Thursday, October 18, 2012

Losers in Lauderdale

In his series of Travis McGee thrillers, author John D MacDonald referred to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, as "Fort Lauder-damn-dale."  It appears four Ft Lauderdale firefighters have been arrested in a sordid little scam involving -- surprise! -- fraudulent recertification training records (see my previous rants here and here). These four losers decided sitting through a recertification class in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (I've also seen it listed as Advanced Cardiac Life Support) was less important than whatever they wanted to do instead.

And what exactly is ACLS? Here is the course content from the American Heart Association website:

• Key changes in advanced cardiovascular life support, reflecting the 2010 American  Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care
• Basic life support skills, including effective chest compressions, use of a bag-mask device and use of an (AED)
• Recognition and early management of respiratory and cardiac arrest
• Recognition and early management of peri-arrest conditions such as symptomatic bradycardia
• Airway management
• Related pharmacology
• Management of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and stroke
• Effective communication as a member and leader of a resuscitation team
• Effective Resuscitation Team Dynamics
This is a paramedic-level training program, what with the pharmacology aspects (there is also a scaled-down version, "ACLS for EMT Basics" that I took, which was fascinating).

As a prospective patient, I would say that this skill set would be kinda critical for, oh, I don't know, maybe, SAVING MY LIFE?

Yet these four firefighter/medics, these MORONS couldn't be bothered.

This is what I had to say two years ago:

You may wonder what the big deal is. It's this: we're talking skills and knowledge needed to save lives. We're not talking about missing the latest changes to the Tax Code, or a fast-breaking tech bulletin on Toyota's acceleration issues here. We're talking life or death. How to calculate the appropriate dosage of the appropriate medication for your infant based on size and weight, or remembering how to correctly interpret an ECG strip or perform an endotracheal intubation successfully. You know, the stuff that will keep you alive so you can walk your daughter down the aisle at her wedding and bounce your grand kids on your knee.

The thing is, I don't know if he is truly a lazy bastard, or if he got in with the wrong crowd (as our parents used to say), or what. Whatever the reason, he has made our jobs harder, by violating the trust the public had in us.

It is even more true today.

Do today's civil servants have ANY understanding of the trust placed in us? Do they not understand that we have the citizens' very lives in our hands?

I don't know if this is a carry-over from the "me generation" or what, but it seems that too many folks in emergency services are in it just for what society can do for them, and their eventual career prospects, rather than what they can do for society. (Gee, where have I heard that concept before?)

And yet, it's not just an American problem, for in Australia, we see that medics have been stealing fentanyl -- a powerful painkiller 100 times more potent than morphine -- from ambulance drug stocks... and apparently have been doing so for years.

Is this why we are losing so many of the more dedicated medics (and cops and firefighters) around the world? Are the "good guys" looking around and seeing themselves surrounded by maggots who aren't fit to shine our boots? Are they seeing these scum becoming more and more prevalent, and even advancing into command positions?

I can tell you that the decent folks in these fields are getting more and more worried about being contaminated by the arrogant putzes in the field. And yes, the lying, thieving losers are a very small minority (I hope), but they are the ones getting noticed, the ones getting the press coverage, the ones tarring us with their feces-encrusted brushes.

I'm not a paramedic, I'm an EMT-Basic (mostly because I never had the roughly $10,000 for the medic course, nor did I have the 2000 hours free time), so I cannot do all the "Johnny and Roy magic" that Justin Schorr, Kelly Grayson, Michael Morse, Mark Glencourse, Chris Kaiser or the other paramedics can do. I can "only" do BLS skills... like CPR and giving you aspirin when you're having a heart attack and stopping your bleeding, and stuff. BUT... the instructors in both my ACLS for Basics class and the "Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support" (PHTLS) course said, "BLS skills save more lives than ALS skills."

Of course, all of this is moot if the patient cannot survive until we get there. Take a CPR/first aid class. They're available through the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Emergency Care and Safety Institute, American Safety and Health Institute, and a host of others. If nothing else, call your local YMCA, YWCA, or fire department... they can tell you who's running courses in your area.

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