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.

March 4, 2017
by The Unwired Medic
1 Comment

I hope your mother reads your article

So, there’s this little article from February 28th in Psychology Today being circulated about the interwebz, authored by one Peter Edelstein, M.D. and it is entitled If You Go to the Hospital, Get Ready to Yell…

It’s a story about how you can supposedly positively influence your care, or that of a loved one, by being a complete and utter asshole. Could things at the hospital have gone better? Sure, they probably could. Perhaps you considered whether to call an ambulance for your mother, whom you suspected was having another TIA, but you didn’t. I shudder to think of how you would have treated the EMS providers, had you been present in time for them to provide care and transport. Your faux pas has even inspired GomerBlog to depart from medical satire and offer critique onTwitter about how you could have handled that like a sensitive 90’s guy and been a better behaved man. Wow. That’s one for the ol’ CV.

As for me, Dr. Edelstein, I would offer you my feedback here instead as I do not subscribe to Psychology Today:

Dear D!ck… I’m sorry, Peter: That your article appears in Psychology Today is a bit of an irony as your article paints you as one with a serious personality disorder telling others how they should expect to behave overaggressively when dealing with healthcare matters.  Did you learn your professional manners at charm school? Perhaps the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine taught you to be verbally abusive to people who probably make a lot less money than you and are probably consistently working a lot harder than you. You sure aren’t reflecting well on your alma mater. The only credit I’ll give you is that you didn’t start throwing $h!t around like a spoiled brat, which, sadly, I have seen more than once. I think you gravely misinterpreted the book, How To Win Friends And Influence People. It would serve you well to watch the video from The Cleveland Clinic, Empathy: The Human Connection To Patient Care. It’s easy to find on YouTube and it will take less than five minutes of your precious time.  This video highlights how you, and all of us, really, should consider patients and fellow caregivers alike.  You see, you have no idea what the hospital staff you so easily chastise have gone or are going through, or what their shift has been like. You can’t see what is happening right outside your own ER room door. I agree that some things could have been done quicker or you and your mother (God bless her) could have been better informed, but your reaction is inexcusable. Had you done that on my shift, at the very least you’d be sitting in the waiting room with your very own security guard or peace officer to keep you company. I do, most sincerely, hope that your mother reads your article.


Now, as I penned this, I looked around to learn more about the good doctor and found he wrote a follow-up article just this very day here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/patient-power/201703/touching-very-raw-nerve, where the author backpedals about what he wrote after admitting to being crucified on social media by hundreds of nurses and a few doctors, and rightfully so. To this, I can admit to saying things in the heat of the moment, but I have learned that putting it in writing on the internet for all the world to see, then not bothering to update the original article to express how I shouldn’t have said what I said, and how I said it? That’s bad practice. You earned every bit of your tarnished reputation, sir. Say what you mean and mean what you say when it goes on public display.

Of note: Psychology Today has taken down the original article that brought forth the wrath of nurses scorned. When you try to access the article, you get this:

Access denied to the article that was posted six days ago.

Access denied to the article that was posted six days ago.

 

However, thanks to the internet that never forgets, if you wish to read the Google web cache version, it is here: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3AQVgNIZzjcrYJ%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.psychologytoday.com%2Fblog%2Fpatient-power%2F201702%2Fif-you-go-the-hospital-get-ready-yell+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

January 13, 2017
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

What’s (Not) Wrong With Me?

Preshospital Mental Health

Mental health issues have been given, rightly so, a LOT of attention on social media. We see it in places like the Code Green Campaign, TED talks, a Mental Health First Aid card course, and in our trade magazines. Then there is Dansun Photos and art that show a lot of what we feel. Then we reach out to the assorted forums on Facebook and we talk through it there and maybe make light of it with Gallows Humor.

anxiousI recently had a question asked in one forum where there were a couple of pediatric calls, back to back, that were what many would say are definitely emotionally taxing, except this EMS professional didn’t feel shocked in any way about what had just transpired. He treated the situation clinically. He simply moved on to the next call.

