Perils and Scope of Practice in Emergency Medicine

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Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are the most at risk to sustain injury and the most critical short term health care provider because of the nature of their job, because of the scope of their skills, and because of the skills they have and procedures they are authorized to perform. The job of EMTs and paramedics are to quickly arrive at the scene of the most gruesome accidents, and render aid to potentially fatal injuries. The stakes for an EMT or paramedic are extremely high. If the paramedic is successful he will save lives, if not people will die. These high stakes demand a sense of urgency that is not found most forms of employment. Delivery of such crucial critical care demands speed. This speed is required to show up in time to make a difference and makes the job of a Paramedic extremely dangerous. “Problem Work-related injury and fatality rates US paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are higher than the national average for all occupations” (Maguire and Smith 376). The majority of fatal injuries sustained by EMTs and paramedics are happening on the way to render critical triage care. “From 1992 to 1997, there were an estimated 114 fatalities to emergency medical services (EMS) workers. Primary causes of these fatalities were ground transportation and air medical crashes.” (Reichard et al 511). More recently those numbers have dropped but the fatalities of EMTs and paramedics are still consistently

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