The Unwired Medic

Teaching EMS providers & other public safety pros about using mobile tech to improve their practice, patient care, continuing education, scene safety, general entertainment, & productivity.

September 3, 2015
by The Unwired Medic

Man up, Marines!

Is there possibly a manlier thing than to be a

United States Marine???

Get Kilted, Get Checked - Kilted To Kick Cancer

A Marine In A Kilt

Why yes, there is! There are Marines in kilts!

Okay, you’re probably already wondering what the heck this is about, so I’ll cut right to the chase. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, and a couple of public safety bloggers started this non-profit to raise awareness (and funds) about male-specific cancers.

– 1 in 7 –

That’s the number of men who will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. That means if you look at your father, grandfather, uncle, brother, nephew, your son, of even yourself, at least one of you is likely to be diagnosed with it. Your brothers in your platoon, your company, your battalion, all the way up to the CMC and Chesty Puller himself (wherever he is), you’re all at risk… granted it’s (usually, but not always) the 40 and over crowd, but the majority of you aren’t so far away as you think. Most of you will end your careers just before you turn 40, and then what? You’ll get up settled in to whatever you want to do after the mainstream Corps life just to get kicked back down by cancer? Let’s not stop there. 1 in 263 men will be diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, and that is not an old man’s disease. That diagnosis usually comes right in the prime of your life!

– Talk About Privates –

The University of Science, Music, and Culture (U.S.M.C.) is a worldwide organization that is dependent upon healthy men, and they should step up to the plate and make it clear that it’s okay to talk about the privates (and I don’t mean the non-rates!).

Honestly, I don’t know why, but this sort of thing gets pushed aside except when it comes to a dick-measuring contest, then we’re all-in for talking about it. Accept reality… your anatomy plays a significant part in your overall self-image. No, your manhood probably won’t turn green and fall off, but you might experience frequent urination, difficulty urinating (it comes out just a little at a time and it doesn’t happen easily), blood in the urine, hip and back pain, weakness and/or numbness in the legs and feet, and even erectile dysfunction.

– Take Initiative –

It falls squarely on the shoulders of leadership. NCO’s (including you Terminal Lance’s :-) and up should be initiating the conversations. Face it, the non-rates are generally just learning about being a real man. They make goofy decisions, have short attention spans, and are trying to live larger than life with no thought to the consequences they’ll reap later on. I sure hope you’re not going to hope and wait for your Corpsman to bring it up.

Wear a kilt! No, you don’t have to be Scottish or Irish. I got my kilt before I had done some homework and determined just how much Scottish and Irish I have in my lineage. Did you know that the Marine Corps has an official Scottish tartan? The Leatherneck tartan is carried by a lot of kiltmakers and retailers. I got my own (pictured above) at Sport Kilt, as part of a special Marine Corps package, which included the sporran (belt pouch) and kilt pin. You can also find them at Stillwater Kilts and Atlanta Kilts. My son (born on November 10th, by the way) has a kid’s kilt in the Leatherneck tartan too and it was only about $20 shipped. These are generally mass-produced and good for everyday wear, and they would probably suffice for wearing to Marine Corps Balls (no pun intended). If you are looking for something a la Steampunk or Utility style, then may I suggest Alt.Kilt? They are a custom kiltmaker and they can do leatherwork and embroidery. Browse around their site and you’ll see why kilts for cancer awareness is a very special subject for them. If you desire a more formal approach, you can get the full, heavy wool kilt from a few places, or get the fabric and have one made for you. Kiltmakers are easy to find online. There are tartans for other branches too, but they’re apparently nowhere near as popular and no one offers a whole kilt package to go with that.

Mustaches are governed by regs anyway, and no one asks why you are wearing a mustache, but I’ve literally been asked why I’m wearing a kilt over a hundred times. It’s a conversation starter. Besides, Dunk Your Mustache just isn’t the same as Dunk Your Junk, which also beats an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

Raise funds for research! We can’t put an end to these cancerous monstrosities in traditional Marine Corps fashion, with an all-out assault, so we have to adapt to overcome! We can do that with research, but R&D requires funding. Invest in your future and your brothers’ too. You can learn more by exploring my blog, then heading over to the Kilted To Kick Cancer website for more information and to donate. I’d sure like it if when you donate, you would put “Team Unwired Medic” in the comments or choose it from the team drop-down so we can conquer the other non-Marine teams, but even if you don’t, I sincerely thank you. You can also find Kilted To Kick Cancer patches, t-shirts, and polo shirts on the site, and your donations should be tax-deductible, to an organization that does not use your donations to pay salaries to the board. The lion’s share of funds pay for research and a tiny bit goes to overhead.

– Take Responsibility –

The most important thing you can do is to get your mean, green butt in to the doc for your annual check-up. Man up! Turn your head and cough! Bend over and grab your ankles! Take one for the Corps! Get your blood draw to check for markers that can show you are at higher risk for Prostate Cancer, like your PSA and your blood counts.

Do a self-exam at least monthly. You’re in the shower, the water is hot, the higher temps cause your scrotum to relax, and it makes it much easier to execute your mandatory hygiene procedures, and to roll your testicles between your fingers and check for lumps that don’t belong there. It’s even better when your best lady is there to help you out.

If you experience the symptoms I mentioned above, get in to see the doc right away. Do NOT put it off! When caught early, male-specific cancers are almost always easily defeated. ASSESS, ASSAULT, and CLAIM VICTORY! No long, protracted battles with the need for logistical support are necessary. That’s the Army’s job anyway.

– Conclusion –

You now know how to act, so it is your responsibility to do it!

You know the definition of Semper Fidelis. What you may have forgotten is that to be faithful to your brethren and your beloved Corps, you need to be faithful to yourself first.

– References and Disclaimers –

All of my statistics are from the American Cancer Society from September 2014 & September 2015.

I have no conflicts of interest here and receive no consideration or compensation for links provided to any other site, manufacturer, or merchant. I wouldn’t mind if you said “The Unwired Medic” referred you, but I will get nothing in return. If you opt to donate with “Team Unwired Medic”, you would be helping me to beat the kilts off the competing teams, and there are prize packages awarded to the top teams, but I’m more interested in seeing Marines win and in beating cancer, which has already affected my life and the lives of many of my friends and family.
— Semper fidelis

To see more articles on this subject, please check out the following links:

September 3, 2015
by The Unwired Medic

Let’s Talk About Your Dangly Bits

Get Kilted, Get Checked! Kilted To Kick CancerWelcome to September 2015! It’s that time of year, when several public safety bloggers unify to present a non-profit organization called “Kilted To Kick Cancer” (KTKC) and their annual drive to bring awareness to male-specific cancers, and to raise funds for research and treatment.

