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Behind the Patient: Street Portraits
by Michael Morse

10 ways to make a crazy EMS call worse

Entering into the fray and telling the lead lunatic to "calm down" is a sure way stir up the chaos

By Michael Morse

It’s crazy how often EMS is summoned to a nuthouse.

Emotions are frayed; common sense is gone; behind closed doors, dead bolted, chained and put away. People are screaming, crying, and punching walls or worse.

We hold the key to bring things back in focus; the choice is ours whether or not to use that key, or throw it out the window.

Just because people are acting like monkeys doesn’t mean we have to jump in the barrel. But it would certainly be entertaining if we did.

10 ways to make it worse

Stride into the chaos, cross your arms across your chest and ask, “Are you people nuts?”

Enter the fray, find the lead lunatic and tell him or her to “CALM DOWN!”

Stand outside with a bullhorn and bark out orders.

Step inside, open the fridge, make a sandwich and ask, where’s the mustard?”

Saunter into the middle of the mêlée and simply state, “Hey, cut that out.”

At any time during the incident tell the emotionally charged people to, “relax.”

Throw in the towel and jump in the barrel.

Yell, “If you people don’t stop it this instant I’m calling the cops!”

Start throwing haymakers

And the number one way to throw away the key to actually calming down an emergency scene on the brink of losing control:

Pull up a chair, put your feet up and ask somebody, “Where’s the remote?”


Now that you know what NOT to do, here's an article about some commonly crazy EMS calls and how best to handle them." 

About the author

Michael Morse is a retired Rescue Captain with the Providence (RI) Fire Department. He is the author of the books Mr. Wilson Makes it Home, Rescuing Providence and Responding. His columns appear in numerous fire and EMS publications and the Providence Journal. He can be reached by email to Michael Morse
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Thomas Landers Thomas Landers Saturday, August 23, 2014 5:03:25 AM ALL medical personnel, should, work inpatient psych. I will round you out, Full Circle. F.Y.I.: ALWAYS REMEMBER! "They," are crazy, not stupid!

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