Grand Rounds from the EMS Blogosphere: September 2010

Here on Grand Rounds from the EMS Blogosphere you will get updates from many of the popular EMS blogs on the Web. If you're unfamiliar with what's out there, look no further. Here we will summarize some of the most popular blogs and their topics. Enjoy.

Taking On Spinal Immobilization

Kelly Arashin, a nurse in South Carolina, is a blogger known as the Barefoot Nurse. In an early August post, Kelly speaks about the practice of cervical spinal immobilization. While a traditional procedure, there has been increasing controversy over its efficacy following some eye-opening research. At the 2010 Gathering of Eagles conference, solid evidence was presented indicating increased morbidity with the use of cervical collars on cadavers with spinal injuries. Kelly questions why with all of the evidence showing an increase in harm to our patients are we unyielding when it comes to how we immobilize our patients. I have a similar question: Where is the evidence that proves spinal immobilization has ever worked in protecting any patient from further injury?

Beyond the Lights and Sirens

The Happy Medic, aka Justin Schor, has posted the winning title to the Chronicles of EMS reality series--Beyond The Lights And Sirens. Justin, Thaddeus Setla, Mark Glencorse and others all hope to have this show picked up by a major television network. Their goal is to show the world what EMS really is all about.

Questioning Thy Self

From time to time, EMS providers reflect on the calls that went bad, even if there was nothing wrong with the treatment provided. Insomniac Medic brought this up in an intuitive post, titled The Best. He mentions a blog post, titled Thoughts by JustMe. In Thoughts, JustMe talks about a patient who presented with altered mental status, but was otherwise stable then expired during his stay at the hospital. She questions if there is anything she can do when it comes to dealing with these calls. In So Many Questions, Fishmedic, a German paramedic and EMS blogger, asks the question why multiple times in multiple ways. It is often difficult to handle the stress of thinking that something could have gone better on a call, or to contemplate whether or not you missed a minor detail that could have altered the ultimate outcome. My response to any EMT or paramedic that asks me how I handle this is simple. There isn't a good medical provider, whether it is a physician, nurse, paramedic or veterinarian that doesn't question if they have missed something, or if they could have done something different. It is that fear and contemplation that fuels improvement. When you should be scared is when you stop asking yourself those questions.

Multiple Clots

In his blog, Streetwatch--Notes of a Paramedic, Peter Canning, the author of Rescue 471, educates the masses. His years of experience and way with words make for an effective educational blog. Often Peter shares real-life case scenarios with his readers. In the post Routine, Peter writes about a call he ran on a woman presenting with typical stroke symptoms. At first glance this seemed to be a standard transport to a neurological facility for stroke treatment. Easy, right? On the way to the hospital Peter discovered that a stroke wasn't this patient's only problem. Head over to his blog to see what happened.

A Must Read

Although it hasn't been actively updated since 2007, Capnography for Paramedics is a blog that I recommend to everyone. Peter Canning, the author of Street Watch mentioned above, also originally authored this site. The blog is a great one-post reference to understanding capnography. In the post, Peter provides 10 things that every paramedic should know about capnography. He briefly explains the science, and accurately depicts its clinical uses. Go check it out, I promise you will learn something useful.

Blogger Tip

Okay, so do you think you want to start an EMS blog? If your answer is yes, then go ahead and get started. The great thing about blogging is that you can pretty much write about anything you want. My tip this month is to try to concentrate on one major topic. Whether you are looking to write an educational blog or a journal-like blog, choosing a topic to focus on will help you get the ball rolling. As you write your blog, it is imperative to make sure that you never provide any information that could construed as a HIPAA violation. A good disclaimer statement on your blog, and a look at the Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics, will assist you in avoiding any job-threatening allegations.

Adam Thompson, EMT-P, is a paramedic with Lee County EMS in southwest Florida and an EMS educator with Edison State College. Read his blog at, or contact him at