Powerful picture of an EMT after a tough shift

Powerful picture of an EMT after a tough shift

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  1. I was involved in a rollover accident several years ago. The fire chief sat in the passenger seat (after they ripped the door off and expanded the roof) and held my hand until they were able to extricate me from my side.
    That simple gesture made a world of difference to me and I have never looked at a fireman the same since. Many times I have wondered who holds their hand.

  2. Theres a “tv show” you can watch on youtube that follows uk paramedics and it is absolutely addicting. These are tough people. Search “ambulance series 3” on youtube. I’ve only found three episodes but they’re a well worth hour long.

  3. Shift?

    This is one call. In some service locations you can get three or four of these calls a day.

    And after every one of them? You clean up, write a report, and inventory. The call isn’t over until you re-live it a few times to get a report right.

    If you’re lucky.

    If you’re not lucky? You clean up and get alerted to another call before you can finish your report, much less go to the bathroom, get something to eat, or catch up on reports that you’re already behind on.

    I did this for six years before going into industrial medicine.

    The pay isn’t worth it. Dealing with operations management assholes isn’t worth it (hi Acadian, decide to honor contracts without being sued yet?)

    Every now and then you are faced with a human who truly needs help, that didn’t put themselves in the situation they are in, and you’re able to do enough quickly enough to get them to definitive care in time to make a difference.

    And that’s worth it.

  4. Paramedic here

    That’s not the end of a shift, it’s the end of a call

    It’s also almost certainly staged in terms of the EMTs likely discussing “hey, get up in there and act exhausted like those paintings”

    Otherwise there is a real asshole taking advantage of this guy in his moment of grief or whatever all in the name of some heart string bullshit

    The truth is, outside of runs of bad luck that always turn around…on average about 80% of what we do is offer help to people who could have gotten to an ER without and ambulance, things like broken bones or kidney stones or nasty asthma attacks that need some treatment, but are mostly just discomforts and not especially life threats

    About 10% are legit life threats, heart attacks, respiratory failure, really bad accidents and so forth that are definitely high stress situations for everyone involved

    The other 10% are absolute bullshit…people who are seeking drugs or just using the 911 bus to get a ride to the next town over or minor crap that needs no medical care but they have grown up on Medicaid so never think twice about the cost

    So by that calculus, 90% of what we do is mostly customer service with minor technical interventions

    Just like 90% of what fire fighters do is offer traffic control at accident sites and get pets or kids out of vehicles that they are locked in

    I’d be happier seeing people share info on how to handle mild fevers or tummy aches on their own as opposed to this sentimental junk that makes people feel good for feeling bad about another

  5. As I work as an EMT, to be perfectly honest he’s probably mad the new guy missed the trashcan with his gloves again.

    There are definitely rough calls, and mental health is important, but these kinds of photos are kinda known as “Facebook cringe” in the community, and frequently get posted by people who got into the profession to be seen as heroes on social media.

    We take mental health very seriously, but we tend to also be insular about sharing it. You can’t talk about your pediatric trauma patient with a therapist, let alone a casual friend, and realistically expect them to get it. But you’d better believe your station is gonna have your back.

    That said, we still have high rates of PTSD and so posts like this have their place, but don’t be surprised if we don’t really know how to respond to “thank you’s”

  6. I think he’s mostly just tired and frustrated that his medic trashed the ambo and he has to put it all back together while his partner drinks a soda and writes his report…

  7. EMS is one of those jobs that’s sort of the worst kept secret.

    The pay is typically garbage unless you hold enough certifications to frankly qualify you to work anywhere _but_ an ambulance and the quality of life can vary from no sleep in a 24 hour cycle and garbage fast food or packed snacks to nothing happening in a 24 hour cycle and you got payed to work out or nap or watch movies (or all these things).

    There are some wild and wonderful stories that come out of this job and then there’s some potent nightmare fuel or some stuff that plays the heart strings like Jimi Hendrix on a cocaine drip*. There are days when rolling out lights and sirens makes me sigh and start rehearsing basic stuff for a hospital report and then other days when we show up for what was reported as a stubbed toe ends up being a full life or death run.

    Ems is like living life on a randomized shuffle of the same fifty or so songs, with occasional curve balls. But mostly it’s just dispatch’s balls or managements balls and it’s never really a ball.

