Props to the Wall Street Journal

As I sat having breakfast and reading through the previous day’s news on the internet, a Tweet popped up on my other monitor from Greg Friese about a news article from the Wall Street Journal with the title of The Ultimate Lifesaver about advances in prehospital care outlining how services themselves are the ones who are driving these changes for their communities.  The article, written by Laura Landro, is part of an ongoing series called “The Informed Patient” and I must say, I am impressed with what I’ve read.

The most impressive thing about this week’s article is how much Ms. Landro immerses herself into the EMS on a nationwide level, outlining not only the accomplishments that we have made as an industry but also the challenges.  For example: in a video interview, Ms. Landro states that “If you see one EMS system you have seen one EMS system.”

The reporting that often takes place when it comes to EMS is most often based on assumptions.  People do not know what happens in the back of the ambulance (because we fail to educate them on this) so they make it up as they go along.  Because of the fear of HIPAA laws, the view of EMS is often from the outside of the rig, and not where it should be: right from the patient’s side.  Without getting right in there and “gloving up” herself, Ms. Landro has succeeded in getting the right story about what is going on in EMS.

Ultimately though, she has called us out in the article.  While a lay person might take a lot of positive from what they’ve read, what she has shown us is the gross disparity of what goes on around the country.  Seattle’s CPR save rate should never be five times that of Alabama’s.  Pro Ambulance in Cambridge Massachusetts should have every resource available to them that the Phoenix Fire Department does on the other side of the country.  The only thing different about a cardiac arrest in San Francisco and Springfield, Massachusetts is the way that we handle them.

Best practices, folks.  That is what this article should steer us towards.  We need to look at what each other does well as well as where we each fail, and try to not only adapt the “good” that goes on out there (and there is a lot of it) but also learn from our mistakes.  First though, we must be able to admit to our mistakes.

And here is where that oh-so-difficult discussion of provider ego comes in.  If you ask me, we are far too quick to dismiss what might not have gone well on a call.  We need to take ourselves more seriously and we need to put our own egos aside.  We need to be able to take ourselves and our profession seriously before anyone else will do the same.  The respect that we deserve as medical professionals and the important piece of public safety that we are is something that is earned and not just given as soon as you put on a shirt with an EMT patch.

With people like Laura Landro watching us, we need to be on our best game all the time.  She has shown herself to potentially be a great ally and advocate for each and every EMT out there.  Let’s make her proud.

Read Laura Landro’s article complete with comments from the First Responder Network’s own Happy Medic Justin Schorr.