Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s perfectly thought out excuse for smoking crack

If your homepage news feed is anything like mine you’ll know that Emma Thompson forgave Kenneth Branagh’s affair, there was a storm where brown people live and Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, was filmed smoking crack.

There is a kind of whirlwind around the accusations, which he avoided for months, until a court battle surrounding the release of a video of him smoking crack surfaced.


Look at the surprise on my face.


I would, however, like everyone to dial back on the uproar surrounding crack cocaine use by Toronto’s Mayor which he claims was only once and that he is “…not an addict.”  Somehow he assumes we would see one instance of a behavior and apply it to the extremes of addiction.

“Did you see Justin drinking a Dr Pepper on the drive home today?”

“Yeah, but he’s not an addict.”

I thought nothing of this story and wanted it to go away until I read a quote that had me more worried about other aspects of Ford’s life.  Aspects that should disqualify him as Mayor, but you likely didn’t even notice.

Mr Ford, according to Mr Ford, has a drinking problem.

He is an alcohol addict.  Far worse in my opinion than being a crack addict, but we only apply the stigma to the “illegal” mind altering substances here.  Don’t believe me?

When he finally came forward and admitted to smoking crack, he had a totally justifiable and well thought out answer:

“There’s been times when I’ve been a drunken stupor. That’s why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I’d like to see this tape. I don’t even recall there being a tape and a video and I know that. I want to see the state that I was in,” Ford said. –

Let me translate:

“Hi, I’m Mayor Ford.  I get so sloppy drunk on a regular basis it’s my go to excuse whenever I get caught doing something stupid.  Obviously I wouldn’t do that sober, I want to see the tape and prove to people I would never take part in the manufacturing, sales or use of an illicit substance.  I was so fall down drunk I can’t even remember what you’re talking about.  Did it even happen?  Who knows?  I was sooooo drunk.” – Douchebag->

He also added:

“Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago,” he said about the cocaine use.

Stupors. Plural.  Dude is Mayor and has a regular habit of becoming so intoxicated he does things he would never do sober.


As if that wasn’t enough to disqualify him from cat sitting, let alone Mayor, he decided to say a few words about the camera man.  When asked to comment on his crude words, he responded with a safe “Obviously I was extremely, extremely inebriated. That’s all I have to say.”  Oh, well nevermind then, go back to Administrating the City and I’ll meet you at the pub at 5.

Thanks, Mr Ford.  I thought you were a worthless human being up until it was the alcohol talking.  Now I think that title is an insult to the greater worthless human being community.  Working on an ambulance for 18 years I learned a very valuable lesson: Alcohol amplifies one’s inner asshole and you, Mr Ford, go up to 11.




CA SB556 – The “He looked like them” Law

Special thanks to Mr Herrera for bringing this back to the front burner for me.

Just a quick reminder: The views on this website are mine and mine alone and not endorsed, reviewed or supported by my employer, co-workers, mother or hair dresser.

That being said,

SB 556 s a giant load of Gou shi.

“Oh my Happy…language…”

It is Gou shi.

Somehow the legislature is concerned that Erma Fishbiscuit is going to be confused when the nice men from the fire department arrive to take care of her, but then a completely different group of men arrive to take her into the hospital.  The uniforms may seem similar, but if she puts on her glasses she’ll see the patch on the sleeve does not say Fire Department, nor does the ambulance, nor does the bill she’ll get in a few weeks.


Apparently the law makers want to make sure Erma is aware that her local Fire Department has no interest in taking care of her by making sure the Fire Department employees wear a patch that clearly states “Government Employee.”

Oh, wait.

Scratch that.  Reverse it.

This bill would require uniforms that are similar, but only those not a government agency, to read “Not a Government Agency.”

Are we that stupid?

Don’t answer that.


This bill had obvious beginnings, that being to make sure the guy AT&T sub contracted my install to can be held liable when he screws up, but it was clearly hijacked by someone, likely a Fire Department Union or 2 unhappy with the ambulance contracts in their area.

