Administration and Leadership, Equipment & Gear, Operations, Patient Care

Letters: In Your Words

Issue 11 and Volume 33.

Something got my attention in the July issue. (Just got itƒI_m still deployed in„Afghanistan. Mail takes time.) It concerns„Fran Hildwine_s review of North American Rescue Products_ Black Talon Ultimate Nitrile Gloves (Hands On, p. 123). No, black does not ˙go with everything.Ó Since when are black exam gloves„a good idea?

Apparently, to cater to the wannabe ninjas out there, we have black gloves to match the rest of the ˙can_t-see-meÓ mindset. Sigh. I_ve got five other medics I work with here, all long-time pros. Despite the North American Rescue Products gloves being available, we shy away from the black color. In low light conditions, you run your hands inside a patient_s clothes and under their body, and every few seconds you check to see if there_s blood on the gloves,„right? On white and light colored gloves,„blood shows up like neon. And on black gloves you won_t see spit.

Jeff Apolinario, EMT-P
Helmand Province,„Afghanistan

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman responds:„ You raise some very important issues regarding how a lighter color glove can aid in blood detection during patient assessment. We_ve passed these points on to North American Rescue Products, and they_ve told us they plan on making these gloves in lighter colors to address these concerns.

The article ˙Air Med Crews & Patients Become War CasualtiesÓ (Last Word, August„JEMS) struck a very personal cord for me. As a flight paramedic, I completely understand the tragedy of the recent loss of 13 people due to air medical flight crashes. I also agree that night vision goggles are an important part of a flight safety program. However, as an officer in the U.S. Army who_s engaged to a contractor serving in„Afghanistan, I was extremely upset by the tone of the commentary.

Gary Sizemore certainly„has a gripe with night-vision manufacturers when it comes to the incredible waiting list for goggles for domestic flight programs. But to compare the ˙war on traumaÓ to the wars in„Iraq and„Afghanistan is wrong and demoralizing to the many people who put their lives on the line in a„true war zone.„

Goggles are only one small part of the„overall issues we must address. In fact, the tragic crash in„Arizona that killed so many individuals occurred during full daylight when night vision goggles wouldn_t have been used. Multiple factors must be considered during flight, and one factor alone can_t be construed as the cause or the answer to air medical industry crashes. We_re not ˙fighting a war on trauma,Ó as Sizemore compares EMS to the„Middle East. We_re fighting and working hard in the air medical industry to increase all aspects of safe flight and ensure the safety of both crew and passengers.„

Night vision goggles are an extremely important piece of gear that helps our soldiers remain safe and allows them to work in a real war zone. In fact, during the month of July alone, more than 20 soldiers, and many more„Afghanistan citizens, were killed as a result of insurgent violence.„

We can accomplish many aspects of air medical safety with many other tools available to us. I would„gladly give my night-vision goggles to any soldier going overseas. I understand the long wait as we supply our soldiers with this life-saving gear. I know I have options to make my job safe. They do not.„

Barbara R. Maher, MS, EMT-P

In ˙ÂGrounded_ CareÓ (˙The Perfect View,Ó September„JEMS), the patient_s BMI in case number two should have read 91, not 43. We regret the error.„JEMS

For more reader opinions, check out users_ comments on articles and columns.