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Top 5 lessons from 2010

EMS1.com News

December 20, 2010


EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Top 5 lessons from 2010

The big picture view: I still like what our profession stands for, but there are a few things we need to take care of

By Arthur Hsieh

It's time to look at the year that was from the rear view mirror (or side view may be better, since it's really hard to look out the back while you're driving). The big picture view: I still like what our profession stands for, but there are a few things we need to take care of.

1. Zip it, or lose it: We need to recognize when our professional lives end, and our personal lives begin. Social media continues to blur the line between the two. In one story after another after another EMS providers had, let's say, difficulties about keeping their opinions, pictures and videos to themselves. Since when did tragedy, pain and suffering become "fun"?

2. Testing Newton's Law: I'm not absolutely sure, but it feels like we have had a dubiously banner year for EMS crashes. Both helicopters and ground-based unit crashes have been in the news pretty much weekly, and sometimes more frequently. The post-mortem details on many of these are not exactly known, but while some have been caused by other drivers, there may be a significant number caused by inattention to detail by the EMS provider or crew.

3. Shining the cold light of science: A couple of sacred cows have been scrutinized this year, from time-honored traditions of the golden hour to response times and more. I say, good riddance. Let's focus on where we can make a true difference.

4. The economy sucks: Face it, we're still in trouble as a nation, and most likely to continue to be so for the next year. Municipal governments are usually last to climb out of an economic downturn, as they wait for tax revenue to trickle in from the battered private sector. As a result, EMS services have suffered significantly.

5. Where is health care reform? With all of the hoopla, you'd think there would be tangible changes felt by the American people. Maybe there is, but it's been in the form of ongoing uprising of health insurance, and still no clear idea where EMS will fit in the overall picture. That's NOT what I wanted to see.

Looking at this list for a moment, I see a couple of threads. Do you? Let's compare notes when we look into our crystal ball and talk about 2011.
Finally, here's a couple of quick thoughts to finish this column:

First, thank you so much for your support and critiques of my column. I have appreciated the comments you have made over the year, and have tried to incorporate them whenever I could.

Second, have a very safe and joyous holiday season. While we may stand witness to tragedy and the fragility of life, we also get a front row seat to the triumph of the human spirit and are charged with the honored responsibility of helping people in their time of need.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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