It’s A Green Thing

One of the greatest things about being an EMS blogger is that we become acquainted with other providers from different systems and backgrounds that we otherwise might not have the opportunity to know. One such provider that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know along the way is Jonathan Tullos, a paramedic from Mississippi who also happens to be a United Methodist Church reverend. While he’s not focusing his blogging on EMS anymore, just like anyone else, there are events that will bring the provider out in him.

He recently blogged about a personal experience he had related to a fellow provider’s suicide in his post Code Green. Here is a brief excerpt I’d like to highlight:

Code-Green-Logo (1)There is a stigma in society in general but especially in EMS about seeking help for mental health issues. One is often seen as weak or as a poor provider for feeling that they need to seek counseling to help process bad calls or other issues. We’re told to “forget about it and move on.” This leads to EMS providers becoming bitter people. This leads to PTSD. This leads to suicide.*

It’s time to end this stigma. It’s time to admit that many of us are walking around with memories of calls which do effect our lives and our careers. It’s time to admit that many of us do need help and it’s time for us to stop telling our brothers and sister that they are less for seeking help. It’s time for EMS agencies to take their employees’ mental health seriously and to help them find the services that can save their lives. It’s time for us to take care of one another and stop judging and criticizing.

We have to have each others’ backs.

I really couldn’t have said it better myself.

Anyone who has heard me talk on the state of the EMS culture when it comes to mental illness knows my stance (and I’ve touched on it a bit about when talking about The Crushing Responsibility of Adultism) that we as an industry and a profession dedicated to helping others need to do a better job of helping one another. We need to be more accepting, more vigilant, and more proactive when it comes to each other. We need to be able to say definitively that yes indeed, we are our brother’s (or sister’s) keeper when it comes to their well being and we need to demonstrate that we care for each other as much as we do the complete strangers in need we run to on a daily basis.

There is a campaign that was started called the Code Green Campaign. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really mentioned it previously because I don’t know who is behind it. I’ve become wary and cynical in my old internet age of well meaning campaigns and movements that start off strong and then fizzle out with little to no change by people who I haven’t necessarily become acquainted with previously. It becomes a capacity issue for myself, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing good things that could benefit a lot of providers. So, with that said, be sure to visit The Code Green Campaign on your social media platform of choice:

Be well and good to each other…

Groupon’s #Ebolagedon Deal of the Day

As #Ebolagedon continues to escalate into a white foaming at the mouth frenzy the shopping site Groupon has this special Pandemic Virus Protection and Survival Kit Deal of the Day.

Pandemic_Virus_Protection_and_Survival_Kit_Deal_of_the_Day___Groupon

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, for the low low price of just $18.99 (plus $3.99 shipping and handling) you TOO can be protected from the PANDEMIC VIRUS!!! This kit includes everything you need! You get 4 anti-micorbial wipes (1-inch by 1-inch squares), 4 anti-bacterial wipes (1-inch by 1-inch squares), 4 antiseptic wipes (more of those 1-inch by 1-inch squares), 4 disposable thermometers (for those random people on the subway temperature checks), a package of tissues (just in case it’s a cold and not a pandemic), 2 pairs (for a total of 4) of nitrile gloves, 2 N-95 masks, AND a whole 2 fluid ounces of skell gel (hand sanitizer) that meets the TSA packaging requirements for fluids when you get onto the last airliner out of the United States as it collapses from the zombie apocalypse brought on by the pandemic!!!

The best part? It comes with it’s own case!!!

What. A. Steal!

Literally.

They’re stealing people’s money.

I’m all for preparedness. I’m all for education. I’m all for taking the proper precautions. I’m not for this over ballooned hype that results in charlatans selling more snake skin oil kits to an uneducated public. I also hate that I’m not seeing EMS agencies step up when it comes to educating their communities.

In EMS we always cite how HIPAA inhibits us from telling our story to our communities, from communicating our value, and from being recognized as the front line of illness and injury that we are. This whole episode with Ebola is a great illustration of how we could be doing that very thing by raising public awareness through sharing facts and maintaining calm in the storm for our communities. Instead we’re allowing the mass media to once again tell an over the top version of the facts and sensationalized headlines.

So while people go purchase that kit, the mass media crafts new fear inspiring headlines, and EMS agencies sit on their hands staring at each other complaining about how they don’t get the same respect as law enforcement or the fire service from their communities, I’m going to go find an Ebola patient to lick. Luckily there’s one nearby so I don’t have to go far and it happens to be at a hospital that I am intimately familiar with. There’s worse things I could be doing… like listening to Christmas music.

See you after the ebola zombie apocalypse…

Yet Another (Other) Reason Why EMS Is Not Taken Seriously By [INSERT OTHER PROFESSION HERE]

So The Ambulance Chaser has (Another) reason why EMS isn’t taken seriously. For the record, I happen to agree with him to a certain extent.