The Hard Facts:

Female SymbolThere is a strong presence for awareness, and research and treatment fundraising for female-specific cancers, such as Invasive Breast Cancer. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen pink ribbon campaigns and catchy slogans like “Save The Tatas” or “Save Second Base”. These are just causes and merit the strong support they receive. Invasive Breast Cancer afflicts 1 in 8 women. Additionally, it will take the life of 1 in 36 women¹ (males excluded from the statistics here, but recognize that, yes, men can get breast cancer too). This is a conversation that’s accepted in virtually any environment or social situation. We talk about it at work, we talk about it at the family dinner table

Male SymbolBut it seems that talking about male-specific cancers is strictly taboo. We don’t talk about it in all but the most trusting social situations, such as a close knit group of guys, or in the bedroom with the missus when the diagnosis has already happened. Why is that? You’ve seen the women’s statistics, now check this out: 1 in 7 men will contract Prostate Cancer. That’s a slightly higher incidence than Invasive Breast Cancer in women. Guess what? It will take the life of 1 in 36 men¹. Testicular Cancer is less prevalent and less fatal, but still a critical part of a man’s whole self. 1 in 263 men will be diagnosed with it. Yes, 1 in 5,000 men² will die from it, which is much better than Prostate Cancer, but one is too many, especially when that one is you or personally affects you and your family. We men don’t have a special ribbon. We only now have catchy slogans thanks to the efforts of KTKC, like “Get Kilted, Get Checked”.

What Can I Do About It?

GET CHECKED! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!!! Get to the doctor and get your annual checkup, and don’t skip the prostate exam! Men, check your dangly bits while you are in the shower, at least once a month, and even better, get your woman to help!

TALK! Men (and women), we need to get our priorities in order. No more social stigma! Talk about this serious matter! Talk about it with the men you know and care about. Brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, nephews, sons, cousins, mentors, friends, all. If they’re too stubborn to listen, talk to their women and undoubtedly, they’ll help nag them until they get checked and open up to conversation (women: we know you do it strictly out of love and concern!).

And the Kilted Army at KTKC (which includes me) have vowed to make a statement to bring awareness to male specific cancers. We wear kilts every day we can during September, and let me tell you from personal experience, it IS a conversation starter. If a man walks in to a room with a mustache, you’ll probably judge the quality of growth and styling, and once that is done, you’ll likely not give it a second thought, but a man walks into a room with a kilt, and everyone wants to know, “What’s he got on under there?” And people ask! I’ve had literally hundreds of conversations and shared the Kilted To Kick Cancer website (

Kilted To Kick Cancer PatchRAISE FUNDS! I don’t place as much emphasis on raising funds as others, but it is still important. Without funding, there is no research. The goal this year is to break $50,000 with our September campaign. While on the KTKC site, you can read about what the organization is doing with the funds that are raised (important tidbit: none of it pays salaries!). I would be very appreciative if you would go to and make a donation of ANY amount and select “Team Unwired Medic” when checking out. While you are there, you can get the most awesome patch ever created throughout human history! Just read the reviews and you’ll see why…

Part of your purchase is tax-deductible. They also have T-Shirts and Polo Shirts (yours truly sports one) with free custom name/department embroidery available.

WEAR A KILT! No excuses! It doesn’t matter if you aren’t Scottish or Irish. Kilts are for everyone! One of the corporate sponsors is Alt.Kilt and they offer a wide variety of custom and alternative style kilts to suit your mood or purpose for wearing. I personally wear a Sport Kilt. These are great for daily use and you probably won’t shed a tear if you damage one while working or hiking or Tough Mudder-ing. Before I knew I had Scottish and Irish heritage, I knew I am Once A Marine, so I bought the Leatherneck Tartan works package. There are clan tartans, some states have their own tartans, or there are plain colors if plaids are not your thing. There are even firefighter turnout gear kilts! I worked at Burning Man last year and I can tell you, utility-style kilts were all the rage. Men and women everywhere were wearing them. 5.11 Tactical, which ran the Tactical Kilt as an April Fools joke that backfired and became a major real-life seller, runs a limited release every year and it looks like they haven’t sold out this year yet. My mother-in-law and I are working on making me a D-I-Y custom utility kilt from the Instructable directions I found on the web, and with the tips of some other tutorials I found through a web search. There are plenty of other places to shop and they really don’t cost that much. Look on your favorite web search engine (Google, Bing, or [gasp] AOL, et. al.) for Stillwater Kilts, Atlanta Kilts, TactiKilts, Highland Kilt Company, UtiliKilt, etc. A simple, in stock kilt can cost as little as $50, or as much as $1,000 for the most formal getup. Caveat: You do get what you pay for with traditional style kilts, unless you are, or have access to, a seamstress or tailor and can make your own. You can keep it simple and strictly with a kilt, or you can accessorize with traditional garb like flashes, sporran, belts, fly sash, Glengarry, ghillie brogues, sgian dubh, kilt pins, and more. I wear a sporran all year now, usually on my pants belt or just carried in my hand, or I stuff it in my backpack. It carries my EpiPens, MDI’s, and other emergency meds and it’s completely full. I’m going to try my hand at making my own sporran this year to accommodate the meds I now have to carry every day, plus my ID, money, keys, and whatever else I might keep in a pocket.

SHARE! Share my article and connect with me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). Help spread the word. You can even create your own fundraising team with KTKC.

Stay tuned to my website throughout the month of September and learn more about the Kilted Army and what I’m doing to help! THANK YOU!

Get Kilted, Get Checked! Kilted To Kick Cancer!


¹- American Cancer Society ( – September 2014

²- American Cancer Society ( – September 2015

August 4, 2015
by The Unwired Medic

Moving To A New Host

Beginning tonight, The Unwired Medic may be intermittently unavailable at times this week as my host (EMS Blogs) is consolidating with First Arriving Networks and their array of public safety blogs. This can only be a positive move for us all as we combine networks to increase our pooled resources, and rumor has it, my site framework will be upgraded to be viewed even better from mobile devices! Thanks for sticking with me during this move! I want to thank Dave Konig, The Social Medic, for all his support and for increasing my blog exposure these last couple of years. I can’t wait to be joining the network along side great blogs like Ambulance Driver Files, Call The Cops, Rescue Humor, The Fire Critic, and Statter911, among others.

