Questions about EMS Workers

I’m open to readers answers about a few long-held questions;

Why do Paramedics and EMT’s fill every bag they get 20% beyond it’s maximum internal capacity?

If you only have one oxygen tank in the bag, why do you need to carry 13 non-rebreather masks?

If you only intubate one patient at a time, why do you need so many different ET Tubes? I mean, half sizes too?

Why do you soak laryngoscope blades in solution? Is it really bcause you would rather the guy on the next shift clean them?

If it only saves an average of two minutes, why risk an accident going lights and siren to the hospital all the time?

Why on earth would you call in a helicoter for a broken ankle? Is mechanism of injury alone a legitimate reason for a flight?


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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3 Responses to Questions about EMS Workers

  1. Niles Caulder says:

    Hey Dan!I\’m woefully ignorant on just about all of it…so much that it hardly benefits asking a question.But I did want to say "Hi!" and that your space is looking great. Looking forward to learning more.So what is the virtue in calling a helicopter for broken ankle? It seems implausable that the risk would cut the mustard in a cost-benefit analysis. What are additional parameters invoking a helicopter ride that would close that gap between risk and finite resources?

  2. Dan says:

    The short answer to your question is none. As you observed, it does not take any EMS experience to figure that a broken ankle alone is a poor reason to call a medical helicopter. But this really happened. The helicopter was called because in the region where this occurred, medical protocols dictated, "anyone falling from more than twice his or her standing height should be air evacuated". This stuff goes on all the time. In my last EMS System field position about HALF of all "trauma flights" are patients that are discharged from the Trauma Center the same day. That means several things; First, they did not need a Trauma Center. They did not need the Helicopter. If you did not need these resources, you get to pay for them out of your own pocket. Insurance companies do not pay for what you do not need. So guess what, you get a $6,000.00 helicopter bill and a $20,000.00 hospital bill you can pay for yourself. Thanks for your intelligent observations and positive comments. They are both appreciated.

  3. Timothy says:

    I am in full agreement. Mechanism of injury is such a lame excuse to call a helicopter. We have all seen accidents where no one should have walked away, but that is just what they have done. Too many use the excuse of transport time to the closest trauma center while there is a hospital within a reasonable distance/time of the scene. I understand that Level 1 is the goal, but if you can\’t trust your own skills or the skills of the closer ER, something is wrong. Helicopters are a great resource, but should not be abused. I am sure that I will ruffle some feathers with these comments, but that is the way I feel.Timothy A. BenamatiFF-EMT/PPennsylvania

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