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EMS Topics

Joe Mistovich, You Magnificent Bastard

For the past month, I’ve been teaching my first full EMT class taught under the new EMS educational standards. I’ve always sort of front-loaded anatomy and physiology in my courses, because I fervently believe that extra time spent in teaching how the body works makes it much easier to understand what to do when it’s working incorrectly. In the old ...

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In Defense of The Borg

May 19 will be my sixth anniversary as a Borg drone here at Southwest Hive. I’m still not fully assimilated. Likely never will be. I jokingly call my employer The Borg because of their tendency to gobble up smaller ambulance services on the fringes of their territory, relentlessly expanding their empire, like, well, The Borg. And they do have their ...

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Philosophical EMS Observation #3,476

EMS volunteer squads are like a battered wife, covered in bruises and scared of her own shadow, stuck in an abusive relationship with Small Town America.* Because, if you ever suggest that perhaps their town could and should pay them for their services, but never will as long as they're willing to provide them for free, they're all, "B-b-but I ...

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No, But It’s Past Due For Overhaul

A JEMS article on the Austin-Travis County EMS System asks is Austin’s EMS system broken? Honestly, ATCEMS hasn’t been anywhere near as good as its press clippings for at least ten years. See: laurels, resting on. The article concludes: “Using the ICMA six signs as a diagnostic, one could conclude the Austin-Travis County EMS system is in distress. The EMS ...

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Calling All Parents of Special Needs Children

I'm putting together a new conference presentation on Children With Special Healthcare Needs, and I figured I'd do a little crowdsourcing to get the parents' perspective on EMS care for their children. Specificially, what I'd like to know is: What is your child's medical history? What, in your view, are your biggest concerns for providing EMS care for your child? ...

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For You EMS Types…

… Gene Gandy and I have a new article in EMS World Magazine. Gotta give props to Gene, who did most of the heavy lifting in this one. Gene Gandy and Ambulance Driver, deconstructing EMS one myth at a time…

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On EMS Treatment Protocols

Protocols are intended to be an organized framework for delivering care. Written well, they are a floor, ensuring that even the least competent medic in your system delivers the same basic care as your best medic. Written poorly, they are a ceiling, forcing the best medic in your system to render care on a par with the least competent one. ...

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For You EMS Types

When you hear hoofbeats, think horses… unless you're on the Serengeti. Got an article in EMS World magazine on cardiac zebras. Big props to my co-author Gene Gandy, who did all the heavy lifting on this one.

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I Love Edison Medicine


Makes me feel all… paramedical, and stuff. Conversation with the patient after I lit him up like a Christmas tree: Patient: "So I was pretty sick, huh?" AD: "Still are pretty sick." Patient: "I didn't want my wife to call y'all, but I'm kinda glad she did anyway. If she hadn't called 911, I'd have…" AD: "… stubborned yourself to ...

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Almost Heaven, West Virginia


Woke up this morning to this view from my room at the lodge: Yeah, I'll take that over a view of the Las Vegas strip or Baltimore's inner harbor any day. Gave three talks today, with three more tomorrow and two on Saturday. I'm beat, but that's probably because, in direct violation of EMS New Year's Resolution #3, I was ...

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