter seems to be that many agencies leave it up to the employee to arrange shift trades or to take personal time off (and still arrange for someone else to cover the shift)  in order to take their classes.  While I understand this, I could also see the want and need for EMS to be more like the fire and police folks, in that they’re more likely to encourage a Basic to obtain further training by accommodating at least one or two students’ schedules per year..

However, keep in mind that I’m a little biased in this right now and I’m looking at this mostly from my point of view.

In other news, next week is National EMS Week.  I’ll make another post about that (hopefully) over the weekend.  Think of ways that you’d not only like to be thanked for all the sacrifices you make for others but also how you can recognize peers who go above and beyond.  Also, look for opportunities to educate the public about just what it is that we do.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the EMS people, including my dad, who have had and continue to have a hand in my development as an EMT.  I appreciate you all more than you know.  I also appreciate those who got the EMS 2.0 movement going.  Even though I’m still learning, I know that EMS needs to be overhauled and I’m thankful to be able to say that, in some small way, I’m a part of all this thunder that’s being made in all corners of the U.S.

Rural EMT-B