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Ambulance: Men With Guns

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

I was a new paramedic.  The senior medic briefed me.  They took two guys out of a basement apartment with high carbon monoxide readings after a dryer caught on fire.  Ones already on the way to the hospital for evaluation. Your patient is the guy over by the building door arguing with the police officer.  He wants to go back in his apartment to get some items, and the officer won’t let him.  Just then the man punched the officer in the jaw..  The officer threw the man against a car and put him in a headlock, and then handcuffed him.  Instead of bringing him over to us to be evaluated, the officer put him into a squad car.  “Asshole!” he shouted at the man.

“Do you think he’s an asshole or do you think maybe carbon monoxide is making him act like an asshole?” I said to the other medic.  “Shouldn’t we go over there and talk to him?”

The medic shrugged, and said, “You can’t argue with a man with a gun.”

The cop took him to the police station for booking and we cleared the scene “Patient item A...

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Ambulance: Bare Your Arms, My Country

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

It’s back.

Two weeks ago, our hospital had 0 COVID patients admitted down from highs of 55 in April and 44 in December.  Just like that we are back up to 12 in just a couple days.  Elsewhere in Connecticut, the head coach of the woman’s top ranked basketball team missed the opening round of the NCAA tournament with COVID.  Some girls my daughter plays basketball with had to quarantine due to exposure to people with COVID and on the COVID ACT Now, map, Connecticut has again turned red, signifying.

From all I have read, the cause is likely the arrival of the COVID variants that are more infectious than the original COVID.  We are all hoping that our high and ever increasing vaccination rate (33% 1st dose/18.6% fully vaccinated) will soon overcome the variants, but we can’t be certain.

Daily coronavirus updates: COVID-19 hospitalizations rising in Connecticut as variants spread; vaccine distribution skewed toward white residents

I am worried about the number of people who are still refusing to get vaccinated.  It was a huge relief for me to get my shots, and I hope others will soon make the decision to bare their arms for their country.



Ambulance: Podcast-Saving Lives and Learning a Lesson About Addiction

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

Just out, an interview I did with the Addiction Podcast about my new book, Killing Season; A Paramedic’s Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic.

Peter Canning – Saving Lives as a Paramedic and Learning A Lesson About Drug Addiction



Ambulance: Killing Season – 30% Off with Code

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe



Ambulance: Opioid Epidemic/COVID Interview

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

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Ambulance: Two Reasons

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

By all accounts, the opioid overdose epidemic is getting worse.  A recent study published in JAMA which analyzed emergency department visits (ED) found overdoses were up 29% from March to October of 2020 versus the same period for the previous year.  In Connecticut, the medical examiner’s office has found 1259 people have died of overdose compared with 1200 in 2019, with an additional cases still pending test results.

Opioid overdoses 29% higher in 2020 than before the pandemic: Study

Fatal Unintentional Drug Overdose Report Key Findings of Drug Overdose Decedents, 2019 – January 2021

Connecticut has released its final numbers for 2020.  Overdose deaths reached a new high -1374, up 14.6% from the previous year.

Connecticut Accidental Drug Intoxication Deaths Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

If we want to decrease opioid overdose deaths, we have to understand why people die from these deaths, and then take bold steps to address those causes.

As a paramedic who has responded to opioid overdoses with increasing frequency over the...

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Ambulance: Killing Season: Coming April 6

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

 

I have had some great publicity for my forthcoming book lately.

Here is a interview with the Hartford Courant:

Paramedic chronicles the daily tragedy of drug overdoses in Connecticut before and during pandemic

The story was picked up by other papers across the country.

I also received a great review in EMS World from Mike Rubin:

Book Review: Killing Season

Here are some of the other advance reviews for the book:

 

 

“Full of engaging stories. Only someone on the front lines of the crisis, like an EMT, could describe overdose situations and the people who have overdoses with such color.”

— Barbara Andraka-Christou, University of Central Florida, author of The Opioid Fix: America’s Addiction Crisis and the Solution They Don’t Want You to Have

“With crisp and propulsive storytelling, Peter Canning chronicles his evolution as a paramedic during the most lethal drug crisis in history. As a rookie, Canning initially regards opioid users as ‘scumbags’ but eventually finds empathy for the victims of this...

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Ambulance: Wild Rescues

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

I just finished Wild Rescues: A Paramedic’s Extreme Adventures in Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton by paramedic Kevin Grange.

Kevin Grange is an excellent writer and Wild Rescues is great book that delivers on its promise.    From the moment he drives up to Yosemite in a snowstorm to start his job as a ranger paramedic to his responding to a search and rescue for a missing and badly injured hiker in the Gran Tetons, it is as if you are there with him, gradually becoming more confident in your demanding job, taking in the glory of El Capitan, keeping a watchful eyes on the grizzly bears, and learning the fundamentals of  wilderness medicine.   Grange has an easy going narrative style aimed at the common reader while still having the medical depth that will appeal to emergency medical services professionals.  I now understand the unique challenges of wilderness medicine, where the extrication plan is as big a part of the patient’s treatment as the hands on medical care.  I have never been to Yosemite, Yellowstone or Gran...

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Ambulance: Custody

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

There is a bill in the Connecticut legislature to allow the police to take into custody anyone who overdoses and is resuscitated with narcan, who then refuses to go to the hospital.  The proponents of the bill speak of a 72 hour hold in a clinical setting to keep the person from going back out to the street and overdosing and dying. 

The proposal is known as Brian Cody’s law after a young man who died of an opioid overdose at a young age.

I provided written testimony against the bill.  While I understand its intention, I felt that it might have the negative effect of inhibiting people from calling 911 if one of their friends overdosed knowing it would lead to being taken into custody.

Here’s what I wrote:

WRITTEN TESTIMONY for PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY COMMITTEE

Of Peter Canning, Paramedic, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Coordinator UConn John Dempsey Hospital

In Opposition to Raised HB 5583: AN ACT CONCERNING EMERGENCY INTERVENTION BY A POLICE OFFICER WHEN A PERSON SUFFERS AN OVERDOSE

Public Hearing: March 2, 2021

Good morning,...

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Ambulance: COVID Trends

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

I have been following the COVID trend since the epidemic began.  To me, the best indicator of COVID in our area has been the hospitalizations.  Cases numbers can change based on the number of tests and who is being tested, the same with positivity percent.  Deaths, can be a good indicator, but they lag the onset of serious COVID cases by several weeks,  Hospitalizations, provided they haven’t changed the criteria for who is admitted to the hospital with COVID should be a reliable indicator of not just who is getting sick, but of the severity of the epidemic.    

Back in March and April, COVID cases at our hospital shot up precipitously as the disease burned like wildfire through our area nursing homes, reaching its zenith the last week of April, and then by the end of May fell fairly precipitously.  In those early days, nearly all the hospitalizations were people from nursing homes, elderly from assisted living, people in prisons, and group homes.  The first spike lasted until June, and then nearly disappeared entirely by the end...

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