The Professor is learning about scene safety and when NOT to act in EMT class:
"In EMT class Monday we talked about scene safety and extrication. There was a lot of squirming in seats as the “rules” were explained to us. Few people in the room got involved in emergency medicine in order to watch from a distance as people need help or to say “that isn’t my job”. But the rules say there are times when that is exactly what we are to do. Person shot with the “actor” still around and no police presence? Wait at a safe distance until the police secure the scene. Truck turns over spilling a caustic on a minivan full of kids with the kids screaming from the burns? Wait at a safe distance until a decontamination team arrives and can deliver your patient to you in a decontaminated state. Even if that means the kids die in the interim? Yes. Really? YES!"
What Maddog has to say about that is this:
There is a certain amount of pride and even arrogance in thinking that we are going to save all of them. If a rescuer gets hurt by placing themselves at unreasonable risk, they do a disservice to the original patients. The other rescuers will place a higher priority on their injured compatriot and the initial victims will be further delayed in the treatment they recieve.
I feel that there is little place for heroics in EMS. What wed do is, by nature, heroic. If we are to consistently provide the best, most thorough care we can, that can only be done by being consistent, thoughtful, careful and intelligent. Calmly and intelligently assessing risk is one of the ways we provide that high level of care to our patients. Failing do do so puts them at risk and belies our purpose.
Go out in a blaze of glory? No, I'd rather die at an old, old age. I can save more patients that way.