The continuing education sham

Every now and then, I see online EMS continuing education providers engaging in some pretty unethical behavior.  I’ve seen multiple sites reposting copywritten blog posts from other EMS providers.  I’ve also seen resuscitation card courses (ACLS, CPR, PALS) offered from questionable accrediting bodies that aren’t accepted by most state EMS agencies, most employers, or the National Registry.

The majority of us in EMS accept this because we don’t take continuing education seriously.  It’s merely another requirement to be pencil-whipped through, just like the truck check.

The real purpose of continuing education SHOULD be to keep current with the science, practice, and art of medicine.  Yet most of us sit through whatever our employer provides and/or mandates and find the cheapest options for everything else.  I’d surmise that less than 20% of EMS providers have attended an EMS conference of any form.  I’d doubt that most providers participate in the FOAM concept of free open access medical education.   Rather, con-ed becomes an exercise in minimal effort exerted to maintain minimal standards. And in most cases, con-ed becomes another ritual in which the masses repeat the dogma they learned from their instructors and, as such, maintain their certification for another cycle. As such, the majority of resuscitation science has devolved into pressing play on the DVD and parroting back cycles of drug doses.

Say what you want about college degrees or pay raises.  This right here is a large example of why we aren’t considered a profession.  In other words, this is another example of why we don’t have nice things in EMS.

Thoughts On The Detroit EMS Incident

If you’ve been around any of the EMS social media over the past two days, you’ve heard a story about a Detroit EMT who refused to respond to a baby in cardiac arrest.

Were her acts disgusting?  Absolutely.  Are they immoral?  You bet.  Do they violate every ethical norm that EMS provider subscribe to?  Damn straight.

Should she lose her job?  Already happened.

Should she lose her EMS certification?  I’d argue that she should.

Should she be sued and held liable in civil court?  I’d love to take the case.

But of course, everyone in the social media world wants more than that.  They want her charged with a crime.

As the resident curmudgeon attorney in these parts, let me dump some cold water on that. After that, I’ll dump some more cold water on that.  First, tell me the crime to charge her with.  Second, can you tell me the elements of the crime?  Why?  Because you’re going to have to prove each and every one of them beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of twelve people who aren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.

When actions are so repugnant that we all turn our heads in disgust, our visceral reaction is to say that some sort of crime must have been committed.  The good news, and yes, it’s truly good news, is that our country and our legal system make it incredibly hard to charge, prove, and convict someone of a crime.  Rightfully, we’ve created an incredibly high standard of proof for criminal cases — because we are taking away someone’s freedoms.

Our individual rights should never be subject to the whims of a majority, much less a vocal minority.  As an American, I believe in our freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.  As an attorney, I’ve sworn to uphold these freedoms.  As an EMS provider, I wish that more of my colleagues appreciated these principles.

System abuse? Not really.

A continuing recurring theme in EMS social media and in EMS in general is that we believe there’s a such thing as “EMS system abuse.” Usually, this manifests itself with some meme or catchy saying that 911, EMS, and/or the emergency room are reserved … [Continue reading]

Couple of book reviews

Apologies for the lack of posts lately.  Between a massive contract at the "real" job and having a ton going on in my offline EMS and personal lives, I've given the blog a bit less attention than it should have. However, I've recently added … [Continue reading]

When you’re managing risk….

After seeing some of the less stellar EMS providers out there, I can certainly understand why EMS systems and physician medical directors engage in risk management.  I would too and I encourage it.  EMS providers are great at reacting to medical … [Continue reading]

My Sermon to You

I'm not the world's most religious guy.  But I just awarded myself a new title. I've accepted ordination as a reverend in the EMS Church of the Painful Truth.  And for my fellow followers of the gospel of the truth that EMS is the practice of … [Continue reading]

In Case You Missed It….

I'm now on EMS1 as well.   Talking about compassion.  Shocking for a lawyer! … [Continue reading]

Medical Practice By Cliche

One of my biggest complaints in EMS education and practice is that too many providers take clichés from t-shirts and turn them into the dogma of EMS practice. Two of these overused sayings are similar.  "BLS before ALS" and "EMTs save … [Continue reading]

About That License

I get it.  Becoming an EMT is a big accomplishment for many, even including me years ago.  It was pretty cool to know about things and do things that the "rest of us" don't get to do.  And the same is true if and when you make the jump to paramedic.  … [Continue reading]

If We’re Truly Doing Everything Doctors Do, But At 80 Miles An Hour

Look around the EMS social media world for any period of time and you'll see a bunch of worn-out clichés.  One of the more popular ones is "We do everything a doctor does, but at 80 miles an hour." Ok.  I'll accept your cliché.  And being a … [Continue reading]