Sunday, April 24, 2005


Well! Kevin Howard passed his paramedic National Registry! How about that?
Your thoughts?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Wierdest Jazz Fest Call

Okay, who's got the wierdest freak from Jazz Fest?
I was in the Grandstands and this guy about 22 years old comes up to the desk. He says he's got all kinds of back problems that cause numbness in his arms and legs, and it causes him to be unable to pee. The only way he can urinate is if he can immerse himself in the shower and is there a shower he can use?
I referred him to the ever-helpful security guard who regarded him quizzically for a while, then bemusedly. After that she sent him on his peeful way, all the while chuckling to herself.
Who's got a better wierd Jazz Fest experience?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Concrete Ideas

If anyone who counts is reading this, they probably get the idea that the natives are restless, and disgruntled. Well, they are, but there have been few concrete ideas about how to improve the situation. It's important for us to keep posting, since this is an excellent way to gauge the general state of gruntlement as well as a good CISD for everyone.
Many who post here are simply minions doing the bidding of the overlords. What we could use is a good set of specific ideas to make things better. But if you're reading this and you're in a position to make things happen, read on.
We need in house training and education programs. I understand that this was recently discussed. We can go outside for our training, but this is expensive and difficult. ACLS, PALS, BTLS, CPR and EMT refresher training needs to be available, as well as CE hours. Hurrah for reinstating monthly meetings in an effort to accomplish this goal! Let's make sure we make use of it and all you instructors of the various disciplines - make yourselves available for courses! In-house training programs for new EMT's and paramedics would be very proactive in attracting new employees. There are lots of people out there who'd be proud to have gone to the New Orleans "EMS Academy!"
We need a way to attract and retain existing employees. Of course everyone immediately expects a raise, but there are other ways to put money in pockets without hitting up the budget. Anyone remember the dinosaur days at Medic One when we used to get points for good behavior - coming in early, running more than your share of calls, getting compliments from patients? They translated that to gift certificates from Sears. That was cool. How about offering similar stuff, or discounts on movies, or cell phones or Best Buy or something?
We need a way to reduce liability and improve patient documentation. I'm sure most will agree, those Hammerheads suck! I'm sure it makes it easier for billing, after all, it was Lockheed's idea to bring in those blasted things. But there are other electronic systems that do a better job of documentation. And with better documentation, patients will recieve better continuity of care at the hospital, and out libility will be reduced because of unclear documentation. If we're worried about the budget, we can help obviate a multimillion dollar lawsuit be reducing liability.
We also don't need to rearrange things in dispatch related to creating item numbers. Charity calls do not need to be put into the computer and stay in the queue for days from the time they were scheduled. The system is not designed for non-emergency calls. In addition, Charity calls are billed completely differently from 911 calls. Creating computer items would only increase the workload for Yolanda and everyone else involved in billing. Entering all these calls in the computer only seems lie a ploy to artificially inflate our call volume. We already have plenty of calls; we don't need to create more!

Any other ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Planting the seeds for Greenie-Weenie Jr?