He took to the forum to ask of his trusted compatriots if something was wrong with him. This struck a chord with me because just a few weeks ago, I also asked if there was something wrong with me.  The statistical data that were available said that people with PTSD or other emotional issues, specifically related to the work we do, comprised a much smaller percentage of providers than either of us imagined.

The Social Media Paradigm

As we peak in to the information age, social media has given us a new set of realities and normalcy. Suddenly, you see issues being championed by multiple sources, whether it is LGBTQ+, racial issues, eco/environmental issues, or whatever, we as a society, are seeing much more than we would in the absence of social media. I’ve been in EMS since 1994, so I am approaching 23 years in this field. Before social media, there was only what we saw on Rescue 911 and TLC’s Paramedics. We talked it over in social cliques, or maybe at “choir practice”. We had a view of what was either within our realm of influence or what we learned about from the media.

Now, we add social media, and what we see is a growing community of people that have much in common, and we have an emotional outlet as well. In fact, social media is really giving us a myopic view of the world, so much so that my esteemed colleague and I came to ask what was wrong with us for not feeling depressed, emotionally fraught, or turning to alcohol or other substance addiction, for not being on antidepressants and anxiety meds, and for not staring down the barrel of a shotgun.

Social media is tricking us into believing that a vocal minority is the new norm. We should keep that in perspective when we peruse and partake in it. Personally, I haven’t held onto a traumatic experience for more than a couple days before I’m the same old me. That doesn’t mean I have Aspergers or am bereft of emotion, or even a sociopath. On the contrary, I am quite empathetic and emotions do hit me. I have great respect for the gravity of a situation and those it affects, like the patient, family, friends, and even bystanders. I just have a knack for leaving work at work. It’s clinical for me, not personal.

Know when to reach out

That said, never hesitate to reach out if you do have a concern about your mental health. It no longer is something we should lose our jobs and future advancement opportunities over. It isn’t a burden the family should bear with you for your choice of career. Even the “tough guys” need to find a nondestructive outlet for what they bottle up inside.  If I had it all to do over again, I assure you I would take a lot more vacation time and spend more time with the family, especially on holidays.

Nex Band

November 17, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
3 Comments

Product Review: Nex Band Smart Bracelet

Nex BandAt CES 2016 (the International Consumer Electronics Show), I saw a pretty inventive company that was making a smart bracelet with interchangeable modules that you snap in an out, and each of these smart modules was programmable to allow different features. Neat concept overall. Honestly, I didn’t write about it until now because it was still a proof of concept and not quite ready to market. It was a neat idea, but it was bulky, and the overall sentiment for smart watches was they couldn’t be too bulky, even for the sake of new and expansive features. But, I kept them in mind for when they evolved their device into a production ready unit.

That’s all changed as of today.  The Nex Band has arrived. Far upgraded from the concept I viewed at CES, this device is no less than incredible and the possibilities are endless.  The video below will show you more of a social aspect to the band. It can be integrated into your home’s smart devices, like garage door openers, gate openers, security lighting, or join with many other smart devices in your home. It has a great social aspect, such as being able to detect close proximity to friends, auto message sends, tagging locations for reminding you about things, like making a Yelp review, or adding a restaurant to your favorites list.

It has a gaming aspect as well. Imagine playing a virtual “tag, you’re it” game while working in a System Status Management agency. When I worked at MedStar, a traditional game was to place a special bowling ball on another crew’s ambulance, in a cabinet, on their gurney, etc., so when they took a corner, accelerated, or braked, they had to call their unit on the air and declare that they had the ball. So every crew tried to avoid the crew with the ball. Sometimes, the mass of six or seven ambulances at a hospital would mysteriously disappear and the ball was left on the driver’s seat. The Nex Band bracelet could be used like this too, along with a “no tagback” rule.

Check this out…

Seems pretty cool, eh? So let’s talk about the serious aspect of the utility that the Nex Band can provide.

