When I started in medicine, I was an emergency room doc at Northwest Community Hospital.  Bruises, lacerations, breaks, strokes, heart attacks, etc. were run of the mill.  The paramedic system was in its infancy.  Ambulances scooped up patients and dumped them in the ER.

In time, the ambulance became a mobile ICU and the patient was treated from the minute the paramedics arrived.  I can’t tell you how relieved I felt every time Lake Zurich’s crew walked in my front door.  As an ER doc, nothing rattled me.  However, every emergency seemed to rattle the family physician and internist.  I would come home and say to Renee, “You wouldn’t believe how rattled Dr So and So was when his patient coded from chest trauma from the car accident.”

Then I left the ER and became a family doc.  The first 10 years were easy.  I was still an ER/Family Doc.   With time, my ER skills diminished, and I found myself in the same place as the docs I had denigrated as a young man.  I would attend to a patient having a heart attack in my office while we waited for the paramedics.  My heart would be racing and I would joke that if they didn’t get here soon, I was going to have an MI.  You see, while I was CPR certified and capable of resuscitating a patient in the office, I really did not want to do CPR or breath for a patient.

My heart and mind would instantly calm down when LZ’s finest came through the door.  The point of this article is that I want you to trust the paramedics and call 911 if you are in trouble.  If you think it’s an emergency, it is!  Once they are on the scene, let them do their job!  They will take you to the appropriate hospital.  They will stabilize you and report their findings to the ER.  

Simply put, paramedics are awesome and LZ’s are the best.  Thanks, guys, for all the years you prevented me from having a heart attack and all the times you saved my patients.  I miss you guys and gals!

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