Respect heals; Contempt kills

Once the patient becomes the focus of contempt, it’s time to go. You cannot view anybody under your care with contempt. Can’t be done. Once that line is crossed, your career as an EMT, Paramedic, Nurse, PA, Doctor or surgeon is over. O-V-E-R.


  1. Ridicule is a form of contempt, but still acceptable under some circumstances.

Disbelief another manifestation of contempt, but doesn’t cross the line.

Revulsion comes close.



Resignation all are acceptable alternatives.

Neglect, not so much.

Abandonment is unacceptable.


You can fight it, but in the end the patient always wins. It’s better to sit back, listen to their complaints, decide how best to treat, or not to treat them.

Speaking of treating them, treating them with contempt is a losing strategy. It makes them angry, and you feeling not so great about yourself.

If you do feel wonderful after treating somebody with contempt, well then, it is O-V-E-R.

I worked one of the busiest ambulances in the country in one of our nation’e poorset communities for a long, long time and still managed to to treat my patients with respect. Every one of them. Sure, it makes them feel better to be treated nicely, but if I had let bitterness and contempt into the rescue with me I’d have been gone a long, long time ago.

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