Syndicated Columnists

Blind spots: Distracted driving in EMS

Syndicated Columnists - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:15
By Meg Chandler and J. Todd Sheridan Motor vehicle collisions continue to pose a significant risk to EMS providers and our patients. Some agencies have responded to this risk by addressing factors that can contribute to aggressive driving. But we must also avoid neglecting the impact of distracted driving. According to a recent report, distracted driving led to 3,477 deaths and an estimated additional ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Routine, uneventful, extraordinary

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 08:21

I wrote down a lot of things during my time on the streets, glad I did, some things are worth remembering…


She’s ninety years old, a widow and bleeding uncontrollably from a surgical incision on the right side of her face. She had a “bit of skin cancer” removed earlier in the day.

“Are you my favorites?” she asked, squinting.

“Not yet,” I replied.

“I love your haircut,” she ×mentioned to John, my partner tonight. We were both working overtime at Rescue 5. To say that John is folliclly challenged is an understatement. He bent to help Marcia to our stretcher and she impulsively rubbed his smooth head.

“She is in her glory,” said Marcia’s granddaughter from a few feet away as the guys from Engine 5, myself and John helped her along. John was obviously her favorite.

“What is your name?” she asked him.


She nodded her head, storing the information in her mind with the other ninety years worth of names, faces and memories.

We controlled the bleeding and headed out. Marcia’s granddaughter was unfamiliar with Providence, we transported “Code C” so she could follow.

“Is Sarah still with us?” asked Marcia, concerned, looking out the rear windows as the city sped past, backwards.

“We’re trying but we can’t shake her,” I answered, conspiratorially.

“She’s good,” replied Marcia, laughing.

We arrived at Roger Williams Medical Center a little past midnight. We lifted her from our stretcher to theirs, seldom a gentle experience and this was no exception. Marcia grimaced for a second then settled in. She took my partner’s hand in her own and as we left said, “thank you, John.”

Routine, uneventful, extraordinary.

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Top EMS Game Changers – #6: Computer-based training

Syndicated Columnists - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 08:29
As a paramedic on the high side of 60, I sometimes have to defer to my much younger colleagues for day-to-day perspectives on new medical technology. Ultrasound and ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) were never found on ambulances when I joined EMS. Once in a while, though, I might surprise our newest and brightest with been-there-done-that tales reaffirming the notion of old medics as occasionally ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

So young. So positive.

EMScapades Cartoon - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 13:18

Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

Enjoy the mundane EMS interactions

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 09:09

“…Every patient contact has the potential to be one of the memories that you will cherish long after you hang up your neatly pressed uniform for the last time. People are the only reason you are here. Never lose sight of that simple fact. Every time you respond to a call, a person is the reason.

They are the threads that create the tapestry of your career, each one having a place in the intricate weave that you will not completely see until it all comes together. Believe that it is coming together, thread by thread, creating something breathtaking. You will see it when it is time, and the experience will be well worth the patience needed to keep it all together…”

~Michael Morse

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

What to do when an emergency responder loses their cool

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 11:38
The coach on the soccer field a few feet behind me was screaming at the referee, insulting the 10-year-old players on both teams and threatening the opposing coach. Like most soccer complexes I've been to, the benches for adjacent fields were back to back. His escalating anger and verbal tirades had the rapt attention of every 10-year-old and spectator in a four-field radius. He was out of control ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

The 8 things I'd tell my 21-year-old EMS self

Syndicated Columnists - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 08:24
I struggled through far too much of an overall satisfying career in EMS. Looking back, it is easy to see where I went wrong. I wasted much of my youth being young and idealistic. I still have those ideals; somehow they remained intact, but experience changed my expectations. The job has remained the same, I’m a little different. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Just the basic necessities

EMScapades Cartoon - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:06

New comics every Tuesday and Friday!

Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

How to prevent, manage knee pain in EMS

Syndicated Columnists - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 07:49
The day starts out like every other shift. You check the truck and your gear, then climb the steps to the day room for a cup of coffee. As you reach the top step, you feel a sharp pain in your left knee. Before you can give it a second thought, a call comes in. As you head back down the stairs, the knee feels OK, but as you climb into the cab to respond, the knee gives you a sharp pain again. The knee ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Firefighters taking it too far? Never!

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 09:17

My first night in a fire station they set me on fire. I woke to smoke and flames, and twelve idiot firefighters surrounding my bunk, with idiot # 1 holding a pressurized water extinguisher, which he used to extinguish the “code red” in my bunk. It was just a few newspaper pages that were set ablaze on my chest as I dozed, but to a person waking from a fitful slumber it appeared the world was on fire.

Thanks to Paul Combs for the image.

It was a good prank, and I fell in with the guys after that, and we got down to business.I was the junior man, and had to answer the phone and doorbell, do most of the dirty work and such, but it was a rite of passage, not a burden.

Pranks are great, and putting somebody’s bunk on cans, or filling between the sheets with shaving cream. or setting an elaborate trap so that the next person through the door gets a bucket of water on their head, or whoever turns on the kitchen sink getting a shower from the rubber band modified spray atattchment is all in good fun, but sometimes things get a little out of hand.

A relentless barrage of ball-busting wears a person down, and the fun goes out the window, and good people become guarded, and afraid to, as we firefighters so often state, “fuck up.”

After a fire, when three civilians are heroically rescued, a home saved and a kitten taken from a tree, the banter at the firehouse should be comfortable and happy, with a lot of “atta boy’s” cast about, but all too often it becomes a “who fucked up fest.”

