Sunday, May 1

PALS Over, Everyone Lived

We finished up PALS (pediatric advanced life-support) yesterday with a review, written exam and some “Mega Codes” to test our practical skills.

The review really helped pull things together and solidified some concepts for me. The written exam was a 33 question multiple choice test, and most of the questions were straightforward (there was only one I didn’t know for sure, and I guessed right). Effectively our grades were public, as the scored answer sheets were sitting on a table. My classmates took some pleasure in giving me crap for the perfect score, and I took some pleasure in getting it (the crap and the score).

The “Mega Code” was different than our class-based codes as it involved doing a lot of things on dummies as well as verbalization. I know “fun” shouldn’t really come into play with critically ill children, but given the kids were plastic the process really was interesting and enjoyable.

With yesterday down, I’ll have a PALS card to add to my PHTLS (pre-hospital trauma life support) and ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) cards. What is odd about having the PALS card is that given my level of training (what New York State calls a Critical Care tech [AEMT-CC]), I can’t work an ALS code on anyone under 5 years of age. Before I took PALS I thought I wouldn’t want to be a paramedic as I did not want the responsibility of dealing with young kids. Yesterday it hit me that I could well be on a call with a 7 month old who needs ALS interventions, sitting 20 minutes away from the hospital and with no paramedic around. While I know I don’t want that to happen, I now wonder just how shitty it will feel if it does and I know that if I had taken the paramedic class I could do something besides BLS care and driving fast. Practially speaking, I couldn’t take the paramedic class as it conflicted with a work commitment, and the additional clinical hours and ride time would have killed me. My state has “bridge” classes for experienced AEMT-CC techs, and maybe I’ll try one of those in a couple of years.

Right now I’m ready to finish things up, run some calls, and be home more. My family is ready as well.