Thursday, November 8, 2007

EMS Gear

Peter over at Street Watch: Notes of a Paramedic wrote a post which prompted me to write a little post about the gear we carry. Now, there are some out there who carry everything, *including* the kitchen sink into every patient's home on every single call, all the time, no matter what. Then there are others who walk into a patient's home with nothing but a smile on their face.

I'm of the train of thought that not every patient needs *all* of your resources every single time and that 98% of the time you're safe with carrying in the bare essentials. How many times do you carry gear into a patient's house only to carry it out unused? I know some of you out there are crying foul - "But Matt, what if you're dispatched to an old lady not feeling well only to find out that its that one call where grandma fell down the stairs because she was in a diabetic crisis and now she's got an open femur fracture and you can't do a spinal rule out and while your partner is getting gear she goes into cardiac arrest?" Well, after I stop laughing I'll manage the patient with the contents of ParaMedical Matt's Quick Pack (tm).

My Quick Pack is made up of the items that can get you through the first five minutes of patient contact while other resources are on the way from your ambulance parked outside.
Contents are held in a spiffy LL Bean belt pack that I usually end up slinging over my shoulder.
  • Gloves
  • OPA's
  • NPA's
  • Bleeding Control
  • BP Cuff
  • Stethoscope
  • IV Roll (20g, 18g, saline flush, extension set wrapped in a 4x4 & veniguard & secured with a tourniquet)
  • Refusal forms
  • Vicks Vap-o-Rub (for self medication when encountering things that smell bad)
If I suspect that we're walking in to a chest pain or respiratory call then I'll bring in O2. Our primary job is to get patients to the hospital and initiate care, anything that we accomplish while going down the road is just an added bonus, and yes I will say that IV access, 12 leads, & medication administration all do fall under the category of "added bonus." I too was once an eager probie ready to single handedly save the world from itself and I carried with me every sparky new tool that I could fit on my belt and I carried everything into the house with me, but I have since learned that all I really need to carry on my person are a watch and these Healing Hands(tm) and a pen- I am useless without a pen, even if I'm not writing anything down, I have to know that I have a pen immediately available to me.

So, I'm curious as to everyone's thoughts on this matter. Anyone? Bueller?


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