April 24, 2015
by The Unwired Medic

Texas ENA’s Unprofessional Attack on EMS

Texas ENA’s Unprofessional Attack on EMS

Author’s note: I generally avoid posting non-tech matters on my blog, but this unprofessional, unsubstantiated, fear-mongering attack of EMS in Texas has me boiling. I present to you something that doesn’t just affect Texas EMS, but EMS in the entirety of the United States of America. This has been fought in other states, and if it isn’t stopped now, will set a precedent and spill into many more states and regions. If you want to advance, you don’t do it by holding your siblings down in mediocrity and attacking their skills and intelligence. They seem to have taken a page out of the book, “How to Get Ahead in Life by Attacking Your Colleagues.” It is uncalled for. It has been professionally sanctioned by the San Antonio Chapter of and the Texas ENA, and they are imploring their members to spread this insult as if it were fact and we will bring the end of competent emergency care. I submit that they owe us a retraction and public, formal apology. My dog in the fight directly is that I have been a Texas Paramedic and if I want to return there in my future, my career options should not be limited by a board that played dirty politics from the word go with lies and mudslinging! My article also appears on Facebook (here) and I invite you to share it ad libitum. I would like to see the NAEMT take a professional position on this matter, and I would appreciate if you took time to contact the Texas NAEMT region board and state leadership, and the Texas EMA, decrying this deplorable behavior.

Warmest regards…


The Texas ENA is pushing to keep their thumb over EMS again and trying to keep EMS providers from crowding “their” domain. Consider asking your political representation to oppose the ENA efforts and to move to allow EMS to practice out of the preshospital-only areas. This push is to allow EMS to work to its full scope, under guidance of a physician, in ER and urgent care type sites, not ICU or other full admissions patient care environments.

I provide my counter-points to the letter at the end, factually debunking most of the ENA letter. Thanks for considering this and please SHARE!

The following is a letter sent to me by a Texas Paramedic:

The following is an email being sent to Texas ENA members in regards
to legislation being considered that would allow Texas EMT’s and
Paramedics to function within their scope in the hospital setting
under the direct supervision of the MD. HB 2020 and SB 1899 would
allow us to perform our clinical abilities in the emergency department
or urgent care setting with a physician in close proximity.
The stance of the Texas ENA essentially states that these procedures
are best performed by and RN and that we do not have the necessary
education or competency to perform these procedures within the hospital
setting despite performing them in the out of hospital setting.
Unfortunately we lack the legislative representation as EMS but if we
all call, write or visit ourstate representatives and senators we
might be able to fight back!
I have copied the email being circulated and you can read it in the
text below. The link is a link that will allow you to contact your
representatives both in the house and senate.
PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK TO ALL IN EMS; even if you do not practice in Texas!

Dear SAENA Member,

The Texas ENA Government Affairs Chair has asked that the following information be sent out to all of Texas ENA members:

House Bill 2020 and Senate Bill 1899 are currently under discussion and maybe moving for vote in the near future.

These bills would change the scope of the EMT-P and licensed paramedic to include the initiation of advanced life support measures such as; IVs, intubation, defibrillation / cardioversion and administration of medications under the supervision of a physician who is present in the same area or an area adjacent to the area. These actions would occur in an emergency or urgent care clinical setting, including a hospital emergency room or a freestanding emergency medical care facility.

The Texas ENA is opposed to the passing of these bills and requests members immediately contact their House and Senate representatives by calling, writing a letter or email, to express opposition to the bills. (To identify your representative, go to…/find-your-representative/ )

The Government Affairs Chair included a letter, written by a member, which identifies the issues related to these bills. Members may use the basic information in the document to compose their own letters to their legislator or to identify points to discuss when speaking to their representative.

I am writing today as a registered voter in opposition to HB2020 relating to the scope of duties of an emergency medical technician-paramedic and a licensed paramedic. This bill allows EMTs and EMT-Paramedics the authority to provide healthcare services including advanced life support in hospital emergency rooms and freestanding emergency medical care facilities under a physician delegation.

As an emergency nurse, I am concerned that this bill will potentially affect the safety and level of care provided to patients in the emergency department and encourage hospitals to utilized less qualified providers for staffing. Currently, EMT and paramedics are provided the authority to provide life saving measures in the pre-hospital environment until the patient can reach the emergency department which is a higher level of care. This role utilizes physician-developed protocols and direct communication with the hospital to direct care until the patient arrives at the emergency department. The focus of the training is on skills. The Texas Board of Nursing rules limits what tasks can be delegated to others. This restricts paramedics from administering medications and intravenous fluids in the hospital setting.

This differs significantly from the registered nurse role which is an autonomous provider who’s training includes independent decision-making in which the RN works collaboratively with the physician to ensure that adequate care is provided to the patient. There is extensive preparation in pathophysiology, pharmacology, skills, and critical thinking/clinical judgment. Current research shows a direct correlation between nursing care and positive patient outcomes. Most emergency departments require that emergency RNs are trained in advanced cardiac life support and trauma nursing care. There is a national certification body that also provides certification in emergency nursing. Furthermore, the Texas Board of Nursing rules does not allow nursing to carry out orders from an EMT or paramedic.

EMTs and EMT-Paramedics temporarily receiving direction for a physician could create a very unsafe situation during the most critical time in the patients hospital stay. Currently they receive directions (delegation) from a nurse so who do they listen to in this critical situation when the nurse needs help and the physician requests their assistance. Who is accountable when they accidentally misunderstand the delegation instructions.

I urge you to vote no on this bill for patient safety reason.’

Attached to this email is a copy of HB 2020 for you to review. In addition, at the end of the email are the names of the committees and links to the specific legislators now discussing these bills. You may contact these legislators even if they are not your district representatives.

I urge you to stand up and be heard! Contact your legislator NOW and tell them to vote NO on HB 2020 an SB 1899.

Carol Twombly


San Antonio Chapter

Texas Emergency Nurses Association

Allow me to dissect their letter, its inaccuracies, outright lies, and unsubstantiated “fact” and offer counter-points:

Using less qualified providers…”

So we’re only less qualified when we pass through the magic portal that separates the ER from the parking lot? I don’t recall a statement in law showing Paramedics are less qualified providers. Desire to compare academic requirements? I do it later in this article. And before the “degree-based” requirement for nursing comes up, perhaps we can make sure to include all the presently certified/licensed nurses who maintain their certification/licenses despite being from diploma-based training programs. It was not very long ago that these were still commonplace and accepted, or has nursing forgotten the inconvenient. We in EMS are clearly moving toward a degree-based requirement as a field. In fact, in Texas, you must have an Associate’s Degree in EMS, or a Bachelor’s degree or higher (any field is allowed) to be a Licensed Paramedic.

a) Requirements for paramedic licensure.  (1) A currently certified paramedic may apply for a paramedic license if the candidate has at least one of the following degrees from an institution of post secondary education which has been accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an approved accrediting authority:    (A) an associate degree in emergency medical services (EMS);    (B) a baccalaureate degree; or    (C) a postgraduate degree. (link to Texas Administrative Code here)

So much for the degree argument.

