I had to think about a Facebook comment that I just posted on my personal Facebook page. Admittedly, I’m pretty angry right now and I probably shouldn’t be writing. It’s been a long night, you see and I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with what I’m angry at.
However, this blog is my therapy and I can use it to get some stuff off of my chest whenever I see fit, right? Good, then here goes.
Tonight I’m going to forget that my computer has been acting up on me and has lost two 1000word-plus articles that I was lining up for the end of the week. I’m not even going to mention that I’m behind on a lot of projects because I’ve been overwhelmed with work. I’m not even going to talk about how the workload that I’ve let pile up has been making the blog suffer. Nope. I’m going to jump to the front of the line and bring that Facebook comment right here, to the front of this blog page where a few thousand EMTs and Medics might read it this month.
Revenue Preservation, Area Preservation, Ego Preservation, and Political Capital Preservation
These things are the top priorities of some EMS agencies I’ve dealt with over the years. Patient care is on the list, but its way down on the bottom of these agencies’ priorities. Some agencies have their priorities straight, but more it’s more common than I’d like to admit that EMS agencies have those four things at the beginning of this paragraph firmly implanted into their unwritten mission statements.
I’ve written at length about EMS politics and how I hate them. For example:
And tonight, again, I’ve seen yet another example of the worst kind of EMS politics. I’ve seen these situations countless times before and I’ll see them countless times again, I’m afraid. People who don’t put the patient first have missed the whole point to this EMS thing. We’re here for the patient. We’re here for the citizens. There is a selfless aspect to EMS that must be respected in the preservation of the greater good. To miss that for almost any reason is to disrespect not only the foundation that EMS was built upon, but also the foundation of the entire healthcare system.
First, Do No Harm
Yea, that’s the first pledge of the Hippocratic Oath, the same one that Physicians take when they become doctors. EMS people are an off-shoot of physicians and we should follow those four words up there as much as they have to. Using the citizens of your jurisdiction as pawns in a political game is to violate those most sacred of oaths. EMS people tend to feud for the flimsiest of forgettable reasons. These feuds escalate unchecked for years until every action taking by the opposing party seems only to reinforce the perceived validity of the petty feud, even when the original actions or inactions that caused the feud were lost to history or died with the people who started the feud to begin with. Often, neighboring squads hate each other for no reason that they can remember. Factions within a single EMS agency may feud internally for no good reason whatsoever. These things escalate and escalate until patients are harmed by them for no reason at all.
And if there ever has been a reason to harm a patient for a petty feud between services, between cliques, or between individuals, I’ve yet to hear it. In my opinion, using a patient as a pawn in a political game is the worst kind of offense.
These petty EMS politics, these laughable feuds, and the little kingdoms must have the light shown upon them. As I said in my probably politically incorrect Facebook post:
“I donâ€™t like it when Petty People play petty politics with peoplesâ€™ lives. Really, people die from the kind of stuff Iâ€™m angry at without ever knowing that they were pawns in a political game. EMS politics must be exposed to the light so that the people that play them can be scattered like the cockroaches they are.”
Do you see anything that I’m going to be in trouble for tomorrow when people read that post? Remember, that’s on my personal account; not the blog account. Yes, I do take personal responsibility for everything I say on this blog page or in any of my public speaking or writing for that matter, but there’s a chance that people I know and may or may not have been talking about will read that tomorrow. My guess is that I will be the bad guy for saying it.
And frankly, I don’t care.
As I said in the post that I linked to above, Volunteer Fire/EMS : Taking the High Road and Letting Go, I am willing to bury each and every hatchet I do now hold or have ever held and solemnly pledge to conduct myself in friendship, mutual understanding, and for the good of the ideals in which we all should share. My guess is that there are people out there tonight who should do exactly the same. Don’t let petty politics harm those whom we’re pledged to serve. It’s not about us. It’s about them. It’s about our ideals.
It’s bigger than us. We are more than the sum of our parts. Don’t forget that.
I know that this hasn’t been the most polished piece I’ve ever posted up here, but everything I’ve said I believe. That’s why I’m a blogger. It’s why I’m a paramedic as well. Thanks for letting me rant.
– See more at: http://www.lifeunderthelights.com/2010/10/27/a-late-night-rant-about-petty-politics-in-ems/#sthash.012BNQoN.dpuf