Let’s say you have a family member that has Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritises (sp?), or COPD or CHF. Maybe they’re getting some knee replacements shortly since there is literally no cartilage left in their knees. They also have been given their first smartphone, like a Samsung Galaxy J3 V, with “Easy Mode”. They aren’t moving the best and we’re afraid they might fall again (one visit from the fire department for a lift assist is enough to realize it’s getting worse and they don’t want to be in an assisted living facility). As much as we would hope they would carry their phone everywhere in the house, it isn’t going to happen for a late night bathroom visit, or just to get up and get a meal. Enter the Nex Band. A slip and fall can be dealt with by a simple push of a pre-programmed button that calls their son or daughter, or sends a pre-programmed text message saying they need help, or dials or texts an E9-1-1 PSAP. Another button turns on the speakerphone so they can talk from where they fell. A medication reminder may be programmed for another button. Another could remind them to do their physical therapy and respiratory exercises. Another can open the garage or unlock the front door for emergency responders and turn the lights on.

How about for us in EMS and public safety? We could use it as a panic button for when we find ourselves needing the cavalry on a call, since pushing a button on a bracelet is far more discrete than picking up a radio or phone and calling a MAYDAY alert, and that might get you shot or make you the target of an aggressor. It could be used by a flight crew as well (I’m okay, I need help, MAYDAY, on scene, transporting, etc.).

Do you see where I am going here? There is no limit to the amount of benefit to the pre and peri-hospital and general medical fields. The Nex Band can help with nearly any home therapy or call for assistance we can provide. It can be a safety device for crews that cannot speak or use a radio. And it’s waterproof. It’s still a bit bulky, I admit, but it isn’t like any other smartwatch out there. You can adjust each module from the app, or you can hack each module if you want even more customization. When I saw them at CES, you could even integrate it with IFTTT.

Learn More:

They’re getting ready to come to market soon. If you want to learn more, you can sign up on their site for more information here: The Nex Band

November 14, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
2 Comments

Product Review: Magnum Response III 6.0 Boots

I see this question often on Facebook and Twitter: “What boots should I get for EMS?”

About a year ago, Magnum was looking for wear testers and I signed up to see if I could join in. It’s a neat program that allows you to check out a few Magnum product and you can keep them. They do put out requests for wear testers on their social media pages, so make sure to follow Magnum on Facebook and Twitter.

A few months ago, they sent me a welcome package with a t-shirt, water bottle, some decals, a guide book, and my first product to test and review.  I was asked to review the new Response III 6.o boots.

 

Magnum Response III 6.0 BootsThe last time I wore Magnum/Hi-Tec boots was in the Marines in 1995.  I only got to wear them on duty for about 3 months, then the regs changed and we couldn’t wear them any more. In that 3 months, I completely wore them out. They were comfortable, like tennis shoes. They were very popular among Marines (at least at MCB Pendleton). Since then, I have worn Danner, almost exclusively. Other brands were just not comfortable and able to handle the daily grind of working in EMS and for recreational hiking.

Get Kilted - Get Checked

Get Kilted – Get Checked

That I was able to review these boots was perfect timing for me, with my latest Danners wearing out. I have been wearing these boots for about four months now. They have proven to be quite durable and very comfortable as well. I have even worn them with my kilt during the annual September Kilted To Kick Cancer campaign.

What’s this all a-boot?

I wear a 10.5 to 11.0 boot and these boots fit like a glove right out of the box. I found them comfortable to wear, with good padding throughout the footbed, and they provided me with good arch support. The sole is flexible, but firm. It appears to be a non-replaceable rubber/plastic hybrid. There is a good amount of grip on them with broad grooves (great for channeling water away) and even walking across wet surfaces, I found I didn’t lose even a little traction. The other nice thing is that they don’t collect junk, which is important for me, as I work full-time in our area’s local L2 Trauma Center’s IT Data Centers. One of the two sites I work at has two retention ponds and a creek between them. So, it is blessed with a large flock of annual resident Canadian geese. They leave mushy poo everywhere, and as good as the facilities team is about keeping walkways clean, they are simply outnumbered. It is important not to track stuff into a data center. We keep the rooms as clean as a high-end hospital’s trauma bay. Not quite sterile, but exceptionally clean. Anti-static also is important, and the rubber compound does not disappoint. I walk across sticky mats before each entry to the data centers, and when I step on them, I look at the footprints left and they are pretty clean… moreso than the Vibram soles I have on other boots.

