View Full Version : EMS Back in the Day

Steve Lichtman
05-17-2009, 02:34 PM
Here's a video titled "EMS Back in the Day" (http://connect.jems.com/video/ems-back-in-the-day). It's from the JEMS EMS Today conference in 2007 in Baltimore, but it's a re-enactment of how EMS was - or might have been - 25 years earlier. At least, that's how we remember it! ;)

(Disclaimer: yes, that quiet bald guy in the video is me, and it's my M-M ambulance, too, that's how I got the "job" - a turkey with two eagles!)

Paul Steinberg
05-17-2009, 03:36 PM
I know that this is a parody, however, it certainly does an injustice to those of us that were there, doing the job the correct way and making the difference. The damage that I see this parody doing, is that it will give the EMS workers today the idea that we were all hacks that just didn't have a clue or didn't care. This is as far from the truth as possible. I would love to see a disclaimer at either the beginning or the end of the video to say this. We did the best that we knew how to do, with the best equipment of the day, working in the worse of conditions possible, to make a difference in the outcome of the patients survival. I know that I and the people that I worked with did make that difference, and there was no better trained, or more dedicated and committed people then the people that I worked with. Possibly that is the way that it was in some remote parts of the US, but in NJ, where I am originally from, every squad operated with the utmost dedication and compassion for the patient's well being.

John ED Renstrom
05-17-2009, 07:01 PM
I can remember putting on skit's like this at EMS convention. just having fun and getting people to think. I mean what do you do with a rubber placenta in front of a thousand other people. knowing things like that can advance your EMS career by 15 maybe 20 minutes. but having lived threw the swoop and scoop kind of days with only a none paid volunteer crew. I can tell you that baby would have been born in the back of the rig and the heart pt dumped on a DR long before your skit ended:D. basic emt, assess, package, load and go. scene time less then 5 minutes unless there was an execution. you better have them packaged right when you got there to. but it is training like this that relieves the stress and adds the stop and think to, what are you doing what your doing. but the burning question is did you even get to hit the siren? one blast

Steve Lichtman
05-17-2009, 07:29 PM
Yes, I did get to hit the siren. The brief siren burst at the beginning of the video was from the ambulance, not a sound-effect added. But we were indoors in the Convention Center, so I couldn't really "let 'er rip" or let the car run for very long.

As for the thought that this somehow disparages "old EMT's", please remember that, first, this was intended as a parody. Everyone watching knew that. Baxter Larmon (ketchup on his face) is well known in EMS as someone who teaches with comedy. Everyone watching in the stands "got it". But I do have to say that there were a lot of truths to that, too. Much of the equipment in the early days was very heavy (the first portable monitor, the Lifepak 33, was called that because it "only" weighed 33 pounds). It truly was a sign of a "good call" if you came into the ER really bloody - the more blood, the better (been there, done that). Levophed was really called "leave-'em-dead", at least in my training class. The early medics in my area were trained to give "one purple box" if the rhythm was too slow, and "one pink box" if it was too fast, and "a gray box and a gold box" for cardiac arrest, it was truly that simple. The choke saver (which was mine, BTW) was used to blindly check for something in the airway, and the oral screw (yes, that was it's real name) was used to open the mouth. I really did have the discussion with a partner about which of us was "Johnny" and which was "Roy". Folks really wore those bright orange Dyna-Smocks and Dyna-Jackets on calls. My '70 Volunteer actually was the first paramedic unit at the fire department that owned it. And yes, medics really had to call in for everything. Obviously, Baxter (from California) and Walt (from Pennsylvania), who acted and wrote the skit, had the same experiences. Amazingly, it all worked. And certainly, lives were saved. And those early problems led to improvements later, including lighter equipment, better training, and an understanding of the hazards of bloodborne pathogens. I don't think poking a little fun at how "prehistoric" things were 25 years ago, compared to today, is such a bad thing, especially since nothing was actually false, only the foibles of the day magnified a little! It helps the "kids" of today understand how far we really have come.