Disclosure, I’m a union thug myself.

Requiring private contractors to wear a patch or insignia that states “Not a Government Agency” is just as stupid (and would be shot down in a heartbeat) as asking all municipal fire, police and EMS agencies to wear a large orange hat, designating them Government Agencies.

It’s good to know we solved the homeless problem and all the children can go to college free since we’re passing legislation to make contractors wear patches to tell the public what it already says on the side of their trucks.


This kind of crap makes me want to run for office just to slap them with the patch that says “Government Agency” and make them pay for it.

“That’s not fair, Happy” Yeah…I know…get it?


If you are for SB 556, I welcome your comments and ask that everyone commenting be respectful to one another, whether they be union thug or for profit people mover.

Of Blankets and Discipline

A very eye catching story has been circulating for a few days involving everyone’s favorite EMS system to hate, Detroit and a Paramedic who claims to have been reprimanded for giving a blanket to a person who was cold after a fire.

I was waiting to comment until the Detroit EMS Administration commented.  Let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t holding my breath.

As a Quality Manager I see this differently than most line medics might.  On the surface a medic was doing the right thing giving a blanket to a cold person.  It’s what we do most: Make bad days better.  We all know most of the attaboy letters don’t involve medicine but instead note demeanor and comfort measures.

Seems like a non starter.

However, it seems there were some policies in place, whether you agree with them or not, regarding dispensing agency property.

Take a deep breath…I’m getting to my point.

Most Vice Principles have a list of trouble makers who are just under the disciplinary surface and are watching them like a hawk waiting for a reason, any reason, to bust them on a black and white policy violation.

I don’t know enough of the facts to pass a decision regarding the blanket, but I can tell you that if this was brought to my desk I’d ask how we solved all the other problems to be able to spend time on this.  If there had been a decision to reprimand based on the Rules and Regulations, in my experience, there is more going on than meets the eye.

I wander the halls looking for my borderline crews to screw up on something so I can have a chat with them, sure, but more often I’m wandering looking for any chance to talk with them about how things are going.

This could have been a policy enforcement or the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Let’s just hope the camel doesn’t need a blanket.

Our Lady of Sorrows indeed

Oh dear Lord.

Arizona’s Our Lady of Sorrows Academy forfeited the state championship game because of a girl.  Not because one of their star pitchers was enamoured with the blonde in his history class, but because their opponent’s team has a girl.

No need to check your calendars, it is still 2012.

The school has a strong religious belief that boys and girls are to be taught separately and that is their right.  Knock yourselves out.  But you’re missing a big opportunity here to actually EDUCATE your students about life.

While you segregate your students due to your religious beliefs the rest of the world is moving on and your students, while adhering to your religious beliefs, are less prepared to enter it.

The other team has a girl?  Starting at second base?  Egads!  Next she’ll want to vote!

The player in question, Paige Sultzbach, has sat out previous matches due to the Our Lady of Sorrows beliefs, but finally stood up for her own when it came to the big game.  Kudos, Paige.  She has already been impacted negatively by the narrow views of the other school, perhaps they could suck it up and show some respect and just let the kids play baseball?  But no, their views don’t allow the possibility of physical contact between the students.  They demand others bend to their beliefs but refuse to do the same for others.

Seriously?  It’s baseball, what’s going to happen?  Someone tries to steal second, Paige tags them out, and they kiss?  Perhaps the teachings they’ve been presented are proven false?  Then they have to go home and explain how they lost to a girl?


I think I understand now.

Parents of Our Lady of Sorrow Academy in Arizona: I respect your religious beliefs and would never question your right to raise your children as you see fit, but I truly hope you see how ill prepared they will be to enter a world where Paige can do anything they can, possibly better, despite all your attempts to teach them the opposite.


Let them play, they’re kids.


Rock on, Paige.  My little girls saw your story tonight and smiled.


