I just read "The Way it Was." I too have a few years of EMS under my belt and loved the article. I live and work in a rural area, and you were right on. I hope the "new breed" of EMS professional is half as good as the folks I witnessed growing up. MacGyver would have been proud how the "old guard" figured out how to care for a patient when we didn't have all this new stuff. Oops, gave my age away with that one.
Jim Effinger, NREMT-P
Yes, prehospital care has seen many changes and patient care has improved. I actually began my 38-year career in EMS in 1971 when I was a dentistƒwith the cardiac arrest of the 41-year-old spouse of my dental assistant. I was summoned to the home five miles away. The nearest ambulance was 20 miles away with first-aid trained responders. There were no EMTs, defibrillators, nor such classes as ACLS, PALS, etc. I instructed my spouse to provide compressions after removing the patient to the floor from his bed, with his wife and four young children watching as we attempted to bring the patient back to life. I intubated the patient with the old rubber, low-volume, high-pressure cuff endotracheal tube from my office emergency kit. It may have been the first prehospital intubation in Montana. I didn't start an IV, nor did I have any idea what his rhythm was at the time. My formal training later years made me realize that he had no chance of survival.
Doug Smith, DMD, NREMT-P