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emt2359

Deaf EMT on ambulance...

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My main issue was the EMT in the article could hear some and the article made it sound like he had a partner. I know there are electronic stethoscopes that would help and like I said, it sounded like he wasn't alone, but I chose not to argue. It sounded as though he provided excellent patient care and did non emergent transport. I wouldn't have a problem with it. If he was alone, maybe

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First off, let me just say that I'm not a paramedic (hence the username) so I might have a different perspective from you guys. I am however, hard of hearing in both ears (severe to profound), but I am COMPLETELY oral and with the help of my cochlear implant (will be getting another one soon! :) ) I can hear very well, almost close to what you can hear. My point is, being hard of hearing doesn't necessarily mean that you're deaf. It doesn't mean you can't hear the person right next to you. The ability to hear with hearing aids/in general varies from person to person, so I would be careful about making generalizations about people who are considered hearing impaired, as many of them might have cochlear implants which help a lot. Anyways, I just wanted to throw that out there, but I completely understand how you guys might feel about having a hard of hearing partner.

Also, about the hearing breathing sounds, etc, there are stethoscopes for people with hearing losses that work REALLY well from what I've heard. You simply piug them into your hearing aid/cochlear implant and viola :)

http://www.medicalsupplydepot.com/Diagnostic-Products/Stethoscopes/Littmann-3200-Bluetooth-Electronic-Stethoscope.html?utm_source=googlemerchant&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=datafeed&utm_content=10673&zmam=43382607&zmas=1&zmac=28&zmap=10673&gclid=CMzkvPW707cCFRCe4Aod3ksAFg

But now I'm wondering...should I be discouraged about becoming an EMT?

Aspiring, no you should not be discouraged about being an EMT if you have cochlear implants and are able to hear. I have a good friend who has them and he can hear as good as I can (I have some higher register hearing loss - my wife says I have selective hearing). He also uses a stethoscope that plugs into his implants and he can hear very very well.

He also can hear when things are getting out of hand and can also hear things that others cannot due to his cochlear implants having the registers turned all the way up on some hearing scales. Don't ask me to explain. I have no issues with his working on my family as he can hear rales, rhonchii and all the other crap that goes on inside the human body.

If you can hear that too then I'm all for you to work on my family but if you are unable to hear all that you need to then I have a big problem with you working autonomously in the back or front. Third person then go for it.

But if you cannot hear the needed sounds then sorry but there's not a place for you autonomously in the back. I don't consider that discrimination, I consider that an inability to do a core piece of the job.

It sounds like your Cochlear implant does what it is supposed to do.

Don't be discouraged in being an emt but don't be surprised if you get push back from people in the industry until you can prove that your hearing loss isn't a detriment to patient care.

Good luck.

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Isn't it a pity that we focus on "can this guy hear?" instead of "does this yahoo have a brain that works?" If we're talking about folks to exclude from playing due to risk of missing something or not being able to provide good care, I'd much rather let someone with a hearing impairment (not full deaf, mind you- you have to be able to hear enough to assess) work on me and mine than some asshat who doesn't care about the medicine and worse, doesn't care to learn.

You can hear abnormal breath sounds... but do you know what to do with them? Let's say you can hear well enough to hear they're abnormal, but not exactly what's wrong. You smack your partner, throw them your steth and say "check me here- what are you hearing?" How is that any different than what a lot of us do- "hey man, I've got something here and I'm not totally sure of it- what do you see/hear?"

I would think that someone who is partially deaf knows that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to situational awareness and would be working harder to make sure they're as close to "on the same page" as everyone else... now, if someone is full deaf, that's a different story... not only can they not assess, but they're not able to ensure their own safety, let alone someone else's.

Before anyone says I'm being prejudiced, let me just explain that whitewater rafting with my cousin (who has to put her cochlear in the dry bag so it doesn't get fried) means watching out for her at least sevenfold compared to the rest of the folks in the boat. She can't hear instructions and needs a hearing partner to pull her down, get her to duck, change paddle directions, etc... when she got pitched, that was terrifying, because she couldn't hear our instructions. Now, am I willing to take the responsibility for keeping her safe when we're out rafting? Absolutely- she's a good swimmer, and does decently despite the deficit. Am I willing to take responsibility for a full deaf partner who has to have me do any hearing based assessments, radio comms, and maintain full situational awareness for all of us? Man, that's a tough one. They better be one hell of a clinician despite the deficit.

