Every day we put ourselves out for others. We respond at all hours of the day and night to help strangers. We volunteer on our times off to help vacationers enjoy themselves. But are we really making a difference.
We proudly exclaim that we “Save Lives!” But do we really? By far the majority of our patients are not going to die, even without our intervention. A study done in New York City years ago showed better outcomes of those suffering a stroke who called a cab over an ambulance. In the first 18 years of my career I only had 3 cases of cardiac arrest that we were able to revive. . . with unknown long term outcomes.
In recent years, changes in how we do CPR, different equipment and updated training methods have allowed us to have better outcomes.
Throughout our career there are many times that we are unsure if we are really helping. . . Keeping a drug dealer alive to harm more lives. . . Working a case that we know is futile . . . Or responding in emergency mode at 3:00 am for someone who cut their toenails too short (yes, that was a call I’ve been on).
Today, I’d like to see if we can get some interaction. Please comment on the call that you have been on that you really made a difference. The call where you held a hospice patient’s hand as they passed away, The call were you made a very scared child calm by singing the “spongbob song” or changed someone’s outcome by talking about their family.
Mine is a call for a woman in labor a few years ago. She was very premature (22 weeks) and delivered a baby about the size of my hand. As I was about to tell her that the baby was too small to be viable, it moved. We went into full resuscitation mode and delivered the live baby to the hospital. Upon arrival many questioned why we worked on a baby that would likely not survive. When returning to the station that night, my crew and I were all considering stripping down to our boxers and work boots to quit the career. We were imagining the long term potential for this child, would it have a normal life or have some sort of long term disability? Our supervisor was able to talk us down with many very loud, passionate but inappropriate words shared by all with the idea that our job was to keep people alive, and the baby was alive.
Fast forward through the years, the child is now living a normal life. Neurologically and physically intact and a big sibling. This child is having a positive affect on their family and the people that he/she meets with a smile. This one child was nearly the reason I quit but has become the one person that I can point to and say “I made a difference!” Without me, and my crew there, this baby wouldn’t be affecting others today.
We all have similar stories and can raise others who question “Does our job really matter?”
Please add your story! YOU Make a difference!