Treating our own: 7 steps to prepare for one of the hardest things we have to do

Pre-planning and prevention are key to safety and efficiency when your crews are most vulnerable


This article originally appeared in the EMS1 Safety newsletter, "7 steps to caring for one of our own; Why medics never run." To get more articles to develop your culture of safety delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the free Safety newsletter.

We simply don’t expect it – plan for it – anticipate that it will happen. We often keep our blinders up, hoping that we’ll never encounter it. But, when it does happen – when we need to care for one of our own – keeping our blinders up is one of the most detrimental things that we can do.

Reflecting back over my career, I’m reminded how a few events stand out, and how even a single day has changed the trajectory of my career path. These days don’t stick into my mind because they were pediatric codes, multi-system traumas or even austere rescue situations. They’re embedded because either I, or my direct colleagues, had to care for someone close to us ... one of our own.

Objectively, we care for people every day in our line of work, and arguably with the same level of care, compassion and competence for each patient. Subjectively, however, different situations pull at our coat tails a little bit more than others, and those can result in outcomes of blinding ignorance or narrowed distraction. Each of these situations and outcomes can be exacerbated when the patient is one of our own.

Here’s my reflection and evaluation of some of these personal situations and encounters throughout my own career.

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