military medics versus paramedics
Posted 20 December 2007 - 12:12 AM
Posted 20 December 2007 - 01:06 AM
First, there are many different levels of medical education in the Army. You have entry level providers, to LPN's, to special operations medics, to 18D's. I would be very careful when shooting out sweeping generalizations regarding all "medics."
Next, do you honestly think a line medic needs to worry about dealing with chest pain following an IED explosion with multiple causalities and an unsecured scene? Many people are coming back home alive due to improved point of wounding trauma care. ( Aggressive hemorrhage control and timely evacuation.) It only makes sense to focus on what saves lives in theater.
In addition, we need to consider the demographics of these line units. Younger and generally more fit than the average Joe US citizen. So, in depth medical issues are not as emphasized. Also, seriously ill or injured people will be evaced to a MTF if the front line provider cannot care for the problem in most cases.
You need to appreciate that there is a delta between the "field" we work in and the "field" that military medics work in. Remember, at the MTF, there will be nurses, docs, and support people that can deal with medical problems.
Finally, I know several medics that are actually quite good with medical subjects. Their ambulatory medicine knowledge is actually top notch.
Please correct my erroneous thinking if I am in fact way off base here.
Posted 20 December 2007 - 03:39 AM
Turning it around, most civilian medics don't know dick about medical emergencies either, beyond EKGs (if they're lucky) and when to administer D50. I recently saw a ten year paramedic treat Shingles as an AMI. How many EMT-Ps do you know that even know where to start when trying to determine the cause of nausea, vomitting, diarrhoea, or abdominal pain? All they know is IV, O2, and transport. Does that mean they are inadequate for their job? Well, okay... you probably could make that argument. But the point is, that is not what their system deploys them for. Similarly, we don't deploy Whiskeys for practising cardiology on mostly healthy males under 30 years old. That's what battalion surgeons, nurses, and the occasional competent PA are for.
Turning 18 year old field medics into jacks of all trades is no more realistic than turning cardiologists into field medics. It's a preposterous propositon. They would so very rarely use their EKG skills that they would dangerously deteriorate. There just isn't enough call for that in a combat unit.
As for calling them "medics," they were using that name for about fifty years longer than we were in the civilian world. In fact, civilian medics stole that name from them strictly out of laziness, because it is just too much of an inconvenience to say the full word, "paramedic". I have yet to see an NR or state paramedic card that actualy says "medic" on it, so it's a little disingenuous for us to presume to lay claim to that term.
Incidentally, this "problem" you describe is more evident in the Army than elsewhere. I am impressed with the quality of the Navy Corpsmen I work with daily, as well as the Air Force medical specialists. They get a lot more of a clinical focus in their school. But then, you'd probably say they suck because they aren't trauma gods like Army medics.
Posted 20 December 2007 - 10:37 PM
If I asked this of you before, I apologize for repeating myself.
Posted 20 December 2007 - 10:42 PM
Dust, you always make me laugh!
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