Currently, EMT and paramedics are provided the authority to provide life saving measures in the pre-hospital environment until the patient can reach the emergency department which is a higher level of care.”

So, the issue actually is authority, not skill or qualification.


This differs significantly from the registered nurse role which is an autonomous provider who’s training includes independent decision-making in which the RN works collaboratively with the physician to ensure that adequate care is provided to the patient.”

RN’s are not autonomous providers. Ask an RN for an over-the-counter medication like Acetaminophen while you are a patient. A physician orders, and they execute, no different from Paramedics. You must be a licensed Nurse Practitioner, or more precisely, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) to work completely autonomously ( This also makes it sound as if we don’t work collaboratively with physicians, which although is only implied, it is strongly implied and not true.


“Furthermore, the Texas Board of Nursing rules does not allow nursing to carry out orders from an EMT or paramedic.”

This is completely irrelevant. Under what pretext would this statement be necessary unless nurses were acknowledging that Paramedics are higher levels of practitioners than they. No one has made such an assertion, and no one should. In Texas, a nurse and a Paramedic are neither higher than the other. No authority has been given to nurses to delegate to a Paramedic or EMT either. We are governed by different laws and boards. We take our patient care orders from physicians and other licensed independent providers, not RN’s.

EMTs and EMT-Paramedics temporarily receiving direction for a physician could create a very unsafe situation during the most critical time in the patients hospital stay.”

STOP! There isn’t a shred of evidence presented to support this egregious attack on our clinical competency, and it is nothing less than an attack. How do physicians and nurses interact with Respiratory Therapists, lab technicians, radiology technicians, PA’s, NP’s, RN’s, and LVN’s now? By virtue of this statement, there must be an extraordinary quantity of unsafe situations that already exist in the ER and in urgent care. One might wonder how a patient survives an encounter at the ER at all.

Are we truly supposed to believe adding another clinical professional into the equation will absolutely mean detriment to patient care? It could create a very unsafe situation… It’s absurd and inflammatory. It’s no better than saying, “The end of the world could occur at any moment,” and rather than support this statement with statistics and fact, we should resort to unqualified, unsubstantiated fear-mongering.

Here is the reality… Paramedics are trained extensively to work with physicians and nursing staff in the most critical and emergent situations, and after certification and licensure, we then do it nearly independently in austere and isolated environments, so should we be expected to crumble into babbling, incapable dolts the moment we are suddenly surrounded with an army of physicians, nurses, and other complementary healthcare providers? Hardly, and if anything, it will serve to bolster the patient care competency portfolio (fair note: I cannot substantiate my assertion here, but that isn’t stopping the ENA from urging their members to do that very same thing to us. The difference is I’m not suggesting a class of healthcare providers be prophesied as causing the downfall of emergency care by virtue of its delivery withing a walled building – read: ER or Urgent Care – instead of an uncontrolled physical and social environment – read: everything not an ER or Urgent Care – or a 100 square foot box on wheels).

And lest we forget, Paramedics undergo extensive clinical instruction and precepting in the Emergency Room under the supervision of, that’s correct, physicians and nurses, long before we are deemed competent and permitted to sit for our local and national certification boards. Nurses sign off on this competency! Again, the magic portal that separates the ER from the parking lot has astounding effects, and the best part is that the outcomes of the magic portal are selectively applicable when it suits the nursing lobby! The argument is contradicted within their own presentation against EMS. How can you decry our competence when you signed off on it?

Currently they receive directions (delegation) from a nurse so who do they listen to in this critical situation when the nurse needs help and the physician requests their assistance.

Fact: There exists no authority, whether self-derived from the Board of Nursing, or from any lawful EMS oversight committee or statute, to allow, or even imply a nurse is allowed to provide, direction or delegation to an EMT or Paramedic. If this relationship exists, it is that of a person who also happens to be a Paramedic working as an uncertified, unlicensed technician employee for a hospital, and it is because hospital policies, not law, have placed that person as an ER tech under the direct supervision of a nurse. They are absolutely NOT practicing under their license as a Paramedic… yet. Search job listings for ER Technicians in Texas and you will see that current or past certification and/or licensure is commonly highly recommended. It is not a position where a Paramedic is employed to use his license. Here are a couple major health providers in Texas to show examples from:

Who is accountable when they accidentally misunderstand the delegation instructions.

On its face, this seems like a valid argument, but like all the previous arguments I present from this letter sanctioned by the Texas ENA, it fails to recognize the reality of placing a licensed and/or certified provider in the job. When a certified or licensed Paramedic, employed under their own certification and/or licensure, makes a misunderstanding of delegated instructions in providing prehospital care, it is their own license that is on the line, not a nurse, and rarely a physician is held liable (disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, but a well-respected attorney and Paramedic in Texas has told me as much – I will endeavor to present more fact from case history if requested). It is no different than if a nurse “misunderstands the delegation instructions”. The nurse isn’t magically liable for any other provider’s license, but their own. Again, this statement serves to cloud the issue and incite fear of liability where it doesn’t exist. Logically, if you cannot substantiate your claim on fact, plea to the emotion of the bureaucracy and legislation and use fear-mongering to support your position.

There is extensive preparation in pathophysiology, pharmacology, skills, and critical thinking/clinical judgment.

Again, they imply that Paramedics haven’t this training, which we can document we have as part of the core curriculum of Paramedicine and in the NHTSA educational requirements. I don’t have anything on the national accreditation standards for Paramedic education as required by the NREMT, but I can’t see them negating the national educational model. Requirements from the federal government are the baseline and accreditation would only work its way up. To allay the fears that we are uneducated oafs given power tools and a license to kill, I provide a link below to the national education model standards for Paramedic training. You may find the 385 page outline on the curriculum stimulating, and that’s only the outline, not the multiple-volumes of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, life span development, terminology, differentiations from medical and trauma on each major body subsystem and age group, operations, incident response and coordination, documentation, and more, nor does it even touch the prerequisites of our allegedly subpar (per Texas ENA) education. All of that also doesn’t detract from the fact that although nurses are trained holistically and through a complete care cycle from admit to discharge, Paramedics are trained specifically for everything spanning from pre-admit through every conceivable emergency and critical care situation, and for inter-facility transport of the critically and chronically ill. We are emergency care specialists, not medical generalists.

