Archives for September 25, 2010

Dear Kenneth Stokes…

Dear Mr. Stokes,

I’ve kept my mouth shut, but I’m not going to any longer.  You ask my brothers and sisters to “take the risk” and go in and get these shooting victims, that we need to put ourselves in the line of fire and most likely get killed.

First of all, my brothers, sisters, and I put our lives on the line the minute we put that uniform on.  Everyone knows our job description; we save lives. Obviously, if someone is shot by someone else, the shooter wants them dead.  They don’t want us trying to fix them and I guarentee you that they will do whatever they can to keep us from helping.  Haven’t you heard of rival gang members going into ER’s to finish off who they shot?

Every time I, or any other EMT or Paramedic gets into that ambulance, we’re nothing more than a walking target.  How many times do we hear of EMS Providers getting assaulted by patients and patients’ families, having guns and knives pulled on us, being stabbed and shot at.  Did you know ambulances aren’t bullet-proof?

Unfortunately, it’s not just physical violence we are at risk for.

We go into places that you wouldn’t set foot in without a HAZMAT suit.  We touch people that have AIDS, HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis,Tuberculosis, Herpasyphilgonorrhea, and diseases that are so contageous that the hospital won’t even let them in without being in respiratory gear.  We work in the pouring rain, the freezing snow, and the God awful heat with no other compensation other than knowing we helped someone.

We run the risk of getting infected by hundreds of diseases and then taking them home to our loved ones.  Many of us can give you the example of taking a Cold, or the Flu, or even something worse home from their patient, and they came down with it, plus their entire family.  We deal with patients who have no clue what their illness is; they’re coughing up phlegm, vomiting, and who knows what else, but we still treat them the same way we’d treat you.

We also have to deal with the mental aspect of the job.  We are machines when we’re out there; the tones go off, we respond, we repeat the process.  No matter what happens on that call, when the noises go off, the sirens go on and we must respond.  We take our patients home with us, especially the bad ones.  We see things that normal people would shy away from; families being obliterated by drunk drivers, husbands beating their wives, mothers smothering their children, husbands watching their wives take their last breath, and everything in between.

We see that day in and day out.  You ask us to take the risk and go in and get someone who was shot, and the gunman may still be there.  I don’t think you realize that our Star Of Life isn’t a cape that renders us impervious to terminal lead poisoning.  Who will save us? Who will save the saviors?  You talk of bringing in a new company that is willing to take the ultimate risk, but when they all get shot and killed, what will you do then? Get ANOTHER company and watch them get killed as well, all while hiding behind the, “It’s their job” saying?

I’m not going to stand idly by while you sit behind your expensive desk, in your pristine office, sheilded from the outside world, and order my family; my brothers and sisters in EMS, to their deaths.  Shame on you, Mr. Stokes.  Would you be so willing to allow EMS providers…UN-ARMED EMS providers, that means; no weapons of any kind to defend ourselves, to put their lives in mortal danger, if one of them were one of your family members?

I believe you’d sing a different song.

Good luck getting re-elected…

~Medic Trommashere~