... scene time less then 5 minutes unless there was an execution....Do you mean an extrication? I hope... :eek:

John ED Renstrom
05-19-2009, 12:07 AM
scene time less then 5 minutes unless there was an execution "Do you mean an extrication? I hope... "
many a time I want to do that to some knuckle head I was working with. but we usually waited until we got back to the shed. I never had to go threw the first stages of paramedics. intermediate was all we got up to on the service.
so we never had to do the call for a order and get permission. I do remember the guys at Rapid city talking about getting a order to intubate a near drowning pt once. the doc said no. they really did tie the hands of advanced emergency care for a long time. still marvel at the fact that a basic EMT has to have more re-cert hrs then a RN and they have to do them annually not just ever 2 years. to say nothing of advanced care NRPM. a lot of people trying to protect there being the only on to be able to do it. which is half the problem with medical services today.

Ron Devies
05-29-2009, 07:50 AM
I remember the "red badge of courage" and yes, the belief was nurses really dig it! Looks like Steve has the whole Dyna Med catalog. I have been looking for one of those. While it was a parody, it was not exaggerated to a great degree, I remember seeing squads of newbies being that excited on the scene.:eek:

Chris M. Kelley
04-12-2010, 10:58 PM
Sorry - I know, old topic. But, alas, I've ****** watched that video a hundred times, maybe more.. I love it. That Trauma II kit, full, is freakin heavy. The UPS guy was not happy. But it was worth every penny of the $350+..

Ron Devies
04-13-2010, 10:37 PM
I was wondering who bought that. The guy had another one I bid on but I lost I would like to get one but I'm a cheapskate.

Chris M. Kelley
04-14-2010, 03:18 AM
I'm always in search for a deal myself. I'm certainly not rich, but I like working, intact, collectibles. However, I wasn't paying $599 for a box of stuff that expired ten years before I was born. They had to be owned by a doctor, b/c it had a lot of surgical equipment, and various other 'things' that have nothing to do with EMS. I usually keep thinks for a few years, till my joy of owning it runs out, then I sell it to someone else.

Ron Devies
04-14-2010, 10:42 PM
Someday I will own one of those. Until then my Plano 747M s give me great pleasure.

Dennis Svoboda
04-15-2010, 04:26 PM
Steve and all,

Does anyone remember the Dyna jumpsuits in orange and blue? We had the orange ones for our county ambulance service. Hated it!

Steve Lichtman
04-15-2010, 10:11 PM
I do remember a short-sleeve Dynamed jumpsuit. Don't see those much.

I have a set of Dyna-Smocks in blue, don't have any orange ones. I displayed them that year at the conference.

By the way, with my story in the last TPC about Nashwauk Ambulance in MN, when I went there, guess what they wear on calls to this day - blue Dyna-Smocks. I'm sure they are 30 years old now, you can't buy them anymore so far as I know.

Paul Steinberg
04-15-2010, 10:28 PM
50 years ago, we used white cotton herringbone pattern jump suits as our uniform.. I only wish that I still had one of those today, although I know that I couldn't get one leg into it today.. The first squad that I joined, used obsolete Eisenhower jackets and pants from the local army navy store. They were wool, and very uncomfortable even in the winter. In the summer, we had cotton pants and white shirt with epaulet's and the patches sewn on the sleeve... Somewhere in my office, I still have one of the patches from the "Essex County Rescue Squad"... It shuttered its doors back in 1961 if I remember correctly.. I had that uniform until I moved back in 1980, when I finally figured that the moths have had their last lunch in my closet, and it was tossed out...

Bruce Osborne
04-15-2010, 10:42 PM
Way ,Way back when, there used to be a time that everything you needed was stuffed in a Dr.s bag , known as a Knickerbacker bag. Half the items in were probably borrowed from the local hospital - ahem, ahem. You know- long term loan.

Scott Larkin
05-22-2010, 03:15 AM
:thumb:Cool Video !!!!:thumb:

Bill Carlin
06-09-2010, 04:26 PM
It's always better to have a sense of humor. :clubem: