Monday, May 26, 2008
Support Your Local Paramedic
I always say, being pissed off is better than being pissed on. And boy, am I pissed off. I hate sounding whiney and I really don’t like to complain. Because I have a solemn belief that if you are comfortable with misery you are destined to make it to the top (that aforementioned belief made me manager at 6 different ambulance services and Vice-President at a seventh.) But something has to be said about the Paramedic exodus that is taking place right under the noses of the general public. This exodus places the public at an extreme risk because who is going to arrive at your home when you have your first heart attack.
I don’t like talking about my job as a Paramedic (capital P). I respect the ability of the 911 caller to remain stupid forever and ever amen. I have seen my fair share of tragedy, pain, suffering, and the evilness of humans to kill their children and set the house on fire to cover the crime. My walkabout through this invigorating and personality consuming job has stratified my soul and sharpened my temperament. My career at one time reinforced a belief that God did not exist and that the Devil was on a road trip, high on Columbian white-flake, smashing and grabbing souls across this great land. But my point of view has changed for the better.
However I digress, the reason I am pissed off is that the major responsibility of reducing morbidity and mortality, under extreme duress and insane hours are heaped upon the EMT and no one, and I do mean no one, cares…hence my pissy-tude. I have survived 20 years in the field, one divorce, one major job-induced surgery, and a war. And the most ambulance services will only pay me, is a measly 12.00 dollars per hour. 10 million dollars worth of experience…12.00 dollars per hour, nationally recognized EMS instructor…12.00 dollars per hour, 14 years of EMS management…12.00 dollars an hour. Now, if you think for a hot-second, that I am working for 12.00 an hour you’re completely insane. But this is what the new Medics are facing. 1980’s wages for a comparable job that pays 28.00-30.00 dollars in a hospital, in a controlled atmosphere, with security roaming the halls all wrapped in comfy scrub pants. New medics are jumping the fence to nursing in droves. And the ones that haven’t will shortly.
So how is the shortage of Paramedics going to affect you? There are less people caught in the vapors of a fast ambulance, the wail of a siren and the thrill of possibly saving a life. Simply put, EMS is imploding. The emergency response walls are falling in all over this country; there are manpower shortages, leakages to nursing, and people who aren’t stupid enough to fall for the “you’ll be a hero” spiel. That means longer response times for you, the under trained will arrive at your door (because most EMS programs will hand feed those who wouldn’t other wise make it) and very poor service. Yes, Paramedics would rather go home at night and make a decent wage instead of getting punished over and over again, thus the good Medics are making the leap to nursing and you dear reader are left with the bad ones.