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Mechanism of injury: Does it matter?

Steve Whitehead and Nick Nudell debate the importance of MOR reporting

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This episode of Inside EMS is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

In this episode of Inside EMS, Host Chris Cebollero is joined by Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Whitehead, NREMT-P, and scholar-practitioner Nick Nudell, PhD(c).

Real-life friends, Whitehead and Nudell bring forth an EMS debate in which they find themselves on opposite sides: the importance of reporting mechanism of injury.

In paramedic school, they teach us to take what we see at the scene and bring that into the hospital – to take photos, describe the damage to the vehicle, etc., Chris notes. But, does it matter?

Chris listens to their perspectives as they state their case, and then makes his decision. Listen in and let us know your thoughts: is reporting mechanism of injury important?

Memorable quotes from this episode

“This is one of the few things in EMS in which we need to own. Because if we make a mistake and we evaluate the mechanism of injury wrong, no one else can fix that for us.” — Steve Whitehead

“For all except the most unusual mechanisms of injury, the photo is likely worthless.” — Steve Whitehead

“The critical things that the trauma surgeons are really trying to get at in that moment when the patient arrives is – is their airway patent, are they breathing, is their blood circulating – they are going to the ABCs, just like we do.” — Nick Nudell


Steve Whitehead

Steve Whitehead, NREMT-P, is an EMS instructor with the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority in Lone Tree, Colorado, and the creator of the blog The EMT Spot. He is a primary instructor for South Metro’s EMT program and a lifelong student of emergency medicine. Reach him through his blog at

Nick Nudell

Scholar-practitioner Nick Nudell, PhD(c), is the manager of trauma research services for UCHealth, in Loveland, Colorado; and the president of the American Paramedic Association. He has more than 24 years of data science, public policy and paramedicine experience at all levels, including as a hospital and ambulance-based clinician, educator, consultant, regulator, program manager, executive and researcher.

His research interests include innovative governance models and improving health system design to reduce systemic healthcare disparities through mixed methods research concentrated on system design and implementation. He is an advocate for social justice and health equity, interested in discovering the most appropriate resources to provide for a person’s needs, in suitable locations, at the right time.

Additionally, through his clinical practice, he has gained significant real-world field and academic experience with behavioral health and substance use disorders that contribute to his health equity and social justice scholarship.