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Two weeks ago, it was Black Jack. This week it is OMG. Oh, My G**. The woman lays on a parking lot sidewalk behind the school. Her face is blue and she is only breathing one or two times a minute. She is wearing tight spandex and bright pink tank top. She has tattoos on […]

Black Jack

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I did three heroin ODs on one shift last week. Another medic did four in a shift the day before. Lots of OD calls going out. All three of these ODs used the same brand. Black Jack. For years, dealers in the Northeast have been branding their supply, stamping or printing it on the glassine […]

Three Lives

The heroin epidemic continues unabated in Hartford. I called the time on two fatal overdoses in a recent week. Both men were in their 40’s. One was in a low-rate motel. He sat by the window in his breeze-less room, the curtains pulled just enough so he could see the cars rolling past on the […]

Cat Burglar

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One of my greatest joys on the job is the opportunity to play cat burglar. By this I do not mean the opportunity to break into homes to steal jewelry and works of art. I am talking about the chance to break into homes to rescue people (with police permission). The person has fallen and […]

Sinners and Saints

As each of us will ultimately find ourselves before our god, many will find themselves before their paramedic. But unlike their god, their paramedic does not sit in judgement. We treat all of our patients the same. That is the creed. The man in the Mercedes Benz gets the same care as the man pushing […]

Conrad Castonguay

Conrad Castonguay died this week at 81. In 1992-93, he helped teach my paramedic class. Pharmacology was his specialty. He wasn’t a paramedic, but he knew what he was talking about and we paid him mind. He was a challenging instructor, and took his work seriously. It became an honor for paramedics to say they […]

EMS Sports Pages

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When I started in EMS, the term “EMS Sports Pages” referred to the Obituaries. It was where we turned to see how our critical patients did. Get pulses back on a cardiac arrest or bring in an unresponsive patient with multiple trauma from an MVA or a seizing patient with left sided paralysis, you checked […]

Tell Me Exactly What Happened

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I just finished reading an interesting book, Tell Me Exactly What Happened, which will be published in September by the Minnesota Historical Press. It is the second book by Caroline Burau, a former 911 call taker/dispatcher from Minnesota. It was not what I expected. When I was in EMT school, I read every book I […]

BLS Skill Creep

When an ambulance shows up at your house or an EMS scene, they ought to be able to take care of the most common complaints like pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing, to go along obviously with vfib arrest and anaphylaxis. I want the first ambulance to be able to take care of the problem, not […]

BLS Fentanyl

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A new article* published in Prehospital Emergency Care  (on-line April 8, 2016), concludes that Basic EMTs can safely give subcutaneous Fentanyl for acute pain in the prehospital setting. *Subcutaneous Fentanyl: A Novel Approach for Pain Management in a Rural and Suburban Prehospital Setting BLS EMTs in Canada received a four hour training course, and then […]

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