If they have the attitude of entitlement that I've seen some folks with disabilities or disadvantages have, they're surely not welcome. Knowing you have a deficit and working hard to overcome it and prove your capabilities is excellent; expecting everyone else to accommodate you by default because you have XYZ is wrong. I don't expect my coworkers to pick up the slack when say, I have an asthma attack in the middle of my busy shift... just because I'm asthmatic. I don't expect to get an easier patient assignment. I feel bad, rather than entitled, when said situation above happens and I have to pass all my patients off in the middle of an already fubar shift... if I were an entitlement brat, I'd just take it for granted. Instead, I'm truly grateful...

Wendy

CO EMT-B

RN-ADN

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I completely understand where you all are coming from. I was thinking the same thing, and I by no means would put myself in a position where I would jeopardize the safety of myself, a partner, or a patient. I can't say what I can hear as being on an ambulance is a different circumstance than everyday life- there's sirens and the fact that you can't read your partner's lips (that would be way too dangerous to do while driving, of course). However, I believe that I would hear a fight going on in the background or if my partner needed me. On top of that, technology is improving so much that I can filter out sounds to focus on a voice or raise the volume to hear a soft whisper. My plan is to continue working hard in speech therapy (it helps my hearing as well) and hope for the best- and when the time comes, if my hearing is good enough, I will go for it :) But, if I feel that I am in any way incapable of giving 100% quality care, I'll shoot for a career in the ER.

Thank to everyone for being so respectful about this issue- I appreciate it!

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Am I willing to take responsibility for a full deaf partner who has to have me do any hearing based assessments, radio comms, and maintain full situational awareness for all of us? Man, that's a tough one. They better be one hell of a clinician despite the deficit.

I think this is what it really comes down to here. We sort of strayed from the original case where the EMT is described as "deaf" rather than having some type of deficit that is not complete deafness. This is all good for discussion, but if we shift back to talking about a completely deaf EMT, I don't see how we can justify having them work on an ambulance. I'd love it if we could accomodate everyone who would make an intelligent addition to our profession, but that just isn't how it works.

I like the question that you have raised though. How many people here would be willing to work with a fully deaf partner for your next shift? I wouldn't because I firmly believe that the patient would risk not receiving the care they deserve.

(aspiringemt, you keep doing what you're doing... I'm obviously not talking about a case like yours)

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Wendy, I'm not talking about the fact that they dont' have a brain. I fully expect that if they can hear the breath sounds with the cochlear implants then they should be able to know what those sounds mean and what they need to do to fix those sounds.

But if they are truly deaf, then they can't hear the sounds so they can't delineate between rales or rhonchii so the discussion is moot. right?

I'm all for allowing a hearing impaired person to work on my family member if they can indeed provide proper care to them but if they are indeed deaf which is what this original person is according to the article then that person should NOT be allowed to work the ambulance in my opinion. My friend is attached to two cochlear implants and I have no problems with him ever working on my family, never an issue.

I would think that the insurance carrier would also have an issue with this deaf provider working on the ambulance as well, I would think from a risk management perspective that this "deaf" provider would be uninsurable.

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Mike, I was more thinking along the lines of "how many incompetent hearing providers are there out in the field" -- we focus so much on this one issue, but the fact is we have a much larger problem than allowing deaf/hearing impaired providers with the drive and intelligence into the field.

How many partners have you had that are truly dumb as a rock, but they meet all the physical requirements so there was no automatic exclusion?

Wendy

CO EMT-B

RN-ADN

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Mike, I was more thinking along the lines of "how many incompetent hearing providers are there out in the field" -- we focus so much on this one issue, but the fact is we have a much larger problem than allowing deaf/hearing impaired providers with the drive and intelligence into the field.

How many partners have you had that are truly dumb as a rock, but they meet all the physical requirements so there was no automatic exclusion?

Wendy

CO EMT-B

RN-ADN

GOTCHA Yep, I've been at times called dumb as a box of rocks on certain things, we've discussed one of those things before. SAR I think. :) :) :)

But seriously, in all fooling aside, I've had new providers who met all the physical requirements who couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag with a gps and a samurai sword.

from what the original article points out, this deaf provider is a great provider he just lacks one thing, hearing. That limits his practice of medicine to me and that's a shame. But what he lacks in one area he makes up in another by having a third provider with him I think. And that's ok in my book. If that's what the EMS system will provide him, a 3rd person that will augment him in the hearing area then by all means allow him to practice and take care of patients. As long as the patient is not given the short end of the stick and is provided all the care that is needed then let him work in his chosen profession but to put him by himself in the back I'm not ok with it.

oh well this is a dead horse subject.

Ok on to another subject. Providers with no arms. Discuss

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