I hate rambling, and I hate going off on tirades – always sounds to me like I’m whining instead of actually making a valid point and argument about something.
Tried to call the other night on my way to work to let someone know I was going to be late by a couple minutes (less than 10, actually). Well, was told that no one was available, so got in as quickly as I could. Got written up – third time since January. Doing school and work for the last 9 months has left me pretty much with no energy at all, and most times I’m just lucky to get where I’m going. I’ve faced up to the fact that I’m just going to be late for my own funeral.
Anyway – get pulled into “his” office, have things “explained” to me (thanks, Dad!!) like I was some irresponsible nitwit who had no moral compunction other than just floating along with no sense of responsibility to do anything or show up places when and where I happened to want to. I was informed that I would be “fined the equivalent of a day’s pay” for my heinous infraction (since I was late because of trying to say hello to family I haven’t seen in 4 years who called me just shy of a hour before I was due to be at work to let me know they were 7 blocks from my house – silly me that I wanted to at least see them long enough to say hello). Alright, so it’s in civil service rules regarding the whole progressive discipline thing, and it’s just “his job” to enforce them. Alright, Mr. Hard Ball – how about enforcing all the rules? And how does the fact that I had to be “spoken to” about my boots not being shined have anything to do with my being late??? – yet it seems there is some hidden, underlying conspiracy on my part that equivocates these 2 crimes. Let’s do something about these slobs here who can’t seem to wear clean uniforms or at least ones that don’t look like they’ve been slept in, or maybe have people make some attempt to keep them tucked in, pulled up and pulled together? I’m not saying people have to have them dry cleaned and pressed professionally, but I think the last thing any of our clientele is going to remark on is how my shoes aren’t polished, and I grovel and beg forgiveness that I have other things on my mind and my plate (like trying to make sure I get laundry done so I have clean uniforms, or maybe getting in my 2 hour nap in between school and work) to make my best effort to try and be presentable and somewhat awake to be able to function at work. Take a look at your own boots, people, and honestly answer if you think they couldn’t use a coat of wax on them. And besides – anyone can wear cheaters that look like crap unless you’re at a black tie function anyway.
Notice, too, how it’s funny that, heaven forbid! you be 1 minute late (cause technically, that’s late, and it’s all about the details) and if you’re late coming in, you’re keeping your fellow employees from going home on time (doesn’t matter that you were kept in the office for 20 minutes to discuss this infraction, cause it’s your fault that you were late in the first place that started this whole chain reaction). But, if you get stuffed with a late call (which seems lately seems to be happening more and more, but due to dispatch error, not because we’ve been overwhelmed with calls since we extra trucks up on a regular basis), that’s just the “nature of the business”. How about the “nature of my life”? Not good enough! Ding! Thanks for playing! Which just tells me that I’m a piece of crap on the bottom of someone’s shoe, and not worth noticing unless there’s a stink made about something. All about the numbers – call times, budgets, payroll. Hmm – sound like private service talking? Certainly doesn’t sound like any civil service family that I’ve heard of. I’ve been wondering if that thank you card I received in the mail was sent to me in error, or if it was some kind of joke to just try and make me feel more comfortable in the den of snakes.
And how’s this for another straw to add to the pile – and here’s where I start to wonder if I’m paranoid and making things up in my head since I have no proof to the contrary. Call in to give 4 days notice that my availability has changed (from what was submitted over a month ago) and that a shift I was scheduled for I would not be able to work. Well, apparently, our schedule is written completely in stone, and under no uncertain terms would I be allowed to get out of the shift. And why, might you ask, was the reasoning for this? Because “he” would have to pay someone overtime to fill the spot! Hmm, how about another rule that always gets overlooked which applies to civil service – maximum of 350 hours of OT a year. Oh, but that’s right – we’re an emergency service, so the rules don’t apply to us. Oh, unless it’s convenient to apply them – but pick and choose to minimize inconvenience. Throw all these happenings (that occurred in less than a week) and I can’t help but wonder that I’m purposely being antagonized in an attempt to get me to bow down and kiss Coroframs or get me to quit. Someone mad because I found another job?
Keep hearing all this rhetoric about how this isn’t going to turn into a private ambulance service. Well, sorry! Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck – guess what? It’s a duck. I spent 10 years working for the other evil empire (and you think Acadian is bad?) – and went through 4 regime changes, 2 buyouts and multiple absorptions of other services. I’ve heard these stories. I’ve seen these changes. I’ve dealt with these personalities that have come and gone while the need for our services (shall we start to talk about equipment here? How about protocols that let us do something besides play taxi?) is still omnipresent. Anyone else hear ducks quacking?
So – is it just me? Am I just that out of line, or that much of a screw up that I’m making this so hard for myself? Or do things seem to be going south with “them”? Previously, it was a dictatorship, but you knew where you stood. That’s fine. There were rules, and everyone was subjected to the same iron fist. This now seems to be authoritarian (including the feeling of the secret police) and the goal seems to be to eliminate those who won’t shut up or put up. Seems a little reactionary that you get rid of the squeaky wheel instead of trying to figure out why it’s not working quite right. I’m not going to apologize for having a life outside of work and wanting something more from my professional career than continuing to do the same job I have for nearly 13 years. I love my work – when I get to do it. And seems fearless Director did something more than just settle for staying at the same level. I guess I’m just feeling terribly frustrated, held back and extremely tired – and it’s showing.
I do apologize for the rant – but appreciate your having read this far.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The 13th Loop