I would agree that one of our weak points is understanding the science behind what we do. However, I disagree that it’s only the EMTs and Paramedics who lack this understanding. I would venture to say that there are a large number of nurses and doctors, both in and out of EMS, who don’t fully understand the science behind what we do.

I would also agree that often times in our rush to change practice we’ll grab hold of only one piece of scientifically processed theorem and hold it aloft as the new testament to the standard of care. Hypothermia resuscitation is the most recent one that comes to my mind. The problem is that I think there is real value in the treatment, but I think that it is only one piece of the bigger puzzle. Putting hypothermia into a system without increasing the communities capacity to perform bystander CPR, having an aggressive public access defibrillation program, communicating these events through technology such as the Pulse Point app, and keeping response times down will be overall ineffective.

Too often we approach our challenges thinking there is a single solution instead of looking at it as the integrated system it is, requiring multiple tweaks and changes for an overall positive effect. There is no magic pill to solve it all, but for some reason we keep thinking we’re going to find it.

The part where I really (and when I say really I mean REALLY) disagree is the part where he says, “But EMS is medical practice. And medical practice is supposed to based upon science.

In_EMS_We_TrustYeeeaaaaaaah… no.

Medicine, even when based on science, is an art.

EMS medicine is no different and we’re kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. Our seeming inability to be flexible and dynamic in the care of the patient as an individual is what other professions will point to and argue that really all we’re doing is reading the manual, the cookbook, following the instructions or whatever other metaphor you want to insert highlighting our failure to think critically in such situations that require it. What’s worse is when we have providers who do just that, we look to scold, berate, and punish them for their decisions.

To be good at your art, you need to practice. Ask any artist… whether it be a writer, a painter, a piano player, or a dancer what the secret to their success is and they will most often point to two things. Sacrifice and practice.

We already sacrifice a lot for our art. Our bodies. Our minds. Our souls. We sacrifice for our art the same as the other artists do. We already practice heartily. We practice in a variety of settings. With a variety of subjects. We practice at all times of the day and night.

Yet we continue to measure our successes and failures by the highest standard of ROSC and very little else. This high standard gives us the false impression that we are failing… and when you are failing you can start floundering looking for anything and everything that may be able to turn that failure around. This creates the environment when every journal article that has just a whiff of scientific process, because science to most is infallible, should become the new standard because it’s “based on science”.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Now, don’t get all in a tizzy and think that I am against evidence-based medicine, because that is far from the truth. I will still hold the Cultists of Mechanism and their infernal Ceremony Of C-Spine Immobilization to task each and every time they try to torture those poor innocent vertebrae on that hard flat surface as if they were witches in Salem during the Salem Witch Trials.

My disagreement is that EMS, and medicine in general, is not easily defined by just one aspect. It is not just about the science, but also about the art. There is no one magic solution to our issues. It is going to take discoveries in the science, practice of the art, and change in the culture to bring us where we want to be.

Educate yourself on the science. Practice your art. Be open to change in both. Success will be ours. It’s a systematic solution to the systematic problem.

Answering The #ALSIceBucketChallenge To #StrikeOutALS

o… recently I was “tagged” or “nominated” or “challenged” to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by one of the supervisors at my agency.

Here I am meeting the challenge…

Ice Bucket CoverDoes it suprise anyone that I was a Film major in college?

So if you haven’t heard or seen anything about the #IceBucketChallenge, then seriously what rock have you been hiding under? The amazing part to me is that I remember seeing my friend Rotor Ray do it on Facebook what seems like months ago. Now it’s gained some serious traction and virality. The people at the ALS Association must be very pleased… over $70 million dollars has been raised through the campaign.

Viral Campaign Components

People often ask what it is that can make such a campaign viral. In my experience, every successful one has three key elements in common:

  1. Ease of Access – the media generated for the campaign has to be easily created and easily accessed
  2. A Positive Outcome – the campaign needs to strive for an improvement in the quality of life for a segment of the population, the bigger usually the better
  3. A Champion – there needs to be someone to really champion the cause at the onset to get it out as much and as wide as possible to increase the potential virality of the campaign

There’s also something here to be said about the long-tail effect of Social Media on these campaigns. I remember the first video I saw of this was of my friend “Rotor” Ray doing it at his station in West Virginia, and I feel like that was MONTHS ago. So even if you have all the right components it can take awhile to hit maximum velocity.

Honestly you can try to make something go viral, have all the components needed to go viral, but in the end it could be a flop compared to what your goal was. There are people who will tell you that they design for virality and can almost guarantee virality… notice I stressed the almost. In the end, there are no guarantees as to the levels of success of failures that your campaign will have.

The only thing that is guaranteed is that if you don’t try, you will absolutely never succeed.

Really.

EMS Comedy Sirens Renewed For Second Season On USA Network

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The Denis Leary produced EMS comedy Sirens has been renewed for a second season on the USA Network!

The British version of the series, based on Blood, Sweat, and Tea by recovering EMS Blogger Thom Reynolds and starring Richard Madden of Game of Thrones (Robb Stark) fame, only lasted for one season in the UK.


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