It has been a busy year and to be honest, I haven't had time to write much. The amazing thing is that I truly enjoy this and hope that my audience does as well. So given that it is the holiday season and a time for reflection, I am going to reflect now and hopefully provide some insight.
This has been a year of momentous change. My wife and I have changed states and she changed employers, for a major improvement. This year brought an end to an association I have had since I first obtained my paramedic cert. The hospital I functioned under the longest no longer has any affiliation for me. In fact I no longer associate with any Illinois based EMS agency. This has been a breath of fresh air, as the more I am free from Illinois, the more I see how bad it really is.
I have made steps to improve my health and happiness which are both working out well. The reality is, that without the above move, I would never have been able to accomplish this. I am more in control and have better support than I have had in a long time.
Now this is mainly an EMS blog and I am going to continue on EMS here. The more I see of Illinois EMS the more I now understand why the Indiana hospitals I transport to looked at me like I was an idiot. There has to be a standard change in EMS starting yesterday. Where to start, well read on my friend.
Let us begin with the term paid on call. If you are running an advanced service the term paid on call should be nowhere in your salary description. For that matter, Volunteer should not be there either. I know some fine volunteer paramedics, but in rural Illinois, professionals are needed. Now this change means that these counties might have to either drop back to Basic Life Support or, gasp fund EMS. This is the reality of the situation. Now, there is the flip side of this, no service should have their employees showing up in faded holy jeans looking disheveled and unkempt. Nothing says I am going to help you more than looking like the guy or girl who looks like they are going to a bar or about to mow the lawn. Appearance and attitude matter.
Next, accountability, if you are operating on an ambulance you are functioning under the orders of a physician. If said physician is not involved in service there is a problem. If you can't pick your Medical Director out of a line up, how can he have any clue what type of provider you are. This is the reality I have learned. Every agency should have a regular chart review, with said physician involved, as a part of their yearly continuing education. If your reviewing charts monthly and presenting case studies, Medics know that poor care will be noted and exemplary care will be acknowledged. This accountability also allows for protocols to be reviewed because it will show a need for changing them in a more expedient fashion
Finally, vehicle operations, I work in a city that a lot of Illinois services transport to. That means I get to see you coming in lights and sirens. You are likely driving too fast, not using Due Regard, and honestly not needing them most of the time. This has to stop. Not, this isn't entirely your fault. Rural Illinois EMS has this culture that Lights and Sirens are important. Well, considering the wealth of evidence that says time is not usually of the essence and that in a lot of those time sensitive situations, the Lights and Sirens create more problems due to anxiety and increased likelihood of an accident, stop it. I really do not want to respond to an ambulance accident, especially if it is someone I know. Oh and if it is a BLS transport, there is literally no reason to have those stupid things on.