For those of you who do not work in EMS, it may come as a surprise to learn that we in EMS very rarely saves people who have no pulse when we arrive. In 22 years, I have saved about 20 people out of the hundreds that I have performed CPR on. Nine of those saves have been in the last five years (three of them were the same guy on three separate occasions). By save, I do not mean that I got a pulse back only to have the patient die three days later in the ICU (like my father did), I mean that the patient went home to his family and lived a normal life.
For that reason, I have always admired those agencies that rewarded providers for a job well done, and gave them some recognition when they have a “code save.” My agency is not one of them. I got an award for exactly one of those saves. Just one. It was in March of 2008 that I saved the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s fishing buddy. I got an award for that one. Most of the time, when I ask about recognizing outstanding performance from a paramedic, I am told, “Why should I reward you for doing your job? I can’t believe that you paramedics always want applause for doing what we pay you to do.”
Every time a firefighter saves a kitten, he gets a write up in the paper. Isn’t it about time paramedics got the recognition that they deserve?