Is 'EMS Bingo' a big deal to EMTs and paramedics?

EMS1 readers sound off on an 'EMS Bingo' card news story and what it means for the EMS profession

An "EMS Bingo" card photo, posted to the Facebook account of a Florida EMT, received a strong rebuke from a local television station and a critique from a former EMT.

The photo, captioned "Happy EMS Week!," showed a bingo card with squares for gunshot wound, stabbing, seizures, diabetic patient and motor vehicle crash. The card also has squares for common EMS jargon, which isn't always layperson friendly, like "code brown."

Many EMS1 readers sounded off in the news story comments about the "EMS Bingo" card, the dramatic news reporting and what the public's reaction to the card might say about their understanding of the challenges of EMS.

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Big deal: not to EMS1 readers
Despite the news coverage worrying that "EMS Bingo" might give hard-working first responders a black eye, there was no sign of concern in the article or EMS1 Facebook comments that this is a big deal.

Most readers had just the opposite reaction. 'EMS Bingo' and similar memes are an opportunity to find brightness in an otherwise challenging work day.

Little deal: some caution is needed
For some readers the bingo card is not concerning, but rather there is a need to keep it on the down low. Here are a few of the comments that thought 'EMS Bingo' might be a little problematic.

"Wow the media must be bored. Don't keep it displayed, and keep it for downtime fun; it's that simple. I have nothing against the game whatsoever, but we do need to remain professional." – Jeri Kay Thompson

"We did this for EMS week this year. We didn't keep them in the ambulances like this. I don't see it being a big deal." – CJ Geeker

"It's a joke, and as long as the patients and family don't see it, what's the big deal? You know what's offensive, the pay we work for, the hours we work, and the overall conditions we put up with." – Sean Davis

"If it was posted in the Medic, then yes, that is not appropriate." – Mike Chapel

"Really? I'm with all the rest of you guys that are tired of living in a world where people get offended if you look at them. Personally I wouldn't put this in my ambulance, but yes I definitely find this funny and good way to deal with the stress that can occur in our field." – John Parker

No deal: Need to understand EMS and dispatch
Overwhelmingly, comment writers took the stance that 'EMS Bingo' is no big deal and everyone involved in the news reporting was being overly sensitive.

"If the people complaining did this just one day they would realize things like this are coping mechanisms. It's the same with dispatch. You have to be able to cope or you cannot do your job. These kind of games are there too. It is better than someone being mad because all they ever see or hear is the bad. It's not like the 911 call comes in to invite everyone over to lunch!" – Teresa Bull

"Not even going to watch the video because I can tell it would just aggravate me." – Candi Hicks

"Get a grip folks! America is full of a bunch of folks walking around looking for things that offend them!" – Van Yates

I carried a Bingo card in my spare uniform bag. Humor helped me deal with all the levels of insanity that I saw on the job. When I had 'Bingoed' on a card, I would 'level up!' It was an inside joke that, yes, to someone who didn't know me would have been offensive."  – Sarah Gardiner

"Good lord! It's a joke! In this job you can either laugh it off or cry it out! I don't see an issue here. If this silly joke offends you then your skin isn't thick enough to be in this profession. Get over yourself." – Andrew Togolo

"Many occupations have this kind of game. There is a Wal-Mart Bingo, Nurses Bingo, etc. When people work in stressful jobs there needs to be a little bit of humor to relieve the pressures of stress. This is where you say 'screw 'em if they can't take a joke' or have a little fun. It's not like these people say, 'Yeah! I got bingo' when they are on a call. Chill out, people!" – Christine Matthews

"I've worked high risk and emergency areas forever. If you don't blow off a little steam you'll go crazy. Let's put this in perspective people. Don't worry be happy." – Karen Langord

"EMTs should be offended when we get called ambulance drivers, get late-night calls from people who have been throwing up for a week but decided it got worse at 3 a.m., and when people need a ride to the hospital to get a fix." – Terri Johnson

"I do not think this is offensive, it's what we do, things that some experience on a daily basis." – Jean Serson

"As a paramedic, I dont find this offensive. We deal with high stress on many calls. Yes, we do get a warped sense of humor. But look what we deal with and remain calm, while others around us are wigging out. We are here to help those we can, if you find how we deal with this field...then try a day in our truck!!" – Dave Law


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