Blogs from Police &   
 other Emergency Service Workers

Ambulance: Temptation to Steal

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

The folks over at have posted an excerpt from my new novel, Diamond in the Rough.

In the excerpt, the narrator, a young EMT, realizes how easy it would be to steal money from a deceased patient, but his conscience gets the better of him — at least for now.

Temptation to Steal

Check out the excerpt, and if you’ve never been before, their excellent EMS oriented web site. regularly features excerpts of the latest paramedic books.

EMS Books


EMS Fiction — Diamond in the Rough — Order Today.

Diamond in the Rough


Don’t have a Kindle or e-reader, download a cloud reader for your computer or phone. It’s free.

Cloud Reader

Ambulance: Cheerleader

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

A Massachusetts firefighter this week went on a Facebook rant about heroin addicts.

Massachusetts Firefighter Criticizes Narcan Use and Addicts

His viewpoint, while certainly not representative of EMS, is not an isolated one. I have heard these sentiments expressed ever since I started in EMS. I have heard them from police, fire and EMS. Not from a majority by any means, but by enough responders to notice, enough for the comments to be commonplace. I am not going to blame the people who say these things, which I disagree with. The fact that the viewpoint is not a lonely one points out what a terrible job we have done in educating ourselves about addiction.

While I have always viewed drug abusers as fellow humans deserving of kindness and mercy, it is not until recently that I have come to understand that addiction is not a choice, but a terrible disease.

It is a shame that it has taken the heroin plague to get into the white upper and middle class community for the larger nation to start to take notice of...

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Ambulance: Opiates for Chronic Pain

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

Should paramedics give opiates to patients with chronic pain?

I want the answer to this question.

Now, until recently I have not questioned this practice. Today, I still medicate (well, most*) patients with chronic pain of 4 or more, who do not have contraindications, and who say yes when I ask them if they want pain medicine. I am following our regional pain guidelines, which I helped write. Underlying the guidelines in the premise that pain is what the patient says it is, and human suffering should be relieved.

Today at one of the hospital EMS rooms, I saw a flyer for a CME being offered on February 10 at a local ambulance service (Windsor) about pain management that included a mention of when it was appropriate and when it is not appropriate to give a a patient opiate pain meds. My question! It sounded like an absolutely first rate CME, which unfortunately I can’t make because I will likely still be at work on the ambulance when the CME kicks off. The flyer mentioned a virtual guest speaker, Dr....

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Ambulance: If I Were Going to EMS Today 2016

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

If I were going to EMS Today 2016 in Baltimore (February 25-27), I would definitely attend these sessions.*

If I could clone myself I would go to every session. But until that technology is available, I have two criteria to help me decide:
1). Will the information make me a better provider when I get back to work?
2). Will I get a glimpse of the future?

No More BLS/ALS—Just EMS
DATE: 02/25/2016, TIME: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Bryan Bledsoe, Prof. of Emergency Medicine, University of Nevada
Session Description: EMS practices and procedures have always been described
as either basic life support (BLS) or advanced life support (ALS). Where did this
come from and what does it mean? In actuality, quality prehospital care cannot
be characterized with these two archaic terms. In this discussion Dr. Bledsoe will
argue that terms such as BLS and ALS (and a few others) are actually holding
EMS back and will make suggestions regarding new terms for what we do.

Bledsoe has always been years ahead of the game ,...

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Ambulance: Little Things

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

The other day I wrote a post called “Burnout” that was a scathing critique of urban EMS (along with system status management, a different partner every day, and computer generated reprimands for punching in late). I sent it to a friend to read before I posted it, and he called me up, and said “Dude, you are crispy.” I ended up not hitting Publish, even though I really wanted to. The piece was very well written, full of great metaphors and passion. I had an excellent analogy to the game of Whack-a-Mole (hint, the moles weren’t the patients). Good sense got the better of me and it remains in my draft folder.

So instead of publishing “Burnout” today, I am publishing “Little Things.” Here’s two little things that are keeping me going.

I have written before about how much I love my Fort Lewis boots.

New Boots

But better than Fort Lewis boots are Fort Lewis boots with these excellent thick wool socks I have. My feet are so comfortable. I love my thick wool socks. I’m just walking along thinking, man these socks are...

