If you have at least one friend on Facebook that is involved in EMS, then you have been, most likely, bombarded with posts about “EMS Week”. See, the thing is, there is a section of emergency services that remains invisible- Emergency Medicine….we aren’t cops and we definitely aren’t firemen….we are EMTs and Paramedics out on the streets day and night…waiting for the call. That call could be for someone having a heart attack, someone in labor, a car accident or a host of other unimaginable tragedies that most people run from…yet our job requires us to run in even on calls where we want to tuck tail and run…this is EMS.
Now, I work EMS in a relatively small city. We have a very dense population but we still have that sensation of “everyone knows everyone”. You want to know what’s worse than running into tragedies? …What about running a call and realizing that the patient is a family member, friend or coworker?
We have this amazing mechanism….at least anyone who has stayed in EMS a while…to dissociate and not see a person but rather see a training scenario. It sounds brutal but we dont work a job where we can be emotional. What happens when knowing the patient takes down that defense ?
One year ago today, our county suffered a tremendous and ground shattering loss. One of our charge nurses and her sister in law (a sheriff deputy in our county) was killed by her father in law. I personally did not work this day. I was suppose to but I was sick that morning and stayed home. They were killed in the same county they worked…we are a small town.
Word spread fast and sadness and anger whipped through the community but especially the EMS, PD , Fire and Hospital community. The effects are still felt within our EMS community and I find it ironic that the first day of EMS Week this year falls on the anniversary of such a horrible time.
If you don’t know about what EMS does, come talk to someone sitting in a ambulance one day. We may have had a really bad day and could use a friendly gesture. Let EMS Week be a way to educate everyone of not only the bad things we see and work through but also the amazing things that we do.
I am very thankful for the experience that EMS has given me. Everyday is a new challenge with new expectations. I am thankful for every partner that I have shared a truck with and I am thankful for the calls, laughter and tears that I have shared with them.
Happy EMS WEEK!