Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trauma Redux, Oct. 26 episode

It's nice to see "Trauma" share some of the truisms about EMS. My favorite was the scene with "Rabbit" and Marisa, the EMT who was carrying all of the gear, heading to a cardiac call. Marisa had the temerity to ask why her partner, a paramedic, wasn't carrying anything. "ALS stands for 'Aint Lifting Stuff," Rabbit replied. I've heard it phrased with a profanity, but what can you expect from network TV? I thought the interplay between Rabbit and the patient's agitated wife was authentic and very much in line with what EMTs deal with. I thought how he asked for her to hold the door (a subtle way to keep her occupied) is a very good tactic to deal with frantic family members. Make them helpful and then they can focus and not get in the way.
Overall, the Halloween episode was pretty good. It also had shown Rabbit's limits to being a "cowboy" and trouncing on standing orders. He had refrained from administering morphine to a child trauma patient. Other emergencies seemed to be handled well (paramedics or more experienced EMTs may take issue with that assessment).
The preview of an ambulance accident for next week's episode should be interesting, because there are too many ambulance accidents. Some have killed EMTs in the line of duty. My training and experience tell me that most other people on the road are too stupid to watch for ambulances. Assume the worst -- especially in New Jersey -- and don't just think the lights and sirens will keep you safe in the rig.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The TV Show 'Trauma'

I enjoy watching the show "Trauma," not for its portrayal of EMTs. It falls into that realm of entertainment with James Bond movies, disaster films, and "Die Hard." Shut the brain off and enjoy the ride.

As an EMT, many of the things that I see on the show make me chuckle. A lot of these guys forget about scene safety among other basic tasks. One of the first lessons in EMT class is to stay safe so you don't become a patient and burden other first responders. What sometimes passes itself off as emergency medicine on this show would get EMT cards yanked. A paramedic would not fill an IV with ice water to intentionally induce hypothermia on a patient with a spinal injury. There are plenty of other examples cited by people better qualified than me. If you want to learn about EMS, there are plenty of emergency medicine sites and this one is one of my favorites, The EMT Spot. Or even better, get some first aid classes, join a squad and work toward an EMT certificate.

But just take the TV show with a grain of salt and enjoy it for what it's worth: an hour of drama with great production values. Roy and Johnny from "Emergency!" did it better and captured more of the flavor of being an EMT. However, the name of the show is "Trauma" not "80 Year Olds with General Illness." Neither is pretty, but bowel troubles of the elderly don't make good television.