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Think Before Calling 911
EMTs are dispatched to calls of all varieties. From stubbed toes and stomach aches to car accidents and heart attacks. We’re responding no matter how frivolous the call. Unfortunately, we cannot refuse a patient in the lawsuit happy world we live in. We carry 400 pound people down 4 flights of stairs, threatened by patients, and occasionally even assaulted. We don’t do it for the money, we do it because we’re the ones who really care.
Those who never worked on an ambulance don’t have the slightest clue what we go through. We work shifts upwards of 24, 32, or 36 hours long. Meal breaks and down time are a rarity. We are there for people who are at their worst. We sacrifice time with our friends and family to save yours.
When we get calls that are not true emergencies, those who are experiencing a true emergency, and need us the most, suffer. Instead of complaining about the “ambulance drivers” taking too long to respond, ask why we might be taking so long. Do you think you’re the only one who calls 911? No. If we’re on a call for something as insignificant as a stomach ache -acting as a taxi- we can’t respond to the heart attack. It’s impossible to be in two places at once.
When we take longer than expected to arrive at an emergency scene, it’s not because we took our sweet time. We could be responding from a far away hospital that a patient insisted on going to, decontaminating our truck from the last call, or there might be no trucks available because more 911 calls came in than ambulances available.
EMS workers are generally the punching bag of society. When we aren’t there one second after someone calling, we’re late. When we are there and the patient doesn’t make it, we killed them. When things don’t go as the patient or the patients family imagined, lawsuit. Rarely, if ever, are we given credit or shown appreciation for what we do.