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The Off-Duty Paramedic FAK

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by towheadedmule, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. towheadedmule

    towheadedmule Loaded Pockets

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    To qualify this post, I work and live within on of the busiest EMS systems in the United States. I enjoy fast response times from both the Ambulance and first responders. Just thought I would share what I carry on me for a FAK. To begin with it is divided into 2 parts, personal and everyone else ( and a range bag, but that is a whole other topic).

    Personal
    Exedrin---I have headaches, these normally fix them
    Aleve---:censored: knees
    prilosec-----acid reflux is bad when you do not have time to eat
    Amerge----for the migaine that resides in all of us
    Band aids--2 anymore and I need something else.
    nail clippers---hangnails suck


    other people bag
    CPR mask-----unless she is my wife/GF/ummmm other SO
    gloves----- some people are just nasty

    thats it. thats right folks, I carry 2 items to take care of others. Good samaritan laws only go so far, and do not protect medics in my area for advanced life saving equipment used without an authority from a Physician. And that includes giving medications. Basic life support I am covered. On duty I have an entire ambulance to carry my equipment, and the authority to use it.

    As a lay person you may be covered differently than I am. Temper your FAK with what YOU need for yourself, your family, and the type of area you are in.

    YMMV

    Russell
     
  2. temujin

    temujin Uber Prepared

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    I'm not a pro, just a layman. Took some Red Cross courses. As you advise, I was told not to attempt to administer meds. Though the good samaritan laws would probably protect a layman, it would definitely suck to make things worse. I have a similar "everyone else" kit. It's a small, about 2" x 2" belt pouch with a disposable CPR mask and pair of gloves. I shoved a few Band-Aids in there for good measure. So far, the band-aids have gotten good use, but thank heavens, I have not had the need for the rest.
     
  3. Rich

    Rich Loaded Pockets

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    I'm very much on the same page with you guys; I have a pocket mask and gloves in my car.

    My EMT instructor who was a SFFD Captain/Paramedic said he wouldn't even stop at a scene to render aid. You heard right, the man said he'd keep driving :drive: to the next call box and call in the cavalry (he wasn't a big fan of cell phones). He probably WAS a big fan of scene management and I'm sorry to be able to say that I now understand the real reasons behind his personal "policy" :bounce:.

    I know a number of medics with similar feelings... one has 20+ years in and says that the only thing he carries day-to-day is his watch. Anything beyond that, he says, is either putting his person, family or his home's equity at risk. If you think about it, he's right: gloves and pocket masks only provide so much protection (is there an off duty AFLAC?) and you never know who's going to decide to sue... they might just add you to the suit for fun!

    -Rich, EMT-P
     
  4. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Loaded Pockets

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    While on a train going from New York to Florida we had the misfortune of hitting a young girl. I was in the salon car when an overhead call came for any medical person to come to the front of the train. My first thought was "somebody in labor", but as I got to the front of the train I was directed off and up towards the engine. Walking along the tracks I happened to look under the train and saw a leg. Futher along there was a group of people standing by the engine. Under the train I could see this body. We could not get under the train until they turned the power off. This took several minutes and I told the train crew to get the first aid kit. Guess What?? The train didn't carry one!! Not even a friggin bandaid! I told them to grab me some sheets. Myself and a New York EMT got under the train and log rolled the body over. She didn't have much face left but I was able to take a sheet and open her airway. She still had a pulse and was breathing on her own. The leg stump wasn't bleeding and I wrapped that in a sheetand told somebody to go get the leg and wrap it up and put it on ice. After what seemed like forever the Fire Dept EMS arrived and we hooked her up to a monitor and tried to get a line in her. They got her in a basket and lfted her onto an overpass with a crane. Then they got her into a chopter and airlifted her out. I heard from the train master that she was still alive when I got to Florida the next day. Up until that time I had not carried a FAK. Now I carry one that I can do everything but start an iv with.
     
  5. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Loaded Pockets

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    Never did find out what happened to that girl. :sigh:
     
  6. AmbuBadger

    AmbuBadger Loaded Pockets

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    "CPR mask-----unless she is my wife/GF/ummmm other SO"

    Wow. Hope the wife and girlfriend never find out about each other!

    Before EMS, I was a lifeguard on a dive boat; their FAK situation was pretty bad as well-- I was required to be at work with my personal bag during USGI safety inspections since they were passing it off as the ships' kit! I've seen too many places with that "it's never happened, we'll buy it after it does" mentality...
     
