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New Medics

I started paramedic school last week. It’s a class of about 25-30 people, all EMT’s in New York City or nearby. The course is pretty expensive relative to average EMT income, but still less than you’d spend at a California university for a year. Either way, it’s a big commitment, consuming something on the order of 1300 hours of training in 11 months. About 30% don’t make it to the end, and 15% of those that do make it will fail the NYC “MAC” test, supposedly the hardest paramedic test in the country.

That said, I’m already concerned for a few of my classmates. We finally finished all the orientation/legal/ethical shenanigans, along with a healthy dose of “this is a very tough course, it’s a big commitment, your girlfriend will leave you, your friends will think you’re dead, etc., etc.,” and then began some EMT skills. We broke off into small groups of 5 with instructors, whom presented a theoretical patient encounter.

We started with the general impression (after BSI/scene safety, of course!), which was a 52 y/o male found sitting on the couch in his apartment complaining of chest and epigastric pain for the past few hours. Great. We move through the ABC’s: airway is patent (he’s awake and yelling at his wife), breathing appears normal, so let’s check out circulation.

The instructor asks a student across from me to evaluate circulation for our chest pain patient. He says, “well, the first thing I would do is check his voids for any major bleeding.”

*smacks head*

For those not in the medical field, the assessment he mentioned (checking the voids) is recommended for trauma patients in order to check for bleeding we may not catch otherwise. Due to the fact that our patient was MEDICAL, I don’t think he would appreciate us checking under his arm pits, and between his legs just in case he fell out of his window, walked back upstairs, cleaned up all his wounds, and then forgot to mention the incident to us. Right. We’ll see if this guy is part of the 30 percent.

Categories: EMT, Medic School
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