EMS Bully. Photo by Krisdog

The EMS Bully

In EMS, like any industry, we tend to have the usual percentage of team members that either just don’t get it or just have a very low value for human life, and they have no issue relaying that to all those with-in ear shot.

We all know this who this person is, either at the station, on the rig or as part of a support team that shows to help first responders and caregivers.

They call the obese patients we have to care for “fatty” or other insulting words, they call our narco-overdose patients — things like ‘soon dead’ or ‘waste of a life.’ And when transporting the elderly, they call it “slinging the oldies” or even using vulgar slang to describe our patients.

Usually, when they say these things, they laugh, and usually, it is only THEM that laughs. Others may giggle, but it is an uncomfortable attempt to just kind of play along and appease this person, hoping they stop. Think schoolyard bully. 

Let me start my critique by saying that these folks need to find new jobs right NOW. They don’t belong in our industry! They belong digging ditches or cleaning bathrooms in some far away forgotten land.

We work so hard to make the industry we work in respectable and admired and then along comes the 23 year old kid who has faced no tragedy in his short time on earth, doesn’t understand the value of human life and still thinks that insults and being vulgar and funny is the best way to become endeared with your peers. Basically, it’s still that high school behavior that still permeates with this kid.

We need to get these kids out of our business as soon as possible, and encourage them to move on to some other, more fitting and fulfilling career; possibly one selling used mattresses or salvaged space debris.

Just like we do not tolerate our work partners coming in drunk or stoned, we should never tolerate them coming into work and acting as if they are 10 years old. Degrading, insulting and bullying both the patients and their partners is not something any of us should ever have to deal with.

Take a stand and help them find the door out! 

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Jack Murphy
Jack Murphy is a licensed firefighter, EMT and EMS Instructor in Michigan and California, holds a JD in real estate law and BA in History as well as numerous industry related certifications. These days Jack teaches a Hybrid EMT program at a small College in the Los Angeles area.

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