Wednesday, March 16, 2011


It's been awhile. I'm not sure if I have returned to vent or to actually try and express some of the frustration I have been feeling lately. No matter I guess; I'm here now.

You ever stop to notice that it's not just the patients that you make a difference (or indifference) with in your day to day dealings? I mean, we like to think that we are in this job to preserve life but in the end we also leave a considerable mark on those around us. Some of them are patients, some are not.


One way or the other if you work with someone long enough there is a transference of both attitude and personality (not to mention skill level) between you and your partner. I have written many a blog post about grizzled old paramedics that I have learned a trick or two from. It wasn't until a few months ago that my wife pointed out to me that I WAS in fact a grizzled old paramedic now.

I guess it just crept up on me. I never saw it coming, then one day WHAMO....shit.... you've been doing this a long time. What stories are people telling about you? How did you affect the lives of the people around you? What did someone learn from you? What legacy are you leaving to the NEW group of practitioners?

One person comes to mind when I think about how I might have influenced a younger, less experienced EMT. You know me I never name names, just not polite.

I got this guy as a partner straight from his basic program, he was young, eager to learn and a cracker jack basic. Many times I had to reel him back in on things, but at the end of the day we saw pretty much eye-to-eye on most calls. He would ask questions when he needed answers and I'd do my best to answer them or at least point him in the right direction for answers. It wasn't long before he decided to go to intermediate school, it seemed almost effortless for him. He had a question or two from time to time but in the end he did very well and his experience on the truck gave him a good foundation to build upon his basic education.

After he got his intermediate card he immediately stepped up his game. There was very little coaching from me. He did very well under his scope and knew most of my scope as well. We were able to work seamlessly in the back of the truck. People would often comment about that fact that we would almost never speak to each other during a critical call. Talking to the patient was important to us, but getting the job done didn't require any delays. We had worked together for almost 2 years and we KNEW what each of us were going to do. Conversation with anyone but the patient was unnecessary.

I could see his mind growing past his scope though and it wasn't long before he was in medic school. This time around his training was more difficult for him, but he always asked questions when he didn't know and he pushed right along to graduation day. I was so proud of him when he walked in and passed registry. 3 years had passed and I watched this young EMT really refine his art. It almost like a father watching his son graduate college. I suppose I felt just as much a sense of accomplishment as he did. It wasn't just that HE made it... It felt more like WE made it.

A couple months later staffing changes forced us on to different trucks. A month after that he never showed up for work again. 30 days later he went to work for another company. I felt betrayed. I felt like I had invested so much to have him just walk away without even so much as saying goodbye (not to mention 2 weeks notice). The rumor mill was spreading that he didn't like the people he was reassigned with and he wanted his own truck. Well, I guess he got it.

So I fumed over this for 4 months. I was always polite when I saw him out with the other company but I never stopped to have much of a word with him. I don't know if I was more angry about the switch to another company or just the fact that he left at all.

I ran across his profile on Facebook. Just for old times sake I start poking through some of his pictures then I noticed his favorite quotation.... It was something I had told him over and over during his time riding with me.

I made an impact on him, and in the end I guess thats all that matters. We all move on in one way or the other, it sucks, but it's life.