A Comment from The Most Important Chart she’ll ever write

Reader BG Miller left the following comment on my post about how a seemingly NBD (No Bog Deal) chart could be the most important one we write:

Okay, question from one of the non-EMS readers…
One of the injuries being listed for Zimmerman is having his head bounced off the concrete one or more times.  So you have a patient with a possible head injury who is experiencing great emotional stress and possibly shock, (unless he is a complete psycho, but that’s another argument) is he capable of signing a refusal?

Of course he is.

“Having his head bounced off the concrete” is not an injury, but a…wait for it…mechanism of injury, meaning he experienced an event that could have led to an injury.  Similar to saying “He got stabbed.”  Well, where, how deep, with what?  All those questions have to be asked to establish the extent of a possible injury.  So if I was told that at the scene we would transition, in my opinion based on little else, that this would shift from a refusal to an AMA consult with online medical control.  He’d also get a full work up in my office, not in the squad car.  Depending on the discoloration, shape, sound and feel of his injury (yes, I said sound) refusal may be out of the question.  Certain injuries can indicate that a significant amount of force caused it and remembering that the brain inside the skull can be injured just as badly, if not worse in some cases, can lead us to determine appropriateness for transport.

In my system, if a person exhibits trauma above the clavicles, they are candidates for full C-spine precautions.

Being capable of signing the refusal is an easy determination to make, it is when he should be evaluated and refuses is when it gets sticky.  This kind of scenario is when the lie of kidnapping gets added and we all panic and say we won’t kidnap the person who needs further assessment and just walk away.


Under ordinary circumstances getting his head smacked might leave him a bit dizzy but aware enough to decide on his own treatment.  Under ordinary circumstances a fight/shooting might put him under emotional stress but able to understand the medics treating him.  But what about when those two are combined?  Does that change your interaction with him as a patient?

As I mentioned above, if you as a witness tell me those things happened I need to better assess for an injury.  That is when we move to the ambulance, doors closed, lights turned up, so we can see everything the cops and their flashlights missed.  Funny thing  about cops, they are trained to look for weapons, drugs, offensive motions etc, but few of them have any clue how to assess for an injury. “He ain’t bleedin’ ” tells my nothing Serpico.  Bleeding is the least of my concerns.  From the cot inside the rig we can assess and if indicated initiate transport after convincing the patient it is warranted. “Look, you’re already in here, we could be there in 10 minutes and it’s done.” “You don’t need it? Well, you might be right, but let’s make sure, wadda ya say?”  If he needs to go, we can convince him it was his idea in the first place if we do it right.

Emotional stress accounts for most of my calls.  I often joke that we spot you 20 points on your blood pressure because of all the sirens.  If I had just shot someone I would be…well…I don’t know.  I would have to assume I’m jittery from the adrenaline of nearly being killed, killing someone, and now being assessed for an injury.  However, the down from that high could also be intense.  we all handle stress differently and can’t draw any conclusions from a person’s demeanor or level of calmness at the scene.


Also, having read a few cop’s take on self-defense shootings, it seems common that the problem the police face isn’t getting the shooter to talk to them but getting the shooter to shut up long enough to be mirandized.  Like someone that’s been through anything traumatic they tend to babble a bit.  So as a medic do you note what they are saying in your report?  “Came out of nowhere,” being mumbled will have a different spin in court than, “I shot him.”

I too have seen a tendency of purposeful shooters to not stop talking, mostly of the walk by and drive by variety, boasting of their accuracy or the severity of the wounds of their target.  When it comes to documenting their responses or comments, I stick to what is medically pertinent.  In this case, since the patient was involved in a violent action I will have PD in the ambulance with me and searched prior to being placed in the ambulance.  If he mumbles something it is the officer that needs that information, not me.  I could not care less why he did what he did, I care about his injuries.  If he mentions “Dude had a baseball bat and then everything went dark…” I note the bat because it directly impacts my impression of the injury.  Other details we’re better off pretending we didn’t hear and let the police handle it.


Thanks for a great question.  What about you fellow EMSers?

The most important chart she’ll ever write

Or he…I dunno.

