Emergency Medicine- what a strange, sometimes amazing and sometimes awful career choice! That being said, I can’t imagine doing anything else, (though I have had times where I want to say screw it and become a florist or something normal people do for a living!) Over the past almost 20 years, I have been fortunate to work with some of the most talented medics, brilliant physicians and countless dedicated healthcare professionals in both the civilian world and the military. As I reach the middle(ish) stage in my career, I find that I enjoy teaching others our trade, and training the next generation of EMTs, nurses and techs. Education is hugely important in our field but… And this is a big but, some things you will never learn in the classroom or even in the field under normal conditions.
We function as medics everyday under the assumption that there will always be a higher level of care (someone who knows more and is more capable than I, and they have more stuff). If they can’t do what the patient needs, we call a helicopter and they take our patient to people even more prepared. But what if that higher level of care is gone? Under any scenario (pick one, earthquake, tornado, war…) what if the safety net is gone? What if I can’t get my patients to a higher level of care? What if you are on your own? No 911, no ambulance, no doctor… Do you have the knowledge and supplies to get by?
That’s how I ended up here in the WECATs. I’m pretty sure I can McGvyer my way through most anything in medicine, but mostly because I’ve spent countless hours researching the what ifs. It’s comforting to learn from the other CATs about communications, survival skills etc. so I can be personally more prepared, no matter the circumstances. And I hope everyone can learn from our team. It isn’t a reasonable expectation that we can teach someone with no medical training how to do an emergency appendectomy in your kitchen, but as much knowledge as the EMS team can give you, the better prepared we can be.
EMT-P, BS, AHI