50 Rules For Paramedics


1. Sick people don't bitch. 

2. Air goes in & out, blood goes round and round. Any variation is a bad

3. The more equipment on a paramedics belt the newer they are. 

4. When dealing with pts, bystanders or supervisors, if it felt good to say
it, it was the wrong thing to say. 

5. All bleeding stops eventually. 

6. Looks sick, is sick. 

7. If the pt is sitting up and talking to you, the patient is not in VF no
matter what the monitor says. 

8. Full spinal precautions were custom made for obnoxious drunks. 

9. It is generally bad form to use the words "holy shit" in relation to a
pt's condition. 

10. When responding, always remember that your ambulance was built by the
lowest bidder. 

11. If responding to an MVA after midnight and you don't find a drunk, keep
looking 'cause you've missed a pt. 

12. A cervical tourniquet solves all problems. 

13. The dead never get better, on the other hand, they never get any worse. 

14. Asystole is a very stable rhythm. 

15. For every ALS skill you learn you forget a BLS one. 

16. What do you call the medical student who finishes last in his class ?
17 Always have a probationer on hand at any job requiring a bottle knot. 

18. There is no such thing as a "textbook case". 

19. For every 100 jobs you do, 1 will be exciting. 

20. Take comfort in the fact that most of your pts will survive, no matter
what you do. 

21. ALS stands for Absolute Loss of Sense. 

22. There are two kinds of calls....."oh-shit" and "bullshit". 

23. You can't cure stupidity. 

24. Heaven protects fools and drunks. 

25. One medical control that can always be used... drive faster. 

26. The weight of your pt is always directly proportional to the distance
you have to carry them. 

27. The street sign will always be missing and the house number never

28. The stereo must always be louder than the siren. 

29. You know you are in trouble when the directions to a pts house starts
with..."once you leave the paved road". Any mention of tree stumps, coloured
letter boxes or cattlegrids are a bad sign. 

30. All arrhythmias eventually straighten themselves out. 

31. Your seriously ill pt will miraculously recover when you wheel them into
the ED, conversely your pt with a paper cut will arrest. 

32. Your pt will develop new symptoms in the ED between your handover and
the triage nurse speaking to them. 

33. The pain will go away when it stops hurting. 

34. People don't call an ambulance because they've done something right or

35. When treating a violent pt, try O2 therapy...an O2 cylinder to the head
normally quietens them down. 

36. If the pt fell and was moved by family members, they will have moved
them so that climbing stairs is involved. 

37. Dispatchers tell everyone where to go, ambos would love to tell the
dispatcher where to go. 

38. If you do tell the dispatcher where to go, follow this with the urgent
need to go home sick, OR they will find many, many more places for you to

39. As soon a you say, "you know, I've never done a
shooting/hanging/paediatric arrest, etc.", you've just ensured the nature of
your next job. 

40. God made paramedics to give him the opportunity to change his mind. 
41. The worse a pt's halitosis, the quieter they will speak. 

42. If in doubt as to which house you were called to, look for the house
with the worst access. 

43. If the pt only moans when you're listening for lung sounds, they are not
as sick as they want to be. 

44. 111 - the government's answer to Lifeline and Dial-a-prayer. 

45. Some people can do this job, some people can't. Pray that you are
partners with one who can. 

46. If God had intended you to have a rapid response to the call you
would've been parked in front of the location. 

47. Paramedics don't complain, that's the patient's job. 

48. Paramedics never run. Unless, of course, there is food, a late meal or
call off involved. 

49. People are going to get sick, people are going to get hurt and some
people are going to die. Being a paramedic is not a multiple choice job, you
must be able to handle all of the above. 

50. Remember, ALL people WILL eventually die no matter what you do or how
skilled you think that you are. But, if the coroner ever asks, the correct
answer is, "I was driving that day".


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For any comments on the website, please email: derek@111Emergency.co.nz

Updated:28 May 2006