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Day 2: Where in the World (of EMS) Is A.J.?


Captain’s log; May 13 & 14
I always wanted to say that, so please bear with me. With a similarity in the girth to William Shatner, I thought I could steal his Star Trek phrase on my long journey to the Rettmobil emergency service exposition in Fulda, Germany, northeast of Frankfurt.

I lost some weight since acquiring my passport, so it was enjoyable to have the TSA agent say, “is this you?” at the security counter. It reaffirmed my ability to shed the dangerous weight that once burdened by frame, and the need for me to be more diligent in my efforts to keep it off.

I thought to myself, “as a guy from Scranton, Pa. who has a hard enough time mastering English and not able to speak more than a few words of German, maybe a week trying to order meals in Germany will help me lose weight.”  And before I left the U.S., I was reminded to drink plenty of fluids and that “beer” was a universal word. So I feel safe in my ability to remain hydrated despite the language barrier confronting me.

It takes a FULL day to get here in the countryside town of Fulda, Germany. You do the math: Up at 4 a.m., shuttle to the airport, three-hour flight from San Diego to Dallas; another 10 hours in the air to Frankfurt; a 90-minute train ride to Fulda in the German countryside; and a cab ride through the narrow streets of Fulda to the hotel. Include “waiting time at the airports, train stations and customs” and you’re looking at 24 hours.

I ran into Steve Dralle, vice president of marketing for innovative trauma care, on the plane trip to Germany. He's here to show his company’s new hemorrhage control clamp (the iTClamp) at RETTmobil. It’s a new way to compress traumatized tissue. The iTClamp stops bleeding with less pain than a tourniquet and where a tourniquet can’t reach.

I arrived at my hotel along with 10 other members of the EMS Safety Foundation headed by Nadine Levick, MD, one of our biggest safety advocates. Also the winner in number of suitcases taken on planes, trains and automobiles! She had at least eight of them, most of them purple--her favorite color.

I ran into the Ferno, Washington, team at the hotel. They have a massive presence in Europe and are here with lots of new ideas and products under development. European EMS is hungry for their ideas and the ideas of many other vendors. Laerdal is also here in force also because Germany and the region are keen on resuscitation.

I checked into my room here in Fulda and was so glad to find an English CNN channel so I could catch up with the news of the day as I took a much-needed shower. Then I ran out to attend an EMS Safety Foundation briefing on RETTmobil and then had to go off on my own to find a charger for my camera batteries. (Mine disappeared from my checked bag at the airport.  Hmmmm, they left the camera but took the charger??) I had little time to explore Fulda, but added a bunch photos to this report from my hike to get the battery charger.

Fulda is a beautiful, quaint German town Northeast of Frankfurt.  It’s hard to believe that 20,000 EMS providers, managers and physicians will be here today (Wednesday) for the opening of RETTmobil because the area does not seem to have the infrastructure and hotels to accommodate it. 

Enjoyed dinner in a small, beautiful Fulda restaurant with EMS Safety Foundation team, including Ronald Rolfsen  from Oslo (Norway) University Hospital’s Division of Emergency Medicine and Chris Fitzgerald, an EMS expert and ergonomist from Victoria, Australia.  Then we went across the street to have a beer in a small German bar where Chris picked up a violin and wowed us with his playing and singing.

I finally got to bed after being awake for 27 straight hours. Fell asleep in 12 seconds.

Stay tuned for my report tomorrow of Day #1 of the show, where I will rapidly scan the 400-plus exhibitors, shoot photos to share with you. We’ll have portable radios from the EMS Safety Foundation to alert each other to interesting and innovative products. I’m also going to interview European providers along with Ferno’s Jerry Socha for the EMS 2020 Vision program that we will share with you soon after we return from RETTmobil

It should be a long, interesting day!


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