I just got home from my last clinical of the Fall and I’m grateful that I’m not but some pathophysiology and drug information away from officially being on break. Mentally, I’m tired. Physically, I’m tired. Tomorrow will be the first time I’ve slept past 0500 since August. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to that.
Unfortunately, I also got some bad news when I turned on my laptop.
I logged onto Facebook and noticed several local EMS friends had changed their profile pictures to the Star of Life with a black bar. Before I had a chance to ask any of them why, I found a story on EMS 1 about an EMT in Montgomery, Alabama who was struck and killed while she was working a MVC on I-65. This hit close to home for a few reasons. One, she was my age (29). Plus, it’s literally close to home. Montgomery is about three hours from my house. My thoughts and prayers go out to EMT Laura Elizabeth Pullam’s family, friends and co-workers at Care Ambulance in Montgomery.
There have been way too many line of duty deaths (LODDs) in EMS this year. We’ll have to wait a while for the final tally but I can say that it’s been way more than should ever happen. One is one too many. We’ve all got to be careful out there no matter what. Ultimately we are responsible for our safety and we have to do all we can to make sure we go home at the end of our tour. I’m not sure if Ms. Pullam was wearing her reflective vest but I would like to think that she was. I know a lot of EMS folks, though, who don’t always wear theirs. It only takes a moment to put it on so there’s no reason not to wear it. Regardless, the article indicates that she was struck by a driver who thought his destination was more important than slowing down for emergency vehicles and icy road conditions. Ultimately, she was killed not because of something she did or didn’t do but because of a driver who had no respect for anyone but himself. Even wearing safety equipment, we can’t let our guard down for even a second. I know how hard it is to attend to the patient(s) and watch out for ourselves but it’s something we must do.
The only ones who truly have our backs are Jesus and ourselves.
Be safe out there. No matter what, where or how, stay safe. I always say a prayer when I go in for a shift that God will use me, keep all of us on my shift safe and that my wife will be safe while I’m gone. I also remember EMS, fire, law and even dispatchers who are working and hope the safe for them too. I’m thankful whenever I’m able to come home (mostly) intact. I’m also thankful when I know my friends make it home as well. I’m sure you agree with me when I say that I’m tired of hearing of EMS LODDs.
What are we going to do to change it?