I think most people would rather share a good natured laugh with friends rather than a chuckle at somebody else’s expense. I know I would. I never did much hazing, but endured plenty. Complaining brought on more, reporting the hazing guaranteed a career of misery, and fighting back did little to stop it, it just got worse. Not wanting to show up to the best job in the world shows that something has gone dreadfully wrong, and often the ball-busting is the culprit.

But I guess real men don’t complain, and enjoy being tortured daily, or laughing at somebody else who is the target. Real men take it, and dish it out, or watch the shenanagins while trying to stay out of sight of the few who carry on the time-honored tradition of demeaning everything a co-worker does in the name of camradarie.

So, in the name of that kind of behavior, I say “fuck camradarie, I’d rather be left alone.”

And that is what happens when people take a little hazing too far.

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Why Patient Outcomes Are Important To Know

EMS Office Hours Podcast - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 13:58

This week on the show I wonder why we don’t get any feedback unless:

A –  we seek it out or
B – it serves some in house agency purpose.

Take a listen and think about how knowing more about the patients we transport “afterwards” can help us all.


Have you discovered the Turbo Medic PHD? Watch this behind the scenes video on what it is and how you can claim yours. Click here to watch it now. 

Scorching heat, wildfires bake US West over holiday weekend - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 12:05
In Los Angeles, a wildfire just north of downtown had grown Saturday to the largest in city history

Screaming Eagles

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:46

Flashback Friday; When is a firefighter no longer?

Is it the day he puts in his papers?

The last night in the station?

Driving away from the station after the final shift?

When he says, “I’m home,” and stays there?

Or is it when the fire in his heart diminishes and the thrill of responding to emergencies in the dead of winter is no longer there, but he does his job and leads by example and never lets “the kids” know that he knows the end is near?

Is it when the thought of working a holiday is no longer acceptable, and unused sick or vacation time begins getting used?

Or when “the tones” at 3:00 a.m. sound like the bells of hell rather than a subtle way to say get up, get dressed, and get on the truck?

Is a firefighter through when he makes rank?

Or if he chooses a different career path, like EMS or Fire Prevention?

Or arson investigator?

Is a firefighter no longer a firefighter when the years of injury finally make it impossible for him to do his job without putting himself, his crew, and the people he is sworn to protect in danger?

Does he become less of a firefighter if he retires on a disability?

It’s none of those things. A firefighter is no longer a firefighter when he stops breathing. Then he is a dead firefighter. Three days later, he will be a dead and buried firefighter. Then, he will live forever with the rest of the firefighters who came before him and lived the life and loved the job even when it became more and more difficult to feel it the way they once did.

A firefighter is no longer a firefighter only when he chooses to no longer be a firefighter. Nobody can make that choice but the firefighter. What makes a firefighter a firefighter resides deep inside, and nobody can change that unless the firefighter chooses it. Simply hanging up the turnout gear for the last time does not strip a firefighter of his status.

Nobody can take away the things that make us firefighters. Nobody can strip us of our memories, our heart and soul, or our willingness to put it all on the line when needed.

Nobody can take the friends we make during our journey away.
Nobody can make us forget those friends we have lost.

Being a firefighter is for life. There is no such thing as a retired firefighter. We can’t even die without being remembered as a firefighter. And after living the life, and feeling the heat, and knowing exactly how good it feels to do the job, who would want to?

Thanks to Eric Norberg for the great image.

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

EMS trauma care: ABCs vs. MARCH

Syndicated Columnists - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 09:02
Everybody knows the ABCs of patient care, but when it comes to trauma priorities, now there's a better way. Whether you are learning, teaching or practicing EMS care, the ABCs are a pretty good guide. They prioritize airway, breathing and circulation in an easy-to-remember-format applicable in most situations. But even great rules have exceptions. Difficult trauma calls often start with more problems ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Remembering the important details

EMScapades Cartoon - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 08:45

New comics every Tuesday and Friday!

Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

Inside EMS Podcast: Why did you become a caregiver?

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 10:40
<!--cke_bookmark_116S--><!--cke_bookmark_116E--> Download this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed ​​In this Inside EMS Podcast episode, co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss their funniest calls they have encountered, as well as the one call that caused them to be better caregivers. Learn more about the EMS1 Academy and schedule a free demo.
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

EMS Artwork: London Ambulance Service Incident Response Unit personnel

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 08:16
See all of Daniel Sundahl's photos.
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Meaning and Purpose

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 07:41

I wrote this for the medics and EMT’s out there who find themselves in a rut. Trust me, it’s not all for nothing…

There comes a time when you have already done more than you are going to do, and when that time comes for you, I hope that you can look back and remember how good it was, and how it felt, and the difference that was made in countless lives because you were there.

There’s a certain kind of magic that happens when one person is responsible for the care of another, and the person hurting is comforted by the person healing, and the two bond as only people in those circustances can.

Of all the health care professionals that practice medicine, I think EMS personell do far more with their training and education than the rest. Nobody in the chain of treating sudden illness or accident victims does more with less. We do not have the luxury of support staff, or somebody watching over us who knows more; for the time spent on scene and during transport there is only us, the patient, and for me, a higher power who keeps me calm, and lets what I do know flow, and keep the poor soul dying on my stretcher breathing for a little while longer than he would have without me.

It’s heady stuff when I stop and think about it, and now that I have more time behind me than ahead, I have a lot of time to think about it. The best part of looking back is all the frustration, sadness, and pain dissipates like morning mist when the sun breaks through, and the memories, without fail remind me that because of what I did, my life had meaning, and purpose.

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

The Kids are Alright

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 10:03

Give kids a chance and they will deliver; not all millenials and whatever the next generation is called are crippled by their parents and society’s new rules, most of them are just like everybody else, just living their lives as they unfold, and rising to the occasion when the opportunity presents itself.


Categories: Syndicated Columnists


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