Most emergency departments require that emergency RNs are trained in advanced cardiac life support and trauma nursing care.”

Again, anecdotal, and a broad overgeneralization, completely unsupported by facts and statistics. Texas isn’t most emergency departments. . This is a hospital matter and if it is driven by anything, I would suspect it is accreditation and reimbursement, and certainly not law. What Texas Department of State Health Services EMS (TX DSHS EMS) does regulate is trauma center level designation:$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=25&pt=1&ch=157&rl=125

In other words, this is smoke and mirrors and does not justify the Texas ENA position. ACLS and TNCC (continuing education certification courses for cardiac and trauma care) are not commonplace for typical nurses. ACLS is mandatory for Paramedics to maintain certification and licensure, and it is commonplace to see Paramedics teaching the courses, and we have a couple equivalent courses to TNCC specifically for EMS, or can even take TNCC for ourselves. So why bother bringing this up? To show that after you are licensed you need additional training so you can do what Paramedics had to do before they even left school? It isn’t helping your care, but when taken alone, it sure sounds like you are implying that your skillset exceeds ours.

There is a national certification body that also provides certification in emergency nursing.”

So what? We have a national certification board too. The difference is national certification in emergency nursing (a.k.a., CEN) isn’t required for state licensure, nor is it a regulatory requirement to work in an ER or hospital. In Texas, national certification IS required to obtain new or reciprocal certification and licensure as a Paramedic. The statement implies the untrue, that nursing is more qualified than EMS.

However honorable obtaining this prestigious certification, and it truly is, it is accreditation and reimbursement driven. Most states in the USA require national certification for Paramedics before being granted state or local certification and/or licensure to practice. Additionally, while emergency medicine is fully within our purview, the CEN (Certified Emergency Nursing – certification is not a core requisite of nursing. It is an adjunct certification to demonstrate competency in a specialty field which is not part of the primary nursing curriculum. Emergency medicine, pre-, peri-, and in-hospital, is at the very root of Paramedic education.

According the the BCEN (Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses), currently, more than 30,000 nurses hold the CEN certification. In my experience (anecdote), it is uncommon to encounter a CEN outside a large hospital system. I cannot recall encountering any in my 20 years in EMS that worked in rural hospitals. In fact, I have worked at a few rural places that call the local ambulance to the ER to run their codes (cardiac arrests) for them. You aren’t making a case that nurses are safer than Paramedics in an ER for patient care.

Furthermore, the Texas Board of Nursing rules does not allow nursing to carry out orders from an EMT or paramedic.

So what? The Texas Board of Nursing does not regulate emergency rooms or hospitals, nor does it write Texas law. The Texas Board of Nursing does not regulate EMS providers, either. We have already covered this ground. Under what circumstances would a Paramedic be giving orders? None. They aren’t independent healthcare practitioners. That’s the physician’s job. If a Paramedic were administratively higher than a nurse in an ER or Urgent Care, it would be a hospital decision, not a legislative one. Imagine that, a Charge Paramedic giving staffing orders to nurses. Of course, the Paramedic still could not dictate patient care or give orders. That has to be left to the physician/PA/APRN.

Now, I want to head off the next tired argument before it is presented. Nursing will sing to you of the requirements for continuing education to ensure clinical competency does not stagnate and the nursing practice is forever advanced, and the continuing education opportunities are impressive, to be sure. They are required to obtain a full 20 (twenty) CNE (Continuing Nurse Education) hours per two-year licensure cycle. Ten whole hours per year of class time dedicated to maintaining and expanding their knowledge base in nursing!

However, this pales in comparison to the 144 hours required by TX DSHS EMS for Paramedics (, every four-year certification/licensure cycle. Paramedics have the option of forgoing continuing education for renewal in lieu of sitting for a complete written licensure re-examination. To maintain national certification, the National Registry of EMT’s, our national certification board, requires 72 hours of continuing education every two-year cycle, which is nearly four times the continuing education requirement for nurses in Texas regardless if you look at annual, bi-annual, or four-year cycle. Of course, employers may always opt to require more education for their staff, Paramedic or nurse. As as comparison note, Texas physicians are required to obtain 48 continuing medical education hours per two-year cycle (

I am frankly appalled at the unprofessional, unwarranted, baseless attacks on EMS provided by the Texas ENA and the San Antonio chapter. I respectfully demand they retract their letter to their membership, require their membership that have submitted it to their legislative representation to issue a retraction letter and apology for unprofessional conduct, and issue a public, formal apology to all Texas EMS providers and especially Paramedics, both certified and licensed. Had an EMS organization the audacity to behave in the same manner, I have no doubt there would be attorneys representing nursing breathing down our necks asking this and perhaps more.

Nurses, we have decades working together symbiotically to support the patient care spectrum. We applaud your advancement professionally and encourage it. We have likewise opened our educational offerings to you in good faith, as you have to us. We are modeling your growing pains as a profession and we are walking in your footsteps, striving to implement national degree-based requirements and it will take time for us as it did for you, but this condescending air of superiority has got to stop. We are not your pawns. We are not inferior to you. We are not subordinant providers to you like CNA’s. We are no longer even technicians. We Paramedics are certified and licensed in our own right, just as you are. We are not subject to your boards, rules, and regulations. We are a profession unto our own. We have separate regulatory bodies, enforcement, and accountability. A good big sister helps her siblings grow, mature, and come into their own, leading them to betterment. She doesn’t beat them down every time they try to stand on their own or bully them into submission. Grow up.

Contact the Texas ENA here:

Link to Texas ENA contact information provided by the National ENA

ENA, Texas State Council

ENA, Texas State Council









Contact the San Antonio Chapter of the Texas ENA here:

And the author of the insult letter here:

Carol Twombly, RN at

Carol Twombly, President of San Antonio Chapter of the Texas ENA at or (210) 260-3699

Carol Twombly, President of San Antonio Chapter of the Texas ENA












Contact the NAEMT leadership here and ask them to address this professional misconduct head-on:

Conrad T. “Chuck” Kearns

Dennis Rowe

Terry L. David
Director, Region IV

Troy Tuke
Director, Region IV

Matt Zavadsky
At-Large Director


Ben Chlapek
At-Large Director

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
PO Box 1400
Clinton, MS 39060-1400

Physical Address:
132-A East Northside Dr.
Clinton, MS  39056

Phone: 601-924-7744
Toll Free:
Fax: 601-924-7325


I encourage you to read this article from “A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver” for his considerations of this deplorable attack on EMS, and he is offering a template letter for EMS and anyone else to base their own letter to your Texas Legislators.

I invite you to use this preformatted letter as a starting point for your own letter to the Texas Legislature. Please remember to keep your own responses professional, without stooping to unsubstantiated data, opinion, and lies, unlike our colleagues at the Texas ENA.  You may wish to open the PDF and then copy the text into your text editing program (Word, Google Docs, etc.).  Thank you for your support in this matter!

Texas Legislature Preformat Letter for HB2020 – PDF

April 1, 2015
by The Unwired Medic

Phillips MRX to Feature Add-On Voice Mods

Just a short article today. More articles coming down the pike soon though. Thanks for reading!!!

A couple years ago, I was beta testing the Philips MRx defibrillator/monitor for an agency and I ran a code almost right out of the chute with it on my unit. We had hooked everything up in our cramped little apartment and began CPR, then I applied the CPR “puck” to the sternum and had the crew resume CPR. After a moment, it began coaching the compressions.

“Compress a little deeper.”
“Compress a little faster.”

Blah, blah, blah.  After about two minutes of this, one of my firefighters exclaims, “Man, that thing’s worse than my wife!”  After a brief moment of ensuing guffaws, we continued the serious business of the task at hand. The MRx really did provide good feedback on compression quality, but the ability to mute voice was used on nearly every event from then on.

Still, it got me thinking about how to make the voices more appealing and recently, it hit me… I’ll broker a deal between Philips and TomTom!  Success!  Now, just like you can buy voice packs to upload to your GPS and hear Yoda say, “Turn right in a quarter mile, you should, hmm?”, you can have R. Lee Ermey sing you a CPR cadence and say things like,

“Why you lazy little maggot! Compress faster!”
“You do CPR like old people F***, Pyle! Compress deeper!”
“I don’t know, but I’ve been told… Compressions fast and deep are mighty bold!”

But we didn’t stop there, no.  You can also get featured voices from Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Bieber, Gilbert Gottfried, Patrick Warburton, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Rosanne Barr, and more.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get stars like Pamela Anderson or Anna Nicole Smith as it was felt that if a patient were successfully resuscitated, that crews getting caught in the moment might not stop compressions when indicated.

If you are interested in learning more about this special add-on, find your Philips MRx dealer or contact them for more info here: Philips MRx for EMS

During the first month of this feature’s availability, they’re offering the add-on voice modules for free, but they will start charging in May 2015, so act now!

September 18, 2014
by The Unwired Medic

Are You Kilted?

More than half of September has passed and the Kilted To Kick Cancer (KTKC) campaign is gaining a lot of attention nationally, spreading the word to gain awareness about male specific cancers. Fantastic! It’s gaining traction that it’s okay to talk about male health concerns as openly as women discuss breast cancer. But… we have a long way to go.


If you are reading this, you’re already of the fact that you are or know a man who is going to get prostate and/or testicular cancer. The statistics for prostate cancer compared to breast cancer are truly alarming. Women face the likelihood that they are the 1 in 8 who will contract invasive breast cancer, whereas men face the high probability that they will be the 1 out of 7 men who get prostate cancer (the good news being that is this improved from last year’s rate of 1 out of 6). The fatality rates are identical for breast and prostate cancers at 1 in 36.

So why aren’t we talking about it more?

Breast cancer advocacy is strong in the US, due in no small part to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and awareness tools like the Pink Ribbon. Some fun with awareness has made its way into mainstream society too. For instance, “Save The TaTas” or “Save Second Base”. Not having a ribbon color to adopt, the KTKC founders adopted the most manly thing they could find… the kilt!

So, for September, the KTKC Army wear kilts every day we can to raise awareness about male-specific cancers. It’s a great conversation starter, and every day this month I have worn mine, it has been the conversational segue into proselytizing about KTKC. I keep a few business cards around and pass them out to people I tell about KTKC. Men, women, young, old, it doesn’t matter. I tell everyone.

Prostate cancer risk increases proportionally after the age of 40, and it is recommended that men get their prostate checks and PSA blood draw annually, just as women should be getting their mammograms annually.

So man up!

If the ladies can endure a machine squishing their bosom for 15-30 minutes. A prostate check is over in less than a minute. Suck it up and get your caboose to the doctor and get it checked. The longer you wait, the harder the treatment course. Women should do monthly breast exams. Men, check your sack! 5 minutes of self-exam is more than enough. Hey, it can even be a co-ed exam! Your mate may spot something you don’t!

So you know to Get Checked, now Get Kilted!

So you say you have or will get checked. Super! But you’re hesitant to get a kilt. Why? You aren’t Scottish? So what! You can get a plain kilt like the one I have pictured above, which is more formal, or a tactical kilt :-* , or a clan tartan. You can wear the colors of your branch of military (my Leatherneck Tartan will arrive in a couple days), or even your favorite pro football team.

So this is your multiple choice challenge from me. Pick one, pick many, pick all:

  1. (Required:) Get Checked!
  2. (Strongly Recommended:) Get Kilted! (see recommendations below)
  3. (Critical:) Go to – Learn more about male-specific cancers and make a tax deductible donation to KTKC! Make sure to select “Team Unwired Medic” on the donation page!
  4. (Extremely Dedicated:) Take the #DunkYourJunk Ice Challenge! Go to  the KTKC Facebook page at to see how it’s done! Note: Not for the faint of heart. This also provides demonstrative proof that you do not suffer from Low-T! You also don’t get credit for this unless you publicly post video proof.
  5. (Altruistic:) Spread the word! Reblog this! Share it on your social media profiles (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, etc.!

Thanks for reading my blog and learning about male-specific cancers and the Kilted To Kick Cancer campaign. Be safe and be blessed!

Where to get a kilt:
Alt.Kilt (KTKC Sponsor)
SportKilt (KTKC Sponsor)
Atlanta Kilts
Highland Kilts
5.11 Tactical (limited availability annually)
Linda Clifford
Kilt & Thistle Scottish Shoppe
The Celtic Croft


What does a kilt cost?
Economy kilts can be found at some of the sites I mentioned for even as low as $50, but you get what you pay for, so it may be adequate for your needs or suitable for short-term use, but may not hold up over time. Mid-grade kilts that use only ~3 yards of fabric and are fleece or acrylic fabrics are about $89-120 off the shelf, with custom options adding cost (buckles, belt loops, fringe, stitched pleats, etc.). True wool, formal kilts can start at $400 and go up, but are suitable for weddings and black tie events, and you usually get 5-8 yards of fabric.


