Thursday, July 28, 2011


Haven't posted in a while.

Had a house guest for a while, did a bit of traveling.  Been keeping busy, enjoying surviving the heat of summer.

Worked EMS at a music festival. Volunteers were explicitly and specifically prohibited from writing about anything that happened there. A little social media paranoia there, if you ask me, but it's not my call to make.  It's true that there are people who seem not to be bright enough to accurately decide what is appropriate to post and what is not, so I guess this is the simplest solution.

So I won't say anything about what I did or what I saw, as far as the events themselves.

I learned some stuff.

One of the things that struck me as interesting is something I've been talking to my students about, in what most would consider an unrelated field.  It has to do with practice, or preparation, or warming up.

Frequently, people do much better on a second try at something, having just had the chance to go through it once and be reminded of things.  Having had a "warm up" or "practice run."

The thing is, of course, that in "real life," it doesn't work that way. If you have a patient in cardiac arrest, and things don't go well, you don't get to try again.  You get the time you get with a patient, to do whatever you do, as far as assessment and management, and then they leave your hands to go to the next level of care. You can evaluate your performance, and see if there was anything you missed, or anything you might do differently next time, but you don't get to apply that to that most recent patient, but only to future patients.

When we get a call, we have developed a pattern of preparing for it We have from here to the station, and then from the station to wherever the call is. Sometimes, that could be ten minutes or more.  That's a LONG time.

We go over what dispatch said. We discuss whether we've seen the patient before, and if so, for what, and what happened. We plan who will do what on arrival. We review that particulars of the stated emergency, and remind ourselves what we need to be sure to ask or do.

It's a fairly good system.

But at the festival... we didn't go to patients; they came to us.

So instead of 5 or 10 minutes of preparation during travel, we got "here you go" as a patient was dropped into our laps, sometimes almost literally.

Quite a different experience. No prep time.

Which, of course, means we need to be doing more "prep time" in general, all the time.

Big lesson of the weekend:
Sometimes, we don't know nothing about nothing.

Or as that insurance company's ads go: Life comes at you fast.

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