Administration and Leadership, News, Operations

Providers Raise the Puck for Cystic Fibrosis

Issue 4 and Volume 36.

Raising the Puck
A sliced ear, a pulled groin and two sprained ankles were the price several individuals paid for a good cause. On Feb. 27, 207 paramedics, EMTs, firefighters and police officers hit the ice for the Second Annual Public Safety Hockey Challenge, “Checking for CF”—an event organized to raise money and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

Andy Peter, a paramedic with Hennepin County (Minn.) Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis, was looking for a way to help CFF after his niece was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Because the Minneapolis area is full of hockey enthusiasts, he thought a tournament seemed like a good start.

The first tournament hosted eight teams and raised more than $10,000. In February, 12 public safety hockey teams, including HCMC’s Hennepin Generals, raised more than $20,000 for CFF, with Hennepin raising more than $8,000.

Peter’s next goal is to bring other big cities’ public safety teams to Minnesota to also play in the tournament. “We really want to turn this into a national event,” he says.

We give a thumbs up to Peter and the public safety community that participated in this year’s event for their efforts in bringing awareness to cystic fibrosis in a creative way. If you’re interested in playing in the 2012 tournament, contact Andy Peter via the Hennepin Generals’ website,

Surprise Assault
A physician in Surprise, Ariz., was arrested recently for allegedly hitting a paramedic. Le Vu, MD, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault after being accused of hitting a paramedic at an urgent care center. The paramedic claimed Vu struck him in the arm when trying to pull him out of the room to discuss a patient.

According to Surprise police, Vu said he thought the paramedic was trying to talk a patient complaining of chest pain out of taking an ambulance. However, it’s policy for paramedics to ask for a patient’s consent before taking them to the hospital.

Although the paramedic may choose to pursue criminal charges against Vu, the medic’s employer, Southwest Ambulance, isn’t involved in the case. The Maricopa County attorney’s office will also determine whether charges against Vu are necessary.

This may be a case of “he-said, she-said,” but physical abuse should never be tolerated, and overall disrespect among healthcare colleagues should be investigated. As medical professionals, EMS providers and physicians should be able to communicate without an issue like this arising. We give Vu a thumbs down for his lack of professionalism in dealing with this situation.

Healing Healers
Each day, EMS providers save lives and put themselves at risk by often suppressing their own emotions. Eventually, this takes its toll. The Joyful Heart Foundation has found a way to help.

Joyful Heart’s “Heal the Healers” program aims to help counsel EMS providers who’ve been exposed to—or treated patients with—trauma, sexual assault and other difficult experiences.

Vicarious trauma happens when counselors’ continuous exposure to stories of violence and suffering begins to affect their own sense of identity. The healer’s perception of the world changes over time and can lead to depression, anxiety and addiction. This program teaches providers to practice various self-care techniques and strategies, including yoga and meditation, and to use other creative outlets to help them overcome their traumatization.

We give a thumbs up to the Joyful Heart Foundation for taking action to help tackle this rarely discussed struggle, which EMS providers deal with daily. JEMS

This article originally appeared in April 2011 JEMS as “Last Word: The Ups & Downs of EMS.”