Some of my EMS friends refer to the less enlightened of us in EMS as LIV, shorthand for Low Information Voters. I’m the first to admit that I like the term and use it. Sadly, I have occasion to use it regularly, especially seeing what some providers post publicly on Facebook.
After some thinking this morning about a couple of discussions I’ve been watching, some LIV providers scare me more than others. The youthful, overly eager provider who has maxed out their credit line at Galls by buying every piece of equipment known to mankind has the potential to be a diamond in the rough. Those of us who consider prehospital care to be part of medicine owe it to ourselves and our patients to channel said youthful enthusiasm into the art and science of patient care.
Then there’s the other form of LIV. The so-called “experienced” provider whose only contributions are mindless repetitions of bad information, usually associated with withholding pain medications to those they deem unworthy of their skills. These older LIVs are also usually the first to scream about the good old days and shame anyone who doesn’t conform to their limited understanding of medicine and operations. To quote Spiro T. Agnew, these people are the “nattering nabobs of negativism” of EMS. Their pessimism is toxic, both to other providers and to the advancement of prehospital medicine.
These old-timers run off enthusiastic providers, stagnate development, and generally make work a crappy place. Their toxicity runs off others and infects the workplace as surely as an outbreak of norovirus. Heck, at least norovirus runs its course and leaves. Yet for some reason, these cranky ones are only happy when they can actively discourage others.
Please, if you actively embrace terms like toasted or burnt out, step away from patient care, whether for a sabbatical or permanently. You owe it to your coworkers and your patients.