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Ambulance: Prologue

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

Here’s the prologue to my new novel, Diamond in the Rough:


The woman wanted me to read her dead son’s manuscript. She found me as I played with my young daughter in a park near my home. (I had not returned her emails). The woman said her son had worked with me as an EMT on the streets of Hartford nearly a decade before and had held me in high regard. (Ah, flattery—it weakened my resolve to offer a firm but polite no). As I pushed my daughter on the swings, she begged me as a parent to consider her grief. Her son’s life had gone for naught and the hard lessons he learned would not be shared unless I could help her gain a publisher for his earnest tale. Yes, she was shedding tears as she spoke. My daughter came to a stop on the swing. Daddy, why did you stop pushing me? Daddy, why is she crying?

I did not recall the woman’s son’s name, but when she handed me a faded Polaroid of him in uniform, I recognized him. He had worked for us for several years. During that time, I perhaps worked with him only a time...

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Ambulance: Diamond in The Rough

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

To my fellow EMS providers,

I am pleased to announce the publication of:

Diamond in the Rough_300dpi

An Action-Packed EMS Thriller and Black Comedy

A grief stricken mother seeks a publisher for her dead son’s manuscript — the shocking tale of his wayward journey through the world of EMS.

Tim Anderson is a troubled youth who becomes an EMT at Capitol Ambulance in the hopes it will help land him a girlfriend. He struggles to fit in with his new partners and not appear soft toward his sick and elderly patients. His downfall begins when he steals marijuana from a despondent college student in an attempt to curry favor with his new girlfriend. Soon, he is lifting wallets from drunken businessmen and picking money rolls out of the pockets of gunshot drug dealers to buy her gifts and fund lavish dates. Dealing daily with death and human decline, and tormented by guilt, he struggles to allow his emerging conscience to guide him on a path toward redemption that while not saving him from his fateful end, at least bestows him with grace.


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Ambulance: No Fear of Death

Written by RSS Poster

In my last post I was asked in a comment why I don’t fear death, what brought me to that attitude towards it.

I would guess that due to the amount of death, ‘near death’, and ‘about to die’ that I have seen due to my work it has driven me to think about it a bit more than a ‘normal’ person would.

The two things that influence my thoughts about death would be my atheism, and my grasp, tenuous as it may be at some times, of logic.

Firstly, my atheism, means that I have no fear of a Heaven, or Hell, no Limbo (and sadly no Valhalla). So I don’t think that there is anything after death. You die, and you stop. Stop thinking, stop feeling, stop worrying about work, or family, or why the cat keeps scratching your sofa.

And if I stop thinking, then there is no consciousness, and therefore no experiencing of anything, including time.

So when I am dead, that’s it – I won’t feel anything because I won’t exist anymore. When I sleep I have no experience of time, no feelings of pain, no nothing. I don’t worry about if I am going to wake up...

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Ambulance: JEMS Caption Contest

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

EMS Cartoonist Paul Comb’s caption contest is live! The voting deadline is Jan.22.



Vote for your favorite caption below by Friday, January 22, 2015. The winning caption will then be added to the illustration by Paul Combs.

1. If you don’t get that seat belt on, I won’t be the only airbag in your face!
2. Buckle up, let’s have some fun!
3. Hey, you want to save someone’s life? Buckle up first!
4. We not moving till you have that orange stripe across your chest!
5. How can I trust you to watch my back when you won’t even watch yours?

The illustration with the winning caption will be on the EMS Today 2016 official t-shirt that will be sold onsite!

Caption Contest

While you are at it, check out Paul’s great EMS Blog at EMScapades. He posts new cartoons every Tuesday and Friday.

For those who haven’t registered yet for the JEMS Conference in Baltimore, MD on February 25-27, now is the time to do it.

EMS Today Registration

Ambulance: EMS Memoirs/EMS Fiction

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe

An EMS memoir can take any form, but there are usually only two.

1) The Newbie enters strange new world of EMS, struggles to prove self, and in the end makes good.

2) The Old Dinosaur looks back on his career, telling tales, etc.

Sometimes the two are combined together.

In the nonfiction books, the medics often portray themselves as “aw, shucks, I’m not a hero, but the people I work with are” kind of guys. In general they shine a light on the profession as a noble one.

EMS fiction, both in movies and novels, seem to take another form — burned out paramedics do crazy shit. See Bringing Out the Dead, Broken Vessels and the excellent novel Black Flies.

My first EMS nonfiction book, Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine took the first track. I wrote about becoming a paramedic and gradually feeling like I belonged. My second book, Rescue 471: A Paramedic’s Stories, was a continuation of the first, with just the slightest hints of a darker side.

My first EMS novel, Mortal Men, while about grander themes...

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