  7. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    My understanding of the Good Samaritan laws it that they cover non-invasive procedures. Giving meds is just as invasive as darting someone or starting a line. However, IANYL. :tickedoff:
     
  8. temujin

    temujin Uber Prepared

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    Well, that confirms it. I was taught in the Red Cross first aid class not to administer any meds.
     
  9. theotherphil

    theotherphil Loaded Pockets

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    Hmm, things are a little different here in the UK. We have no good Samaritan laws! As a Paramedic, I don't have to render first aid when off duty but if I do, I am expected to work to my skill level with the equipment I have available. It is also different in that I am fully autonomous and work under my own license and not an extension of a physicians license. This means I am a Paramedic 24/7....not only when I'm getting paid.

    This can mean multiple things. Some Paras I know carry nothing therefore can only be expected to do the basics. Some of us work privately as well as for the NHS so have all our own equipment (including drugs packs with controlled drugs - Morphine, Diazepam etc). This means if we came across an MVC whilst going to or from work, we'd be expected to work to our skill level. UK law will protect us from being sued as long as we act within our skills and we'd be judged on our actions against what another suitably qualified person would have done in that situation.

    Therefore, off duty, I can quite legally start IV's, intubate, decompress chests, place surgical airways and give any of the drugs I carry whilst being protected from litigation....as long as I only work within my skill level and only do what another Paramedic would have done in the same situation with the same equipment available. Quite sensible really!
     
  10. towheadedmule

    towheadedmule Loaded Pockets

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    one more reason to like the UK system.
     
  11. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    This is a good Samaritan law. The laws in the US are similar, except for...

    We most certainly cannot do this in the US. Good for the UK in encouraging qualified personnel to render off-duty aid when possible.

    Also:
    Could you elucidate? I'm very curious about what this would look like. Working in drug research labs? House calls? :laugh:
     
  12. theotherphil

    theotherphil Loaded Pockets

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    It's not a law...if you can find it in the statue books then please let me know. I'd be interested to see if I've been teaching wrongly all these years ;).



    Yep, I'm State Registered Paramedic as well as a MSA registered Paramedic. I cover a lot of large motorsports events - think British Touring Cars, World Rally Championship, F1, Moto X, Speedway etc. I am Chief Medical Officer at many of these and have specialist skills at Major Incident Management and CBRN (standard for UK Paras). I also provide services to Horse riding events, concerts, mass gatherings and have just got back from covering "Prizefighter, the series" televised live on Sky Sports 1. As you're curious as to what this looks like:

    [​IMG]

    I charge around $50US/ hour for my time whilst working privately and work 30hrs per week. When I was full time NHS I earnt $70k US per year basic.

    And to drag the thread back on topic a little, here's some pics of my personal "first aid kit". This goes almost everywhere with me....work, car, home:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Ker-RIST, that's good bread for being a medic; which is what licensure and recognition as educated professionals brings (as opposed to just being the "ambulance drivers"). Glad to see the UK is ahead of US (ouch, that was a bad pun) in that regard.

    Also, those stat-packs just crack me up. I hear they're bomb-proof packs, but the little QRS complex on every zipper in the bag is just a bit overdone for my taste. :laugh: :rolleyes:
     
  14. AmbuBadger

    AmbuBadger Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, you'd think they'd at least mix it up and put a PVC or some other complex on there for self-testing purposes!

    TheOtherPhil: What are the St. Johns like up there? Do they do standby's, emergency response, etc.? They seem like a Red Cross entity with ambulances (to me at least, no offense at all by saying that though!).

    *EDIT* Took a closer look at the zipper, looks like a PVC after all!
     
  15. theotherphil

    theotherphil Loaded Pockets

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    Licensure and recognition for being Healthcare Professionals is good in some respects but plain silly in others. For example, if you make a minor indiscretion and your employer can't discipline you, they can then lodge a fitness to practice complaint against you. If the regulating body removes your licence, then your employer can quite legally fire you! This means you're tried twice for the same offence and is often used as a stick to beat you with. Check this FTP hearing which should never have been brought before the regulator but I agree he should have been disciplined. This Paramedic risks losing his licence now and will never work as a Paramedic again.

    Yep, those statpacks are a little "in yer face" but they are real nice packs at a good price.


