Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Still the same

I have discovered the EMS blogging world in the last weeks. I have read a number of the blogs. There are new medic blogs, old medic blogs, funny blogs and sad blogs. All the stories, all the concerns and challenges they face every shift. It is as if I wrote them thirty years ago. So much has changed but so much remains the same. Worrying about putting a tube down. Working as a paramedic by yourself for the first time. Working on patients who die no matter how hard you work on them. It is all the same. I have experienced every single emotion and challenge I read about in those blogs. The street does not change. It still presents everyone with the same challenges it did in the 1970's. The equipment and training are better but the patients and the challenges they present are the same. We were making it up as we went back them. Even with all the experience and training of todays medics the street still demands that a good medic be able to make it up when something new and off the wall faces them. The struggle to become a good street medic continues through out your career. You struggle to care about your patients after you seen the same thing a thousand times. You try and steel yourself against seeing people die but you can end up walling yourself off from your patients. The challenges will always be there. It never gets easy or routine. Every time I got to feel comfortable think I had it all wired the street had a new surprise for me. The man with no arms (run over by a train). The plane crash in a tree with patients trapped. The man with no throat (a cancer that had "burst") for lack of a better term. Double shootings. Children with a gunshot would to the forehead where the bullet did not penetrate the skull.  Some many codes with so few saves. And so many more I have begun to forget them. Now after retirement it is good to know that there are good young people who are carrying on where us early guys left off. How do I know they are good because they are struggling with the right things. They are trying to get it right. They care. In the end that is all there is, the only things that counts is getting it right. The outcomes don't matter. The saves don't matter. What matters is getting it right. If you can treat each patient to best of your abilities and know you did your best then that is all there is. It was a difficult lesson for me, one that I cared too much for too long and it cost me. Eventually after much effort, I got so I could feel good about a call even after I had lost a patient, because I knew that I had provided the absolute best care that I could. I had given that patient the best possible chance of surviving. But they were too sick or too injured to save no matter what I did.  I demanded that level of care of myself and everyone else on the scene. I was a professional. If I was able to help someone, save someone then that was icing on the cake. The real challenge and it never slackens is to provide the best care possible. It is never easy. 

No comments: