Reader Responses: 10 obsolete EMT skills

EMT skills we wish would make a comeback (or not)

After we published the Ambulance Driver's list of 10 obsolete EMT skills, our EMS1 Facebook fans took a trip down memory lane and revisited the skills they had used earlier in their careers. Some techniques were sound and could be brought back tomorrow, while others ... well, we’ll let you decide.

Here are some hilarious, insightful and always entertaining reader responses to 10 obsolete EMT skills.

  • “When I first went through the course, the only gloves we carried on the ambulance were leather (in case of broken glass at the auto accident).” — Bill Chauncey
  • “Back in the old days, it was like a badge of honor to be covered in blood. It was odd because we had a gunshot call the day after they said we had to wear gloves, it was like learning to do everything all over again.” — Blake Walker
  • “Let's not forget those great stretchers we had to load by hand from ground level and hope the patient was not too big. And those great gas ambulances you would learn had a CO leak only because the entire crew got sick on the transport.” — Mike Reynolds
  • “Ahhhh. The two-man stretcher. The cause of many medics getting back surgery.” — Rusty Jennings
  • “How about activated charcoal for oral poisoning along with syrup of ipecac. I never used any of it in over 40 years on the job.” — Nathan Glazer
  • “Used Ipecac for the young ones that wanted to be a problem and overdose on a drug that did nothing. I always let them drink their favorite soda. And stepped back.” — Ben Parsley
  • “My personal favorite, THE MCSWAIN DART! And now everyone knows how old I am. Go ahead, look it up. You will love it!” — Tricia Gonzales
  • “I think MAST will make a comeback. One study does not eliminate a piece of equipment. I've seen them work too many times only to have the emergency department or operating room remove them incorrectly or cut them off.” — John Kirtley
  • “Here's one they don't teach anymore... Boy Scout tourniquets. Or, simply, how to turn a triangle bandage into a tourniquet, or any other piece of fabric available at the time. Those were a great skill to have, especially when off-duty and in a backwoods-type situation. Commercial tourniquets have ruined the MacGyver-ness of tourniquet placement.” — Chris Lawrence
  • “Great article. I have one (two but they kind of go together) I think you forgot. common sense and respect for the dinosaurs. When I was doing medic ride time, I was a sponge and jumped in the back while my medic partners were treating and took in everything. I asked questions and actually listened to the answers. Nowadays, every new probie I work with has the "Oh yeah, I know that" syndrome...” — Chris Cotter
  • “I still go for the EJ out of habit, and it scares the crap out of the kids!!!!” — Bob Lighthiser
  • “Most of these will rotate back in at some point. Medicine is a big hamster wheel.” — Jon Michaelson 
  • "Wow, the memories this article brought out plus the comments. Would I do it all over again? Hell no! Would I trade the experience for anything? Absolutely not! EMS is the most rewarding career that will ever cause you to question your sanity for choosing it.” — Dana Arbeit
Military anti-shock trousers (left) and non-inflatable anti-shock garment
Military anti-shock trousers (left) and non-inflatable anti-shock garment (Photo courtesy Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory)

Did we miss your skill? How else has EMS changed since you started working? Visit our Facebook page and let us know!

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