Pre-Hospital Blog

EMS can be better

Most Emergencies aren’t.

with 5 comments

One of the most important lessons I have learned in EMS is this:

Most emergencies are not emergencies, they are only perceived as such by the people involved.

As far as the job is concerned, this has 2 very important implications.

  1. One of the most important things to do first on scene is to quickly learn whether this is an emergency or not and
  2. No matter the situation, your patient and any concerned bystanders (anyone on scene with an emotional attachment to the patent; friends, family, etc) need to understand whether and why this is or is not an emergency and what happens next.

A witnessed arrest is probably pretty clearly an emergency. An unconscious drunk college student with no signs of trauma who wakes to verbal stimuli maybe is not an emergency, but his hysterical roommates who called might feel differently. The job starts the same in either case: we are called to someone’s emergency. But the requirements of each become vastly different when we arrive and see whether it is an emergency or not.

In either situation, we have work to do.

cf.  Patients Define Their Emergencies (The EMT Spot)

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Written by ben

May 27th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Posted in ideas,rants

5 Responses to 'Most Emergencies aren’t.'

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  1. I’m not so interested in whether they know if it is an emergency or why, unless they are causing problems.

    I view my number one job as showing up and calming everyone down, regardless of whether it is a true emergency. I suppose it is even more important to calm everyone down in a true emergency, since I have things to do.

    If it is not a true emergency, as long as I don’t make things worse, everything is already under control. :-)

    Rogue Medic

    27 May 09 at 9:56 pm

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