Out with the Old

I didn’t like who I had become. I knew I needed to step up my game, but had no idea how to do so. Then, a friend told me the secret.

 

“It’s not the situation, it’s the way you respond to the situation that matters. How you act is entirely up to you. You can think the world is ugly, unfair and useless, or you can think the world is beautiful, harmonious and full of opportunity. How you make your way in this existance is completely, 100% up to you, and nobody but you.”

 

wisdom

 

Responding to the hospital parking garage for a report of a 47 year old male complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing.

The old me said to himself, “this is ridiculous, sending an ambulance to a hospital!” and put himself into a self-righteous snit.

The new me says to himself, “poor guy, tried to drive himself to the hospital and almost made it.

My old partner would have driven like an idiot because it was nearly shift change, complained all the way to the patient and treated him with barely concealed contempt upon arrival.

My new partner, the one that I replaced my old partner with is asking questions, going over chest pain protocols, watching where he is going and getting us there quickly and safely.

The old team would have arrived on scene, put the patient into the truck, skipped treatment and delivered him to the ER as is where precious time would be lost as the triage team assembled their information and the man’s heart continued to die.

The new team took one look at the guy, immediately recognized an MI, assessed vitals before getting the man on the stretcher, had an IV going two minutes after arrival on scene, aspirin and nitro on board as soon as the initial EKG was done and transmitted, delivered the patient to the ER where the cardiac team had assembled and gave our report as he was wheeled to the cath lab. Seventeen minutes from time of dispatch to treatment.

Falling into an EMS rut is easy. Missing the opportunity to be great at what you do is easy. Failing your patients is easy. Being an idiot is easy.

Changing the way you operate simply by looking at a situation differently is even easier. Every call is potentially the real deal. Every patient needs help. Every responder needs to show up with the proper mental focus on every call. I managed to dump the old me and my old partner when we became stale and had become ineffective. It wasn’t hard, I just needed to change everything about the way I had been responding. Once I did that, everything fell into place.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  • So well put, Michael. I was a volunteer EMT for 15 years with my local FD. I am also a licensed professional counselor and have worked the mental health crisis response end of an ER, and done CISM response since 1987. I love the way you have very simply contrasted the burned out response to the reframed and refreshed one. I have worked with and responded to so many emergency service workers who have shut down because of the continued exposure to critical incidents over these many years. I know many who are still out there doing a great job because they went through critical incident stress debriefings and other CISM interventions, and some who sought counseling. I wish more would do that and be able to make the turn around that you write about so beautifully here.

  • Michael Morse says:

    Thank you Judith, I wish I had figured it out sooner, but at least I figured it out. Thanks too for the good work you do.

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Michael Morse

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Comments
bernie
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this is a subject that provokes an ethical debate. i am a long time medic and believe narcan should be available to everyone. we didnt make these people junkies, but I suppose everyone has a right to save themselves or their loved ones. your logic about not doing drugs is sound, BUT! do we still…
2015-06-22 10:20:00
Joe
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Calling from the parking lot or across the street, or even the waiting room because they haven't been "seen".
2015-06-19 14:22:27
Jay
13 things that drive a medic nuts…
That's awesome and so darn true! I got a good chuckle out of the fact that we are truly the only ones that can relate to these type of calls. I read your book it was great! Take care! Jay
2015-06-19 13:47:54
karl
13 things that drive a medic nuts…
I don't know where you serve, but this list is dead-on!!!
2015-06-19 05:21:15
Rolonne Marie Ross
13 things that drive a medic nuts…
Our E.M.T.s are our Guardian Angels in Canada and are revere most admirably except where our Govt is concerned .My favourite story comes from Prince Rupert B,C. ,where my friend's twin brother worked as a Paramedic.They got a call from a man whose father couldn't feel his feet.Paralysis from trauma was the first thought until…
2015-06-19 04:02:38

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