What accessories can you use?
Sporran (essential)
Kilt pin (essential)
Leather Belt, 2″+ (recommended)
Sash and broach (formal)
Highland shirt
Kilt hose and flashes
Ghillie brogues (footwear)

September 8, 2014
by The Unwired Medic

Infomercials Inspire Confidence

I have to say I find more confidence in a product advertised on an infomercial. When they slash 75% off the retail price, then as I’m picking up my phone to dial and order, they double-down and offer a second identical item and add some special bonuses for just the cost of separate postage and handling! Mind blown! Then they add an additional money back guarantee, so I feel like I have nothing to lose!

I wonder if we can start selling backboards this way?

They’re so versatile! Use them as a coffee table or a spare surfboard, then, when you are out of project space, flip it and turn it into a portable workbench! Did granny FDGB? Get her to the car with your backboard and some duct tape!


Image credit:

Did the po-po kick down your door in another bullsh– raid? Just take two backboards and tape them to the door frame! Got a saggy mattress? Just slip your backboard between the mattress and boxspring! Having a hard time painting that second floor of your house? Just place a backboard between two ladders and VOILA! Instant plank!

Don’t wait! Order now… But, wait, if you call in the next 30 seconds, we’ll throw in a second backboard ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! (Just pay separate processing and handling) Not enough? Well act now and we’ll throw in a set of removable seatbelts and a roll of camouflage duct tape! Call 1-800-4-DARWIN right now!

Disclaimers: Not available in all areas. Product shown may not be identical to the product you receive. This post is satirical. If you don’t understand the word “satirical”, please visit the following website:

August 30, 2014
by The Unwired Medic
1 Comment

Feast Yer Eyes!

I’ve been out of the blogosphere for a few months (3 jobs, a family, and full-time school to get my BS-IT will force you to do that). Well, if this Jarhead expects to make a triumphant return, I guess this is about the best reason to have…

Team Unwired Medic” Joins The

Kilted To Kick Cancer – 2014 Campaign

This will be my first year participating in the Kilted Army. I feel so strongly about supporting this year that I’m getting my very first kilt, even though I haven’t the faintest idea how Scottish I am. But, I am Once A Marine, so I’ve at least earned the right to sport the Leatherneck Tartan. So, ladies and mateys, get ready to…

“Feast yer eyes!”



That’s (an older) me, flashing Kelly Grayson, by the way. Join me and the rest of the Kilted To Kick Cancer (KTKC) Army throughout September as we raise awareness (and funds) for Prostate and Testicular cancers.  So far, in its short history, KTKC has raised over $50,000 for male-specific cancers. Jump in and help us raise more. Raise awareness by talking with your bro’s. Need some talking points? Got ’em right here…

More euphemisms and puns than you can shake a stick at:

  • Don’t get sick – Check your stick!
  • Don’t be a putz – Check your nuts!
  • Before it turns black, check your sack!
  • Don’t be a dud – Every year, check your blood!
  • Although it ain’t super to get checked in the pooper, your monkey will say thanks during the subsequent spanks!
  • Check your prostate before you become prostrate!
  • Don’t be silly – Go see your doctor and check your willy!
  • Don’t get the funk – Check your junk!
  • Check ’em in the shower – You have the power!
  • You can’t go wrong if you check your schlong!
  • Here’s a PSA to get your annual PSA!
  • Even a monk needs to check his junk!

Feel free to comment with your own. :-)

This is my rifle! This is my gun!

This is my rifle, this is my gun! This one’s for fighting, this one’s for fun! – From Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 movie, “Full Metal Jacket”.

Now, for a brief (hahaha, brief) pause in the silliness – Time for some serious facts:

September is prostate cancer awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 7 men will contract prostate cancer, whereas 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer. Men, it is just as fatal as breast cancer (which, incidentally, also can affect men). Presently, 1 in 36 men will die from prostate cancer, just like 1 in 36 women will die from breast cancer. This trails just behind lung cancer deaths for both sexes. Additionally about 1 in 270 men will contract testicular cancer. These are mostly treatable diseases. Prostate cancer is predominantly diagnosed in mature men (>60), but it isn’t exclusively old man’s diseases. Some are diagnosed as early as their 40’s. In fact, testicular cancer is more of a younger man’s disease, most prominent in post-adolescent and middle-aged men. 1 in 5,000 will die from testicular cancer. Serious enough?

Are you willing to live with those risks? What about you as a cancer survivor? Are you willing to live with the complications? It’s not just about live-or-die. What about impaired sexual function? Sex is an important part of life and a man’s self-image, in your teens, adulthood, and, yes, even your years in maturity (eww, grandparent nookie!). Besides, if sex wasn’t so great, we wouldn’t have a booming world population, right? What about just going to the bathroom? Is it more honorable to be stoic and go 30x/day and to get up at least 4x/night to dribble a little pee than to be the guy who doesn’t have to fight his own body to pee?  I don’t know about you, but my penis is EXIT ONLY! I don’t relish the idea of having to stick a catheter or dilator wand (read: Roto-Rooter) up there just to go to the bathroom.

As is mentioned on the KTKC blog PSA, if 1 in 36 men were getting killed by buses, we’d be doing something more about it. Now is the time! You are the person to act!


How can you help?

The first step is to spread awareness. Wear a kilt – ladies, there are kilts designed for you too. Talk to other men (and women!) about exactly “what’s going on under there”. Get a KTKC t-shirt and wear it everywhere you can, whether you have a kilt or not. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, MySpace, AOL, Prodigy, Earthlink, your own webpage, e-mail, or even by word of mouth. Also, check out this video by The Happy Medic and Motorcop, “Dunk Your Junk” at Don’t forget to share it too!

Second, get yer arse to the doctor! Literally! Get your annual prostate exam. Suck it up, buttercup! Drop your drawers or lift your kilt and get poked and prodded. Is it uncomfortable? Perhaps, but it isn’t as bad as a mammogram, right ladies? Oh, and speaking to the ladies, nothing can move a stubborn ox like a good nagging from the old ball and chain. (See what I did there?) Be relentless and remind him that his duties to you and family include taking care of himself. Ladies, you get your annual squishy smooshy, so make him go get his annual blood test and grab his knees. It’s only fair, right!

