EMS Unity??

I was visiting with one of our Educational Coordinators the other day, and I noticed this cartoon drawn by Paul Combs who you might have heard of over at The Happy Medic’s blog.

Now, how does that cartoon make you feel?Do you have a little chuckle over it?Its very well drawn, and rather amusing, but to me, its quite alarming, and it defines our struggle pretty accurately.

I fall short of saying that its the perfect depiction of the struggle of EMS because I would make one change to it.The yoke and egg whites would actually be money.Isn’t that really what it comes down to?Isn’t that really what is holding us back?Everyone is worried about getting their hand in the cookie jar, instead of worrying about what is truly important: the patients.Until that changes, we will continue to struggle, stay stagnant and fail to evolve

Think about it: we are seeing abuse in every size and type of system, and if we redesign them to reduce transports, what does that mean?Less income.It will be very difficult the reduction of revenue flow in any service if you can’t supplement it from elsewhere.Municipal services such as Fire or 3rd Services use it to reduce their necessary tax basis.Private services use it to keep the trucks on the road, and the stakeholders happy.

Simply put: money makes the EMS world go ’round.

It shouldn’t matter if you get paid for this or you do it as a volunteer.It shouldn’t matter if you park your truck next to one that has hoses, or a police car, or another unstaffed ambulance.If you want the real answer to the question “Who does the best job providing prehospital care to the sick and injured?”it was best put into words by Michael Morse, author of Rescuing Providence: “An EMS system staffed by trained and motivated individuals is the most effective way to deliver quality patient care to the community.”

I admit that I am taking his words out of context.At the time, he was talking about how efficient Providence Fire is at handling the EMS side of things in their city, but that sentence could be applied to any EMS system in existence.It puts to rest the constant debate of “who is better?Public?Private?Fire?EMS Based EMS?”

We need to take pride in what we do regardless of what company or service we work for. We finally need to realize the quality of care that is provided to the community should be measured by the quality of the provider, not by the color of the truck or the patch one wears on their shoulder.

The Happy Medic has said it, Chris Kaiser has said it, Mark Glencorse has said it, and numerous other Bloggers have said it, including myself.Its time to put our differences aside and come together.Its time to stop pounding our own chests and declaring that “our service is the best!”Its time to not only put the patients first, but to put our industry first as well.It doesn’t matter which branch of service you work for, somewhere on your uniform it says EMT or Paramedic, just like it does on that fire fighter’s uniform, or on that volunteer’s jacket, and its time for us to realize that is what is most important.

Only then will we be taken seriously.

Only then will we evolve.


  1. Chronicles of EMS /

    You couldn't have been any more spot on with this and Paul Combs creatively put it into perspective for us all go "That is true". We have a long way to go and a lot of change to look at, but it is exciting to know that within our professional careers we are going to see it!

  2. Patrick Lickiss /

    I think it's interesting to look at this problem from the perspective of moving forward. Many of these discussions begin by talking about "what went wrong" and who was to blame (Fire, privates, etc.). I think that folks need to stop looking back and start looking forward. Your statement that: "We need to take pride in what we do regardless of what company or service we work for." is totally correct. By looking down the road and focusing on good patient care and best practices, we can hopefully overcome the past issues and unite over doing what is best for our patients and our communities.

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