After my column about the EMS run on the sixteen year old child,‑I got so many responses that it occurred to me that it might be interesting to you to take a look into a world that few people see first hand. My editor, who is always sensitive to the work of the people who write for him, had a conversation with me regarding my life with EMS. You know, when I worked with City EMS, we often said we ought to write a book, and that comment would be quickly followed by, “People would never believe it!”‑ Well, I think that may well be true, but I have decided to give it a shot (no pun intended).
I have been “off the streets” long enough now, that perhaps it is time to record some of what that life was like. So, I will do a series of stories that come directly from my experiences with EMS.‑ It is not without some reservation that I do this. So…it seems only fair to warn you that I will write with directness, and raw truth of‑the experiences I had. I think that Louisville is pretty typical of fairly large cities and that these stories could be matched with most other cities in what happens at night, when everybody else is sleeping safely in their beds. The difference with Louisville is that the “Red Baron,” who will be referred to at times, was our director. He had the foresight to see the advantage of having RN’s on the street as Senior Medical Officers.‑ He was also the director of University Hospital here. University is a level five-trauma center. He had a vision that the best EMS possible would be to put critical care nurses on the street.‑ We would then street-train the Paramedics and the EMT’s as they finished their schooling.‑ This proved to be a very progressive and critical decision on his part.
In the United States, only one other medical service put Registered Nurses on the street with EMS.‑ That was Seattle, Washington.‑ We were neck and neck with Seattle for the most street “saves” in the United States, because of his decision. We didn’t have to delay calling in for orders from the hospital. We were given free reign to handle all the events that went down in the city.‑ Because we were given the liberty that we had, there was never a delay in the administration of critical care to victims.
When I first moved to Louisville, I noted an ad in the newspaper requesting Registered Nurses for EMS. That began my saga of the best job I ever had. I stayed with EMS for five years, and worked the night shift the entire time. I believe that we had about thirteen or fourteen nurses who worked the streets. Because Louisville’s EMS service was only three years old at the time I hired in, we were still relatively new. I admit that it was a heady thing to have all that freedom and responsibility. It was also scary.‑ I remember the fear that I had, and I remember, too, when the fear left me. Fear was replaced by a confidence that would make me more self-assured than I had ever been in my life, and was to serve me well. It was a unique opportunity, and I am very grateful that fate led me to the job of a lifetime.
Thus, I will begin a series of stories. At the time of this writing, I have no idea what stories will emerge. But they will. This column will not be for the feint of heart, as this series of stories will not be what you would read in any other newspaper.‑ Street life is graphic and raw, and often times, hilarious.‑ I ask your indulgence if you choose to follow along with me, as I tell the street stories. This comes after much consideration, and I appreciate the invitation by my editor to go forth in this effort.‑ I have not “visited” these memories for many years. There are those things that stick in the mind, forever, and those will be the stories that I will share with you. As always, I am grateful to have grown up in Waynedale, and to have had the life I had there, as it prepared me for many things to come.‑ Until next time, then,
Love to all my Waynedale friends,