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  1. Dealing with the 'Deja Vu' of Repeat Patients - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Subscribe | Newsletters | Advertise | Contact Us             Journal Supplements Subscribe Jobs Featured Jobs Search Jobs Post A Job Products Buyer's Guide Product Reviews Hot Products Hot Products Submissions Product Announcements Product Videos Technical Digests Webcasts White Papers Videos Ask the Expert Education & Training EMS 10 Interviews EMS Today Fitness JEMS Games Product Spotlight Home About Us Advertise Contact Us Our Team Authors Community Submit A Press Release News Patient Care Airway & Respiratory Cardiac & Resuscitation Trauma Administration & Leadership Communications & Dispatch Documentation & Patient Care Reporting Training Operations Ambulance & Vehicle Ops Equipment & Gear Rescue & Vehicle Extrication Major Incidents Mass Casualty Incidents Terrorism & Active Shooter Mobile Integrated Healthcare   Home About Us Advertise Contact Us Our Team Authors Community Submit A Press Release News Patient Care Airway & Respiratory Cardiac & Resuscitation Trauma Administration & Leadership Communications & Dispatch Documentation & Patient Care Reporting Training Operations Ambulance & Vehicle Ops Equipment & Gear Rescue & Vehicle Extrication Major Incidents Mass Casualty Incidents Terrorism & Active Shooter Mobile Integrated Healthcare Home Dealing with the 'Deja Vu' of Repeat Patients Dealing with the 'Deja Vu' of Repeat Patients Mon, Jan 18, 2016 By Steve Berry JEMS Editorial Board member I’ve never really cared for the month of February. The two months of winter prior to this point usually leave me so somnolent from the colorless outdoors and captive cold that I can’t even pronounce a word like somnolent, much less recall what it means. Add to this the knowledge there will be two more months of this drawn-out pattern of predictable weather and I’m drawn to any omen that could mercifully hasten the arrival of an early spring— including the unsubstantiated ritual regarding a fat mammal that’s forced to reveal himself in the midst of hibernation. And no, I’m not talking about your supervisor. Speaking of groundhogs, every February I try to make a point of ritualistically watching the movie  Groundhog Day , whose character Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, portrays a weatherman covering Groundhog Day and is cursed to repeat the same day over and over and over and over again. At first glance I found the film to be clever and humorous, but not much more. It wasn’t until my 145th viewing that I realized I’d vastly underestimated the movie’s many virtues and similarities applicable to my own profession as a prehospital care provider— specifically regarding the déjà vu part. Déjà vu is French for “already seen.” In EMS, déjà vu stands for “ d ispatched e mergencies j udged a s v alidly u njustified.” Now I’m not speaking of those poor individuals whose chronic past medical history requires frequent EMS stabilization and ambulance transports to appropriate medical facilities, despite their best efforts to stay vigilant in their own care. I get that. But what of those patients determined to not fulfill their wellness potential—those who have no intention of changing their harmful lifestyle despite the limitless times they rewind 9-1-1? [Native Advertisement] Some such forms of EMS déjà vu include: Déjà blue:  Patient ran out of Rx home O 2 —again. Déjà loo:  Patient fell off toilet—again. Déjà brew:  Patient abusing ETOH—again. Déjà flu:  Patient has a mild fever and cough—again. Déjà goo glu:  Patient needs oral glucose —again. Déjà sue:  Patient threatens medical litigation—again. Déjà boo boo:  Patient with … well, you know—again. Déjà spew:  Patient with nausea and vomiting—again. Déjà stew:  Patient believes medical community is oppressive—again. Déjà poo:  Leading to déjà eeeewwwwwww. In the movie, Phil struggles to deal with a storyline that remains unchanged despite his self-centered efforts to keep it from resetting itself, and so it goes day after day until he hopelessly concludes: Today will always be tomorrow. Disheartened, he loses not only his compassion for others , but for himself and life in general. Though not as dramatic as the film, EMS often finds itself running through a time loop of a particular patient’s self-imposed neglect of their physical or mental well-being. When reverberated enough times, it can leave a responder resentful of not only the patient, but of EMS as a whole for creating such a hopelessly unbreakable closed circuit. We have a patient in our system whom we’ve run on at least 150 times over the past several years. Despite building a community-based paramedicine paradigm around him, he continues to abuse and neglect his diabetic health needs. In fact, we’ve run on him so many times we can guess within a few milligrams of his glucometer reading based on his behavior. His emergencies are true, but usually require restraining him secondary to his hypoglycemic combativeness, which, of course, usually occurs during the wee hours of the night. Our crews have remained professional and benevolent in caring for his needs. But recently, cracks in crew morale are beginning to reveal themselves. At one point in the movie, Phil finds compassion for an ailing homeless man and attempts to rescue him, but the man ends up dying at the end of each recurring day anyway. Once Phil eventually resigns himself that he can’t save him, he begins a transformation of acceptance of his limitations, thereby freeing himself to focus his attention on whom he can help. Despite EMS’ best efforts to treat, guide and educate, there will be those occasional patients who will never experience a breakthrough of embracing self care. We should recognize we can’t allow a patient’s inability to pull themselves out of their own hole to overshadow our own psychological well-being of purpose as we serve the majority of patients who truly do struggle to survive. And that’s no déjà moo (bull). More Humor from JEMS.com By Steve Berry JEMS Editorial Board member has been a paramedic for the past 25 years in the southern Colorado region. He's the author of the cartoon book series I'm Not An Ambulance Driver. Visit his Web site at www.iamnotanambulancedriver.com to purchase his books or CDs. Sponsored Content is made possible by our sponsor; it does not necessarily reflect the views of our editorial staff. Journal Archives Prev 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 Next Feb 2016 Volume 41 Issue 2 Jan 2016 Volume 41 Issue 1 Prev 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 Next SUBSCRIBE DIGITAL EDITION   Featured Careers More Jobs   eNews Register for the JEMS eNewsletter, it's FREE! Sign-Up! JEMS Connect FEATURED GROUPS Disaster EMS   EMERGENCY! Lovers   Tactical Medicine   Humor In EMS     CURRENT DISCUSSIONS   JOIN JEMS CONNECT   EMS BLOGS Blogger Browser Today's Featured Posts Copyright © 2016: PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved. UTILITY Home About Us Contact Us Terms of Use Subscribe Advertise Reader Service Submit a Press Release RSS Feeds Privacy Policy Topics News Patient Care Leadership Special Topics Major Incidents Operations Sections Authors Columns Community Jobs Journal Products Supplements Webcasts