You may think that doesn’t reflect what we do in EMS, but I can tell you that I am frequently kicking freight boxes and pallets, climbing in and out of raised floors and metal server racks, running carts, climbing ladders, and much more. I often catch the toes on snags of metal and server rack doors. I’m pretty rough on my boots.

As far as EMS goes, I have worked a couple shifts and found them to be very supportive for the ankle, easy to quickly put back on when the tones drop. They have one catch on each side for speed lacing. I would prefer true speed lacing loops over the catches, personally. Splashing through decent puddles (1-2″ deep) is no challenge and no water leaks into the boots. When I wear them for 12 hours at a time, my feet come out dry and cool. (Note, I usually wear Under Armour boot socks with any boots.) By the end of the 12 hours, I am ready to take them off for a while, but I’m now in my 40’s, so that seems to be the case with any footwear for me.

I think my Magnum Response II 6.0 boots are more durable than the Shadow Trooper's!

I think my Magnum Response II 6.0 boots are more durable than the Shadow Trooper’s!

The toes are not reinforced on these boots, so if I had the option, I would prefer at least a reinforced toe, or a steel toe option. Ankle support is less than an 8″ or 10″ boot (which I prefer), but not bad for a 6″ boot. I haven’t rolled an ankle on a hike over semi-rough terrain. Aesthetically, they look like black work boots. I’m finally at the point where I feel a good polishing is due. They have held up well to scuffing so I haven’t needed to do that yet.

The Verdict:

Overall, I’d give them an 8/10. I am not sorry I got my hands on these boots. They are comfortable, durable, and attractive. I wear them at work and off duty. They provide good support and protection. They are comparable in quality and durability to much more expensive boots, like Danner. If the speed laces and reinforced/steel toe were available, they’d have scored a perfect 10. Not bad for a MSRP of $79.99.

Learn more about the Magnum Response III 6.0 boots and the Response Boots series at http://us.magnumboots.com/response-series.html

Do you have a favorite work boot? Share yours in the comments!

November 3, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

I’m tired of Facebook EMS forums

Most Facebook Forums

It is more than a little disheartening to find so many EMS forums on Facebook that are focusing on less important issues. You can find hundreds or even thousands of posts with essentially what amounts to gore porn, and asking about the best boots to wear, which stethoscope should I buy, and, literally, “I failed my exam twice. Do you have any tips to pass the exam?” By the way, about every five posts is an advert for Teespring or some other shirt maker hawking stupid slogans like, “I’m here to save your ass, not kiss it!”, and “Being an Emergency Medical Technician is not a career, it’s a post apoloclyptic survival skill!” Give me a break.

What I don’t see much of is EMS pages on Facebook that talk about clinical excellence, best practices, evolutionary tactics and treatments in EMS, alternative uses of medications, expanding our knowledge base and clinical aptitude and competency. So when I do come across groups like that, I tend to stick around, and occasionally I even help admin them. My blog and Facebook followers are higher caliber providers and I know that most, if not all, of you want to learn and be the best medics you can be for your patients. I’m going to give you a list of pages worth checking into for more about actual medicine and less about hero worship and people too lazy to research questions before posting yet another redundantly redundant, no-skill, knowledge-less, drivel ridden post.

Where to look to learn and contribute to the improvement of your care and all of EMS:

Believe me when I say that these pages are chock full of the latest peer-reviewed science and medical evidence. There are some real superstars of EMS lurking in these forums. Big national names, quiet, unassuming medics, flight medics, post-secondary educators, biologists, attorneys, expert witnesses, ER nurses, EM physicians and medical directors, public health people, and yes, there are some egos that tend to bump heads, but there really should be all of that. Without some vigorous discussion (that doesn’t decay into a childlike tantrum), we may never see improvement. It’s fun. It’s the stuff you’ll need for ACLS EP/CCEMT-P/FPC/CCP preparation, protocol and guidelines development, tips to improve your presentations, and oh so much more. Closed groups are closed to keep the average time-clock puncher out of the way. If you can be serious about what the forum exists for and use it to sharpen your sword, then ask to be let in. Most likely, you’ll get in. Be prepared to see far more than anything you’re likely to encounter in an ordinary EMS CE course.