I returned last night from the EMS EXPO in Las Vegas. I love going to these EMS conventions. The classes are great. You meet new friends and get reacquainted with old ones. You get to hear the best speakers and get updated on all the latest research and ideas, and you can wander the convention floor and see all the new products. Also, as far as convention cities, Las Vegas obviously doesn’t lack for diversions.
Here are some of my trip highlights:
1. Dinner with Thom Dick. I was able to have dinner with one of my heroes, Thom Dick, the author of Street Talk and People Care. As I wrote about in this blog several months ago, Thom Dick’s writings have been very influential in my career, particularly as a new EMT. He set the example of the need to focus on the person.
2. Capnography Classes with Baruch Krauss and Bob Page. This was why I went out to Vegas. Baruch Krauss, a physician from Harvard, is the leading proponent of capnography in EMS. He has conducted research, written articles and given lectures on the subject. His class was packed to capacity, and was very informative.
Bob Page is a paramedic from Missouri, and one of the best lecturers I’ve seen. Many years ago I took a great 12 lead class from him. I wasn’t expecting to hear him, but one afternoon while wandering through the convention hall, I went by the Zoll booth and saw him as he was getting ready to give a 30 minute mini-class on capnography. I was one of five people who sat in on the class.
Both lecturers were excellent. I spoke to each of them very briefly after their talks and discovered they are both writing textbooks on capnography. Finally! I will be posting my notes on the lectures on my blog, Capnography for Paramedics. If you ever get a chance to hear either of these fine teachers, don’t miss the opportunity.
3. Drinking beers by the pool on the last day and then going to the Jeff Beck concert at the House of Blues. I stayed with an old friend of mine, who has worked in EMS at all levels from paramedic to clinical coordinator to state administrator. It was good hanging out with him – he introduced me to Thom Dick and some other interesting EMS people who I had read about but never met, and he got the best seats for the show. Jeff Beck is an enigmatic guitarist, who instead of pursuing fame, although he has plenty, has always chosen to play just what he wants regardless of commercial success. A peer of Clapton and Hendrix, a former member of the Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck group featuring Rod Stewart, he barely said a word to the crowd, just played his blazing guitar. He did an amazing version of the Beatles “A Day in the Life.” I always admire people, who do what they love, who pursue their own excellence regardless of what others think they should do.
I took a class called “What’s New in EMS,” which was a review of the latest research: According to the lecturer, capnography, pain relief, particularly fentanyl, CPAP and nitro for pulmonary edema, permissive hypotension for trauma, 12 lead ECGs, are all proving their worth. On the downside, lasix and Morphine for pulmonary edema, intubation for head injured patients, and amiodarone are not faring well in research.
As I mentioned the EXPO floor was akin to a Tijuana market with so many vendors competing for your attention.
There were a multitude of ambulances and rescue vehicles, hundreds of different mannequins, including a dog mannequin for animal CPR, training and data software vendors, all kinds of monitors and other gizmos. Here were my non-commercial favorites:
1. Safety Ambulance – a prototype with ideas from EMTs and medics on how to make the ambulance safer.
2. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) booth. – I’ve been in EMS for 18 years now and have never joined a national association. They signed me up and I am now a member.
3. The National EMS Museum – I gave them the requested $5 donation. The museum is just an idea now, but a needed one. I’m posting their web site, although it is still under construction. They plan to start with a virtual museum, and maybe one day get to the brick and mortal.
The next EMS EXPO is scheduled for Orlando in 2007. The next JEMS EMS Todayconference will be in Baltimore on March 6-10, 2007.