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Mon, 18 Jan 2016

  2. EMS Remembrances for the Holidays - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    During the holidays, remember your life is bigger than EMS.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Mon, 23 Nov 2015

  3. Working as a Magnet - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    We call them magnets because they’re pre-destined to be dispatched to calls of an undesirable nature (or desirable, depending on your cup of tea).

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Tue, 29 Sep 2015

  4. Detroit Ambulances Go Green - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Cost-saving auxiliary power unit is being placed on some ambulances.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 16 Sep 2015

  1. Detroit Ambulances Go Green - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 16 Sep 2015

  2. Philadelphia Fire Department Investigates Texting EMT - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Patient’s mother filmed the EMT on his cellphone while operating the ambulance.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 10 Sep 2015

  3. Philadelphia Fire Department Investigates Texting EMT - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Patient’s mother filmed the EMT on his cellphone while operating the ambulance.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 10 Sep 2015

  4. Call Whine One One: A Humorous Take on Complaining - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Many see themselves not as survivors, but as victims from not only what medical or traumatic event has befallen them, but also by everything about them—including their friends, family, the medical community and Gilligan’s Island reruns .

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Thu, 13 Aug 2015

  5. CPR's Unrealistic Portrayal on the Small Screen - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    This kind of CPR (clean, pretty and reliable) differs so much from my usual CPR (can’t possibly recover).

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Wed, 10 Jun 2015

  6. Staffing and Writing About Paramedics - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    This month, JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman responds to a reader who expressed her concern over the overuse of the term "paramedic" in JEMS articles.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Fri, 5 Jun 2015

  7. Preparing the EMS Workforce for a Data-Centric Future - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    Healthcare providers should understand how data collection improves patient care.

    Article

    Article

    Fri, 1 May 2015

  8. Appreciate the Turmoil of Military Veterans - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

    There are times the guy next to you (partner or squad) is the only thing that matters.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Mon, 6 Apr 2015

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