Third, to find a cure takes research; to research takes money. Funding for research of causes and treatments for these cancers matters. Last year, it was 1 in 6 men. Now it’s 1 in 7 men. It may not seem like a lot of difference, But personally, I’d rather be one of the seven that doesn’t get prostate cancer or can at least catch it early.

To provide awareness campaigns also takes money. If you are so motivated and enabled, PLEASE make a tax-deductible donation to KTKC, a 501(c)3 organization, on the following page:

Follow the tips in this infogram to help Team Unwired Medic win the team contest! Whether you donate and pick Team Unwired Medic, don’t donate and can spread awareness, or if you donate without picking my team, THANK YOU!!!

KTKC Team Donation Helper

Select “Team Unwired Medic” to help us win!


Thanks for helping to raise awareness! Now go forth and spread the, um… er… good news… in a kilt!

Kilted To Kick Cancer

Kilted To Kick Cancer

April 1, 2014
by The Unwired Medic
1 Comment

FDNY Agency Name Change

EMSNY's proposed uniform patch design

Here’s a sketch of the new EMSNY uniform patch. Details should be finalized early June 2014.

In a stunning move, today FDNY formally announced they are changing their agency name to EMSNY.  This move comes in light of agency audits conducted of FDNY’s call statistics dating back more than two decades.  For example, just in February 2014, FDNY ran 4,609 structure and non-structure fire calls, but ran 15,167 medical emergencies (grand total of 38,188 calls)* (330% more than fire calls).  FDNY’s EMS division, however, ran 110,154 ambulance calls in February 2014**.  (Editor comment: please note the enormous disparity in call volumes for fire suppression and non-medical – 20%, versus medical calls – 80%.)  This is a typical monthly example.

FDNY’s Interim EMS Chief, Phil Anselmo, says this name change has been considered for the last three years, but has been put off due to the expense of changing station shirts, patches, and stationary.  “Really, this should have happened years ago, as FDNY has run more significantly EMS calls than fire for the last two decades.  You know the old adage, ‘150 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.'”

While the FDNY’s ambulance drivers are lauding the decision which they believe shines a bright light on the department’s most significant investment of time and labor, not everyone is pleased with this bold move.  Firefighter/Engineer Terry Glaze believes this will remove firefighters from the limelight.  “I have over 25 t-shirts with flames and bulldogs, and my favorite one is ‘Find ‘Em Hot and Leave ‘Em Wet‘.  I’ll have to replace them as they won’t be authorized under the new uniform standards,” says Glaze.  To pad the egos of the single-function firefighters who may not fully embrace this long-overdue change, the department will allow blue EMS-themed t-shirts that feature the grim reaper, blue flames, and skulls, and references to “cheating death”.

Union vice chairman David Peacock is expected to file grievances against FDNY EMSNY and are considering filing for legal protection of the FDNY department name.  As the case is ongoing, no comments were offered by the Union.

Ambulance driver Donnie Hart hopes the city will start spending less money on suppression apparatus and more money on better ambulances.  “Honestly, who spends 3/4 of a million bucks on a fire truck? I could buy, like, 10 ambulances for that!”

* –

** –

*** – Legal disclaimers: This post is a spoof article on honor of 01 April 2014.  The names used in this article are not intended to reflect actual staff of the FDNY EMSNY.  Names and likenesses are purely coincidental, even though they do accurately resemble men known to sport big hair in the 1980’s.  If you believe that the nation’s largest fire department, a.k.a. New York’s Bravest, would actually change their agency’s name to reflect the significant majority of work they actually perform, you should consider seeking counseling and researching the word, “gullible” (I hear if you say that word slowly, it sounds like “oranges”).  No part of this article should be construed to imply that the author does not appreciate the fine work firefighters perform all over the world everyday and the value they bring in support of the EMS mission.  The author himself has even been a firefighter in the distant past.  The article is intended to bring light to the dark side of the fire service, gollum.

March 18, 2014
by The Unwired Medic

Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

I read an article today in the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) magazine about “Life’s Parachutes”, a story about Charles Plumb, a Naval Fighter Pilot shot down over Vietnam and was subsequently a POW for six years. Plumb was back in the US dining with his wife at a restaurant when a man walked up to him and said, “You’re Plumb. You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down.” The man who approached Plumb said he packed Plumb’s parachute. You can imagine Plumb’s gratitude.


Photo credit:; User: pixelbase;

This story made me think of how we often take our vehicle stock techs and maintenance staff for granted. They’re packing our parachutes every day so we can go out on our missions to provide EMS to the communities we serve. Their ability to do their jobs correctly and completely ensure we aren’t doing a disservice to our communities or putting us at liability for abandonment or failure to provide adequate care to our patients.

I had a significant problem with some supply techs at a previous employer, and was burned a few times, having LSB’s with incomplete straps (when it was still acceptable to use them for all manner of trauma patients), missing a pedi BVM from the cabinet on a traumatic arrest peds (I had my second in the peds bag, but that cost me time to ventilation), etc. I worked with the logistics manager for several months to refine the restock process, implementing a QA process and shrink-wrapped bins through a supply-line, and one of the goals was to ensure every unit in the fleet of 43 ambulances was identically configured for consistency. I got a lot of flack from management for leaving the HQ over an hour late every shift for several months (no overtime was allowed so I couldn’t come in early to complete my checks) as I checked every single piece of equipment and inventoried the entire unit, but there were failures and missing items every day. I made a deal that if my unit was perfect every day for two weeks, I would leave on time and perform my checks in the field on my downtime, but not until then as it was my license on the line. No one would come back to a logistics manager or supply tech and tell them they couldn’t practice supplying anymore, but I could be held liable by the state for failures or missing equipment, and I wouldn’t live with causing harm or not being able to help my patient due to a problem. I still opened every single shrink-wrapped bin (much to the chagrin of supply and management) for another two weeks until I was comfortable with results of the new process, but eventually, I didn’t even need to do that anymore. The deal worked and I never had another supply problem at that agency. It took time to trust, but eventually, I trusted my parachute to open every time without fail and it did. I don’t work for the agency anymore, but I still keep in contact with a few of the supply techs and supervisors. They aren’t nameless, faceless, automatons. Many of them would later move on to becoming field providers there or at another agency. I never made friends with the fleet people, but I didn’t cause them any trouble and when I had an issue, they took it seriously and fixed it the best they could, and I’d like to believe it was due to some mutual respect.

Plumb delivers speeches and presentations now and one of his questions to his audience is, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Read the DAV Magazine article on page 27 of the pdf magazine here: