System “Abusers”? Frequent Fliers

It looks like I touched a very obvious nerve with my last post on frequent fliers: Someone Failed… Is it the System? – Everyday EMS Ethics – Every EMS person, and almost every healthcare provider is faced with the problem of the frequent flier… someone who, for whatever reason, consumes more time, energy, and resources than does almost any other part of the population.

I got three great mentions from the post.
- Happy medic chimed in with his view: “EMS Fail or Client Fail”

- Medic999 answered both of us with his view from the UK side of things: “The Frequent Customer”

- And a nurse blogger that I hadn’t found yet gave me a mention as well: “The 80-20 rule and Emergency Health Care”

Before the call that I wrote about on that very shift a landscaper who was working on the lawn near our fuel pumps came over and struck up a conversation while I was filling up the truck. Nice guy, he was. We talked about the community’s ambulance service and I filled him in on some things that I want the public to know about us, and about EMS in general. He was pretty intrigued and stated that he had no idea that our calls ran into the thousands from just that small town. He had no idea that our pay was so low, or that the town paid us such a pittance in tax money. As for the call volume, he asked:

“But aren’t a lot of those calls from people who don’t need an ambulance and are just wasting your time?”

Nope. Only new paramedics fall into the trap of judging their patients. I don’t like to judge, although I’m human too, but it’s my job to take care of people. I’ve given my whole career to taking care of my fellow man on their terms, not mine. I want to help people and it’s why I’ve gotten up every morning for the last ten or so years. I just wish that I had the tools to really help them, to do something other than just haul them off to the ER. I wish I had more professional authority to do something different… maybe even to show them some tough love to break their cycle of sucking at the teat of society.

Again, call me naive.

Honestly, since I wrote that post I’ve been extremely busy and haven’t had the time to put the requisite effort into writing something to equal the caliber of my blogger buddy’s collective answers. However, this gives me an opportunity to trot something out that I wrote a few months back. I think that it’s an answer to the frequent flier problem. I don’t think that it will ever be truly “solved” unless everyone suddenly decides that they are the masters of their own existence and takes full responsibility for their own lives, but then again, in that case EMS wouldn’t be much fun anymore.

Here’s the link to that post: “The Current US Economy and EMS – An In-Depth look at how this mess will affect 911 in your community” With all of the new readers I’ve been getting, I’d like to see if I can get more input on this one. Enjoy.

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Chris Kaiser aka "Ckemtp"

I am a paramedic trying to advance the idea that the Emergency Medical Services can be made into the profession that we all want it, need it, and know it deserves to be.

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