    To EMTs that have been at it for a while, this picture illicits cringes for multiple reasons, but at its core it’s that EMTs want to engender the appearence of quiet professionals who do their job and want little credit and maybe a lot more pay. I believe this culture comes from one where it’s easy for 16-18 year olds to get into the career and at that age the things you see can hit pretty hard and leave lasting impressions. As a result we end up with these groups that seem melodramatic to the guys that have been at it for decades or guys that got into the job later in life with more caluses on their hands from work and ass chewings.

    We appreciate being remembered and we don’t mind small perks, but we don’t want to be seen with capes and we certainly don’t want to really see you ever, because that means you fucked up or got fuckes up.

    It’s a paradoxical job.

    *line blatantly stolen from Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame

  8. I’m not an EMT, but as a medical professional, when it “gets to you”, its not like seeing something gross and horrible on the internet, and its different from personal tragedy.

    I’m not talking about the measured amount of doubt and self loathing that comes with asking yourself if you could have done more or if you might have missed something or were too late either. That’s its own thing. I’m talking being personal witness to something really gut wrenchingly awful.

    The best way I would have to describe it is that it takes up space. In your soul, in your being, whatever you want to call it. Space you’d rather save for literally anything else. Pleasant thoughts of loved ones if you’ve got them or fond memories or just sports trivia or hype for a new book or videogame from a series you like…

    Its grows and swells like a balloon, pressing against everything you have in your actual life, squeezing them suffocatingly tight until all the joy and satisfaction starts to seep out. And yet, if you try and penetrate the trauma, to maybe find maybe a root cause or to think your way through it, all you find is emptiness. And all you feel is emptiness.

    The only way to reduce the size of this vacuum, this void in your being is to, no matter how busy you get, keep building up and growing everything else, pressing back against the void. Which can be hard, if you don’t have that much time, and not that many people. But you have to do it. Even if it takes ages to get even an inch of your humanity back, and just one bad night to grow that sack of emptiness. Which is why its important to get help and speak out when it gets to you. Because trying to ignore it, to just keep working, might end up with it suffocating out all that’s left.

  9. Many people are unaware but in parts of Australia, there is an opioid epidemic amongst EMT’s and medical first responders. It’s terrible and a huge tragedy, but it also gets dangerous when you hear about cases of EMT’s substituting opioids for saline solution with patients so that they can use the opioids themselves to “self medicate” the trauma they are suffering.


  10. As a paramedic I’ve seen a 17 year old girl run over by a train, tried to resuscitate drug users in seedy hotel rooms that have overdosed while working around their needles, people who are still alive and conscious after having half of their face torn off in a traffic accident digging their fingernails into my forearms while I ventilated them, etc. That last one was my calling it quits $15hr to work nights and risk hepatitis and HIV infections daily, barely ever seeing my children. I miss being able to help the truly needy but it’s no wonder why a paramedics suicide rate is so high.

  11. I was an EMT. And honestly he’s probably lying just tired and going “now I have to clean up this mess” and he probably missed his lunch opportunity.

  12. Jesus fucking christ. I’ve been a full time medic for 5 years and this shit makes me puke. Yes the job can be stressful yes it can be emotional but these fucking pictures are nothing but a grab for glory, practically begging the public to thank him for his service. Fuck that. No one makes you get into this field, no one makes you show up every day. We are not heroes, we are not special. Fuck off and get back to work

  13. Friend of mine is a Paramedic out in California. Every holiday like Valentine’s day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc, I always let her know that she’s important and that her work matters to people. Holidays are the worst for people like her because you would think it’s a fine for people to come together until you learn someone just shot their wife and kids on Christmas. I always tell her the same thing.


    “To a lot of people, the world is what they see and perceive it to be. That means you hold a lot of power. If you save someone’s life, you know what you did? To that person, whoever it is. You saved the world. And you know what you are when you save the world? You’re a god damn superhero. Don’t ever forget that.”


    Last I told her that she cried, so I think I’m doing okay. I want to follow what she does, gonna finish college next semester and go for EMT training. One of the big reasons I want to do it honestly is [this](https://m.imgur.com/gallery/83xZp). There’s so much bad in the world. In the end of my life, whether I’m surrounded by my kids or just machines. I want to be able to ask for a mirror and be satisfied with who I see. Every kid wants to be a superhero when they grow up. I guess I was one of them, and I never even knew it.

  14. At first I saw ‘after a tough shit’ and the guy sitting on something that looks like a toilet bowl in the van and got very confused.

    But seriously, hats off to these guys for doing what they do.

Powerful picture of an EMT after a tough shift

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