Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hey Doc, I got a pain right here.......

 I know that most of the 5 readers out there are either in EMS and Fire or sympathetic to those services and read other blogs of such stuff and might understand this one.
 I am wondering how many of you out there have heard this in some form before, or even on a regular basis: “You got a minute?” Then they go on without waiting for an answer, “I have this thing growing here, can you take a look?”, or “I have this funny thing going on in my chest”. They want you to look it over and tell them what to do or perhaps save them a trip to the Doctor. Perhaps they don’t trust Doctors, I don’t know, but I get this a LOT.
 I don’t know why people think that because I have a minimal amount of training as an EMT-B that I can solve their medical problems. I understand the folks that are confused and make calls like this. I’m getting used to those and they are dying down, mostly.
 But I’m confused as to what I did to become the “medical professional of choice” in many of the places I go. At my paying job, people come into my office almost every week, look around to see who is listening, then say “You got a minute?” They tell me all sorts of things about themselves and family members looking for advice. I assure you that I do NOT encourage this. (Especially the ones that start out “I’ve got this discharge from my rectum    ) I usually listen, then try to give them information about the possible causes and advise them to seek medical attention. If they do not have the means to see a physician, I will do vitals and check out what I can to see if there is anything serious going on. If there is, I step up my advisement to see a doctor and explain why. If they have no overt symptoms, I offer to check them again in a day or so. If it’s something like a cut or wound, that’s different. I can clean it, look for signs of infection, and dress it properly. I can SEE that and I have suitable training in infection control and wound care outside of the normal EMS track. If anything looks funky, I sound the alarm and get them to a Doctor. I also spend a lot of time explaining things their Doctors told them that they do not understand. If I don’t know the details of a particular malady or treatment, I look it up and go over it with them. (I was always thinking the Doctor was supposed to do this, but apparently not.)
 I suppose this happens because they see me out around the building helping with serious medical issues when they occur, which is not too often. That’s part of my job at the plant as the only EMT in the building. I supply initial incident assessment and stabilization. I guess they think that makes me an expert, even though many times I am wondering how long it will take the Medic to arrive with his/her monitor.
 Work, Family gatherings, social events, even at the firehouse I get pulled aside. “Hey, you got a minute?” Sometimes this happens when I am waiting in the checkout line at the local food store! Now I confess that I myself have done this to a couple of medical professionals who are close friends when I have had some issues, but I wasn’t asking them for treatment advice (ok, maybe just once), and I fully expected to make an appointment to see them the following week anyway.
 Thankfully, nobody calls me “Doc”, but they do call me. Does this happen to you?

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, most of my friends or coworkers don't ask me these things. (Of course till very recently my coworkers were MDs and PhDs... though I did get one question from an MD that was "If my wife needs to go to a hospital and she is currently pregnant, where should she go?") Its usually random family that asks me the "so I have this pain in my chest..."

    But it is always interesting to try to explain medical things to them!