A Paramedic’s Career: keen senses, goodwill, and patience with patients

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Posted Tue, Mar 23, 2010

Paramedics impact our lives everyday. These on call heroes are able
 to work under pressure and are knowledgeable when it comes to
 emergency response. Without these brave and quick thinkers in our midst,
 many lives would be lost that could have been saved if someone wasn’t
there to help.


Enter Randy Greening, a paramedic and hero on call for the North Metro Fire Rescue in Adams
County. Greening has been a paramedic for eight years. He became a certified paramedic December  2001.

Explaining what made him want to become a paramedic, Greening says that
he was not happy with his job at the time. He dreaded going to work
every day and missing out on things at home.

One day Greening was talking to
his sister, a nurse at St. Anthony’s North, and she was telling him that she
loved her job and that he should look at coming into the medical field
because of job security, and the gratitude of watching patients return
to their normal lives.

Greening says the hardest part of his career was when he went to an
accident on the highway once, the SUV had flipped onto its side and the
mother was all right.

“I went to check on her six month old baby  — it
had died in the accident.  I had to tell her that her child had died. I felt so bad; words can’t even describe how badly it hurt
to tell her that. I couldn’t imagine losing one of my children in a car
accident. Not only that, but working on children is really hard too.
Especially when they look like my kids did when they were younger.  Even
working on kids that are the same age as mine is difficult. I can’t even
think what a parent would be going through at that point in time.”

The most memorable situation that Greening has had been part of was when he went to
a house at night; the carbon monoxide alarm had gone off.

“It was one of
those that were hooked up to the house security system. It was a mother,
a father and their fifteen year old child that were found in the house,
they were unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning. The air was filled
with more than 12,000 parts per million of carbon monoxide. Everyone was
all right after a quick stay in the hospital.  Once they went home, they
invited me and my team members to their home to thank us for saving
their lives.”

Greening said that they still receive a
Christmas card every year from the family, so now they are like extended
family that they keep in constant contact with.

“I love the adrenaline rush that I get when we get a call,” he says.
”I also like that the team is like a giant family, and that I can have a
flexible schedule so that I can spend time with my family.  It’s not
just one thing that makes the job worthwhile; it’s the experience as a
whole.”

One patient Greening helped was seriously injured and refused treatment,
even though he knew that they would probably die if they did not receive
treatment.  Greening said the man was having a heart attack and he
was swinging, yelling and swearing at the First Responders, he was in
denial of having a heart attack, and he did not want any help from
anyone.

Then the man eventually went unconscious, and they were able to take
him to the hospital. They had lost a lot of time while they were arguing
with him.  Once he recovered from the heart attack, he had a mental-health hold placed on him so that he could be evaluated further.

Greening added that with a mental-health hold, a person can be held
for up to 72 hours at first, and then the courts can decide whether they
can be released, or if they need to stay in the hospital for up to 90
days. Greening understands the reasoning behind the mental-health hold,
but sometimes he doesn’t agree with it, because the courts can ho
ld someone on the Psych Ward for extended periods of time.

The courts
can hold someone because that person has no where to go, or that the
courts decide that their home is not suitable for them any longer. The
patients are pretty much trapped on the Psych Ward with nowhere to go,
and they have a lot of the things that we take for granted, like
shoelaces, taken away from them because of their potential for killing
or harming a person.

Greening says that there are a lot of protocols that a paramedic must follow
to keep his license; he cannot administer medication without the
approval of the doctor.  Greening also said paramedics work under the
direction of a doctor, if they were to be sued for negligence, the
doctor would be sued as well. Greening recalled that he has broken the
protocol a few times to save a patients’ life, all he had to do was
explain to the doctor what had happened, why he made the decision that
he did, and then the doctor will submit the paperwork.  This paperwork
is also included in the patient’s medical records.

Without paramedics, there would be many more fatalities with car
accidents, strokes and heart attacks. The profession is not as glamorous
as it is often portrayed on television.  He doesn’t always make it in
time, he’s had to take deceased people out of cars and pick up the
pieces that are left behind.

Yet in spite of all of the depressing
things that he has come across, Greening has had some wonderful
experiences as a paramedic.  He has saved lives and gained family
members through the comradery of the profession that he is involved in.
Being a paramedic is a tough career, not just physically but mentally,
and you need a great support system to help you get through the tough
time. Greening seems to have everything that he needs or wants, he has a
loving family that he can come home to every night and he has a career
that he loves.

Top 10 things you need to know about a person’s health that may help
paramedics in an emergency.
1. Names of their doctors.
2. Birth dates.
3. List of allergies.
4. Advance directives.
5. Major medical problems.
6. List of medications and supplements.
7. Religious beliefs.
8. Insurance information.
9. Prior surgeries and major medical procedures.
10. Lifestyle information. (alcohol or  tobacco use)

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