    St. John over here is a Voluntary organisation in much the same way the Red Cross is. Being voluntary, the standard of staff training varies wildly. However, there is some good amongst the not so good (like anywhere really).
     
  16. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    theotherphil: While it sounds like the "double-jeopardy" situation is indeed silly/deplorable, licensure is a standard throughout medicine. MD/DO, RN, PA/NP (effectively), everyone's got a license. Sadly, the threat of losing the license is important as well: accountability should exist in medicine, IMHO. Ideally, there would be a balance between recklessness and the "Diagnosis by Exclusion" approach that I see practiced pretty often in the ED I work in. :(

    *Facepalm* I should have looked at it closer. I think you're right; a PVC has much more of an "A" shape, for the stAtpAck logo.
     
  17. Medic7158

    Medic7158 Empty Pockets

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    I have to say, I'm amazed at both the leniency and apparent appreciation the UK has for its medics. I don't feel that medics should bank 6 figures or anything (Then it wouldn't be considered heroic), but equal compensation for the time, education, training and dedication required to be a paramedic would be nice.

    I don't think I would like being a paramedic 24/7, and I know my family wouldn't like it. I have seen WAY too many terrible things in my years as both a military and civilian clinician. I currently work innercity EMS and, while I wouldn't want to work anywhere else, I have to leave my job at work.

    That said, I don't carry very much in the way of medical gear off duty. I've always felt my greatest assets were my assessment skills and my hands. I learned to improvise as a medic in the army for so long that I almost don't know what to do with "real" equipment. If you use your brain, you'll find that most of the fancy "stuff" you carry, is only meant to reaffirm what you already suspect in the diagnostics arena. Most of the bandaging, splinting and immobilization equipment can easily be made from extra clothes, towels, duct tape and any rigid material you can find.


    In order to call them PVC's you would have to denote an underlying rhythm, hense the term "Premature". They appear to be the same, indicating a rhythm with either a widening QRS complex or purely ventricular in nature......Just to be argumentative.

    Oh, and by the way, I really dislike the term "ambulance driver".
     
  18. Organdonor

    Organdonor Empty Pockets

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    The old adage is true... you can tell the experience of someone in EMS by how much they carry on their belts. The newbie has everything under the sun, and the old pro is lucky to have a pair of gloves, and is always asking someone else for gloves.

    On other "preparedness" forums it's disturbing to read how much EMS stuff laymen keep around. I've literally seen someone who had over $4k in their "FAK," and yet only had Red Cross First Aid as a cert. If I were to bother spending that much, you can be sure it would to have an AED or two.

    Just recently I attended a large gathering of members of a motorcycle owners group I belong to. On a ride one rider went down, and got some minor road rash on his forearm. I saw someone digging around in a bag frantically looking for something, so I came over with my FAK roll. "Whatch need?" I ask... "I'm looking for my QuickClot!" Ummmmmm..... :censored:? I pulled out some gauze and cling, and by the time he found his QuickClot I had the guy's arm bandaged. "Nice kit," he tells me... "You should get some of this QuickClot, it's great!"

    "Ummmm... no thanks."
     
  19. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Why do you think i used it ? :evilgrin: Because EMS gets no respect. :(

    Yes and no. Not sure if it's required or not, but the Austin/Travis County EMS medics -always- have the bat-belt when then bring us folks, and they are an extremely well-educated bunch of medics (I think approximately 1 out of 3 are RN/Medics) with highly progressive protocols. As with everything, it's a story of YMMV.

    This whole story made me see red. Yikes.
     
  20. ppfd

    ppfd Loaded Pockets

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    Dude you don't think EMS providers should make 6 figures cause it's not heroic? Tell that to a doctor. Brother, I'm here to tell ya I do it for the money, its a job plan and simple. My "hero" days were over about 15 years ago when I learned what EMS is really about. "I need a ride!"

    I've been a Paramedic 20 years this November and I make $12.30 an hr. I'd take another job in a second if I could find one trust me.

    But back to the topic!
    I carry nothing other than a box of gloves, a mask, and a couple of those J&J .99 FAK in the truck, car and around the house.
    My uniform belt has a glove pouch, a rescue hook and that's it. Couple of pens in my pocket as well. I despise those pocket pant too!
    Wrecks I keep on moving unless the roads blocked then I turn around :laugh:
    Not trying to sound blunt folks, its just a job to me and when I clock out at 8AM after my shift. I don't think EMS till the next one! :)