By Philip Neuwirth, BS, MICP, CCEMTP, FP-C
These are critical care clinicians who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to provide rapid clinical assessment, critical judgment, and advanced life-saving procedures. They are experts in advanced airway management and emergency procedures. They use specific pharmacology during some procedures that very few specialties use.
They are responsible for managing traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries and seizures. They care for life-threatening anaphylactoid reactions, cardiovascular emergencies; which include life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias, acute coronary syndrome, cardiac tamponade, CHF, cardiogenic shock, and cardiac arrest. They treat respiratory failure, asthma, COPD, ARDS, and pneumonia. They often resuscitate shock and treat traumatic injuries. They treat environmental emergencies, obstetrics, neonates, pediatrics, geriatrics and much more.
They routinely perform the following skills:
- rapid sequence induction
- interosseous cannulation
- needle thoracotomy
- conscious sedation
- ventilator management
- cardiac pacing
- pronouncements of death
They are autonomous health professionals. They are responsible for critical-thinking and decision-making. They respect human life and the dignity of every individual. They are responsible for communicating with families, patients PMD’s, police, investigators, medical examiners, and hospital administration.
They are committed to lifelong learning and responsible for maintaining their medical knowledge, clinical and team skills necessary for the delivery of their care. Their commitment entails to not only maintain clinical competence but to work collaboratively with other professionals to reduce medical error, increase patient safety and optimize the outcomes of care.
Some have compared them to tradesmen, like welders, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. Although some may enjoy those trades [while working at home in their spare time], they are not tradesman. They are clinicians, medical professional, who have a unique skill-set, which includes the ability to rapidly assess, diagnose, and treat immediate life threats requiring expeditious care. They work in emergency medicine, and they are always prepared to respond to any urgent situation that arises. They are Paramedics!