I was on my way to go skiing this afternoon when my radio piped up. It seems there was a rollover on the ski area access road. I was still five minutes away, so I knew the local ambulance squad would have things well in hand by the time I drove by. The local ambulance squad depot is about three hundred yards from the access road entrance. As I drew closer, I could hear the local squaddies signing on ’76 to the station’; on their way to the station. I drove up the access road on my way to the mountain and there was no one on scene except a local police officer. Both of the occupants of the car were in the police SUV. I introduced myself to the cop and he motioned me into the back. The passenger of the car had hit the side of her head and was starting to bruise a little bit. The driver said he was fine. Considering the rollover and head injury, I told the patient to try to hold her head still while I palpated her spine. She claimed to have some unspecific back pain but said it was probably from snowboarding all day. I chatted with her while holding manual stabilization for about five minutes or so until the ambulance finally showed up. Then the politics kicked in; the rich and well-staffed local squad consider us to be the idiot stepchildren. I can’t imagine what took the ambulance so long to respond but the squaddies were clearly not happy to find a country cousin first on the scene at one of their calls. They took over the patient care and I was done without so much as a thanks. For what it’s worth, I felt they did a crappy job of boarding the patient… Her head was flopping around like all get out. Let’s just say it wasn’t a technique I was taught, but I’m new at this, right? Hey, it’s all about providing good care, right? I’m also getting to understand that EMS has silly territorial and interpersonal politics just like every other thing. So what? My goal is to provide as good care as I can; if I put some pompous squaddie’s nose out of joint by not driving by an accident, so be it. When all was said and done, I didn’t get to ski for as long as I had hoped to but I was happy with the care I provided.
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