29 Ways To Lift Your Tongue

We can’t use digital cameras on the ambulance, which if you leave aside the patient’s important right to privacy, is a shame because I could really post interesting pictures about this line of work. I was thinking yesterday while trying to spray some nitro under a patient’s tongue about doing a photo montage/art exhibit called […]

Ten Feet Tall Again

Rick is standing against the wall of the EMS room when I walk in to write my report. “My hero,” he says. “No, you’re my hero,” I say. Rick has been a medic a few years longer than I have, but he has been in EMS way more years. He started as a boy and […]

"I Want the Wide Stretcher"

I had an interesting scenario this weekend that I think could be a harbinger of things to come in EMS. With the growing obesity in the population, ambulance companies have started putting bariatric ambulances on line. The ambulances come equipped with special wide load stretchers that more comfortably accommodate the larger patient. Years ago before […]

The Cat that Didn't Move

The patient — a forty-year-old man — says his back is killing him. He has sciatica. He is on Oxycodone, but his vial is empty and his doctor won’t give him a refill. I look at the vial. It was filled six days ago. You should still have pills left, I say. “You won’t believe […]

Whispering Old Ladies, Kleenexes and Placebos

I had a patient a few days ago who I found very annoying. She was a woman in her late sixties with cold and flu symptoms. What was annoying to me was she refused to speak in anything but a whisper. I can’t hear you, I would say. But she would keep whispering. I asked […]

Men's Health: Does EMS Need to Call 911?

I am a big fan of Men’s Health magazine. I often read it in the ambulance. I also get emails from them almost every day with workout, diet and other fitness tips. Today I clicked on an article called How to Break Through a Rut: Reach the Next Level. A sidebar on the page happened […]

Damsels in Distress

I grew up reading books like King Arthur and His Knights. Thus when I was a young boy watching EmergencyI imagined a paramedic as a sort of knight errant rescuing people in distress. The job of a paramedic seemed like noble work with the added reward of being thanked by rescued damsels – whether the […]

My Death

I almost died today. As we approached the intersection I looked up and I saw my death coming at me. It was a large box truck. I quickly calculated that at its rate of speed eastbound on Park and at our rate of speed southbound on Broad, there was going to be collision. The box […]

You Don't Have to Put on Your Red Lights

The hot line rings. Two-thirty in the morning. The dispatcher says, 80 Dorchester. That’s all. Just the address. That’s all we need to know. Calvin. I don’t work the nights as much as the other guys, but I know Calvin. We take our time getting up. Take a leak. Walk out to the ambulance. Drive […]


My preceptee got cut loose so I am back at work having to carry my own gear again. My rhythm is a little off, but I think I’ll get it back soon enough. Not much interesting so far – just the meat and potatoes of EMS in this town. 1) An old man with pneumonia […]

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