May is Trauma Awareness Month and that includes EMS Week and Trauma Survivors Day. I’ve been on the road for the last five or six weeks and I’ve been so touched to have met (quite literally) hundreds of EMS professionals. This is a HUGE honor for me. After all, it was a paramedic who saved my life.
Well, during EMS Week, a Florida based ambulance crew got into a little hot water. Seems an EMS pro created a EMS bingo card. Instead of B4 and I16, this card had spaces like successful intubation, psyche patient, code brown and overly dramatic family.
Ya know, EMS pros truly see the worst of humanity. They go into deplorable living conditions, they mop up bodies and brains off the roadways, they sometimes have to fear for their own lives and safety when on a call. These folks put their lives on the line to save people like me.
In nursing, in law enforcement and yes, EMS, gallows humor exists. Dark humor, cop humor, whatever you choose to call it. This kind of humor is, of course, a coping mechanism for those who see the filthy underbelly of society.
Still, let’s look at EMS bingo from a patient’s perspective. If a patient sees that EMS pros are playing a game…a game in which the safety and/or life of a patient is in danger…well, think that patient may not feel like the EMS’ eyes are on them? Could this be misconstrued by patients as poking fun at we, the patients? I think so. Those of us who have been made vulnerable enough to need the services of an ambulance and crew don’t need to also think we’re being judged. The opposite of compassion is, of course, judgement.
I hope my incredible EMS professional friends can learn from this incident. Please know the rational thinking of us know and appreciate your hard work.