After reading Sean's post titled " The Noose Tightens" I thought I would offer up my own two cents to the peanut gallery. A few days ago around ETOD I was in the bay talking with one of the PRN employees, nothing special just the usual stuff, how was your night, any good calls, crazy people stuff like that. Somewhere along the convo he came to the point about his recent punishment for being late to work for the third time. I was half listening while I was mentally planning my two days off when I heard him say he was going to be fined an entire days pay for the offense. Hold up, back the truck up, what did you just say? Yea he repeated, an entire 12hr shift that he gets to work for free. WTF I'm thinking how the hell is that possible? As I sit there chewing on this little mental nugget I seem to remember M&J mentioning something about this at one of their mandatory fireside chats I was required to attend on my day off. As I sift throught the fodder that bangs around in my hat rack I do remember some little nibblet about being fined for write up's. While I'm dragging the thought up from the mire I seem to recall that that they slipped that little gem in while we were all embroiled with the uniform drama. Three write up's and you will be finacially flogged. So the hammer drops and this guy gets the brunt. I quiz him a little more on what exactly took place and he is amazingly short on the particulars. All this guy can tell me is that he was informed that he gets now gets to volunteer 12 hours of his life to the the city of New Orleans for free. Things happen, your car implodes, all the taxi's in the city are 10-7 and the RTA suddenly stopped running, whatever, people are gonna be late every once in a few. But the more I talk to this guy the less he can tell me. Whats the time frame required for the three write up's to result in lost wages? Do they all have to be of the same flavor? What are they based on? Am I all the sudden on the road to finacial ruin because some person calls in a complaint about my boots leaving mud on their carpet? Just what the hell is going on here? As we go back and forth on the issue I sudenly hit a pothole on the yellow brick road. Just hold up one little second I think; wasen't there an event of amazing idiocy just a few short weeks ago? Did I not hear through the deisel powered grapevine that is NOHD about a crew responding to a code out in the third where the paramedic not only let his basic partner run the code on scene but then allowed him to tech the call while he drove them into the er? With a fireman on board no less? Correct me if I'm wrong but does this go against not only NOHD regs but those of the NREMT? This paramedic not only was totally outside the bounds of the rules but also provided a substandard quality of care with probable detrimental results to the pt. Where is the finacial responsibility for these two? So let me get this straight. Three write up' s occuring in an unspecified time period relating to unknown and undefined incidents equals 12 hours of free work? ( and where does the persons pay go anyway? I guess not for chemstrips.) On the flip side blatenly ignoring procedure, providing less then the highest quality of care avaliable, and placing our pt's well being at risk earns you a stern talking to? I call bullshit. But I wasen't there so what do I know anyway. This sure ain't your Daddy's NOHD. Just what has happened? Keep the comments coming I have a fire hose at the ready to deal with the flames. j

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A sad passing

It is with a heavy heart I say this afternoon a great friend, father, Paramedic and a great man, has passed away. C.J. Orgeron has touch many of us and will be missed. Our thought and prayers go out to Dawne and Daniel as I'm sure they will need all of our support to ake it through this tragic time in thier lives. May you rest in peace C.J. till we all meet again to mustard around the Lords table.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Code 77 Shocker

I did hear some encouraging news! Friday I was riding around with Dr Johnson (6280) and he had attended a meeting of the Orleans Parish Medical Society that Juliette had organized. She had arranged for the CEO's of all the local hospitals to meet there. What was remarkable - it was the first time the hospital CEO's had ever met with each other! I guess in the world of corporate selfishness, it isn't cool to confer with one another.
Anyway, Juliette had a stack of paperwork that she distributed to each CEO detailing how many minutes their facilities had kept our units Code 77. One interesting fact was that the CEO's didn't even know that we had a situation like Code 77! I suppose the ED staffs never reported any of this information in an effort to make themselves look good.
But here's the kicker: Juliette's report detailed the Code 77's from January through March, and the total cumulative minutes of Code 77 in those 90 days was 30 days! All those 30, 60, 90 and so on minutes of Code 77 added up to an entire month that a unit was kept out of service by the hospitals!
The CEO's were stunned. They said they don't want to miss out on one patient coming in to their facility. They're busy scrimping and saving trying to minimize staff and maximize profits. But their effort to save money are misdirected. Imagine how much money is wasted on dumb advertisements ("Is it love, or a heart attack?") when they could be proactive in solving our problems and getting more of their own profits by building bigger facilities, staffing empty wards, and having in-house training programs for new R.N.'s, techs, lab workers, etc.
According to Dr. Johnson, there were some suggestions to bring in new technology to help solve some of this problem. How that works out remains to be seen, but you have to hand it to Juliette for bringing this to the shocked attention of the hospital mucky-mucks, opening the doors of their ivory towers and exposing them to the real world, our world.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Adios, amigo!

Today is Joejoe's last day! He's been something of an institution at HD since the dinosaur days. If you're like me, you likely learned plenty from him, pissed him off plenty, and got pissed off by him plenty! Nonetheless, EMS just won't be the same without him. We'll miss you, ma'am!
Best of luck in all your new endeavours! Wherever you go, you'll be an asset!
PS - C-watch is having a good-bye crawfish boil tonight (Friday). Not sure where it is, but it shouln't be too hard to find.