What I do know is that the Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman situation has got us right back at each other’s throats just in time for the weather to turn nice (sorry Kansas, I didn’t mean it that way).  With the release of some video of the suspect in the police station soon after the incident surfacing, suddenly everyone is a medical expert.  Trouble is, there is only one document that can solve this problem of “was his nose broken and head bleeding?”


The PCR.


According to reports the suspect sustained injuries and was given “first aid” in the back of the police car by paramedics.

Now, because it’s the “media machine’ we have to assume everything specific is actually vague, right?  So it may have been a BLS unit, a police officer/EMT or a full fledged ALS response unit.

Despite your preconceptions about the case, because you DO have one regardless of the facts, imagine yourself on this response: (I designed it this way, this isn’t how it happened)

PD requesting ALS unit code 3 for GSW victim.  On scene they advise the victim is DOA but another person, in the back of the police car in handcuffs, needs medical attention.  Your partner confirms the DOA while you attend to the person in the police car.

After assessing his injuries, what does your chart include?  That he is in the police car?  handcuffed?  Is he in custody?  Under arrest?  What about your physical assessment?  Is it any less complete because he’s sitting in the back of a police car at night?  Do you move him to the ambulance?  Do you bandage wounds?  Do you clean wounds?  Do you clean clothes?

After deciding a refusal of care or no indication for transport, how is this documented?  Refusal? AMA? It depends on the injuries, sure, but if the patient is handcuffed in the back of the police car, does your system have a cut and dry policy for who can sign for them?

All these questions of what happened when and to what severity are hinging on what could possibly be a poor chart.  A chart that will not only be seen in court, but the way things are going, will be plastered all over FOX News and MSNBC for years.

Writing your chart for CYA takes on a whole new meaning these days.  Do it right. Every time.  You never know when a seemingly straight forward case hangs a hard right turn and crashes into a wall.


I’ll leave comments open if they focus on the importance of documentation in an EMS reference.  If I start to see a “debate” of the race-baiting, racist, self defense, stand your ground law, gun nut, 2nd amendment hater BS this has turned into I’m closing comments.  Let’s talk EMS here folks, sheesh.

Pass your passwords forward please

At last year’s How to Become a Firefighter Workshop here in Northern (some will argue Central, long story) California, I presented on technology in the job hunt, focusing specifically on the pitfalls of social media.  It is a fantastic all day seminar held at the Las Positas Fire College and includes lunch cooked by the students.  The cost of the seminar? $12. Including lunch and a chance to speak to the people hiring you one on one, let them preview your resume etc.  Where was this when I was getting hired?

The seminar attracts Battalion Chiefs, Division Chiefs, Officers from a number of large metropolitan departments and someone you know who writes a blog.  Our pals Judon Cherry, Chris Eldridge, Sam Bradley and Thaddeus Setla helped film the video for the program and this year Judon and the Dridge were there again.  Oh, and I have nothing to do with the kick ass indexed screen shot BTW.  have a look:

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The attendees had some great questions about facebook, twitter, email a whole host of issues, but one comment from the audience stood out and has caught traction recently.

In my presentation I mention that some employers are asking that you friend their HR director on facebook prior to the interview.  When I mentioned that the Chiefs you’re speaking with may want to friend you as well, one of them spoke up from the audience,

“I don’t want to be your friend, I want your password.”

The audience was silent.

If you were one of the final applicants being considered for this job, would you give a prospective employer, or anyone for that matter, your facebook password?

It could be considered an invasion of privacy, but I can’t think of a better way to see what someone does when they think no one is watching.  And with the way that an employee can ruin a department’s reputation with the simple click of “share” I think it is reasonable to ask for it.

So this year, when I gave the presentation, we discussed the privacy settings pages and how to eliminate tags in photos perhaps you wish others had not uploaded, comments on posts that maybe you made late at night after drinking studying, or perhaps something rather inflamatory, deragatory, racist, sexist, heterophobic…you get the idea.

It’s actually a good idea for everyone to visit those pages every few months just to check and see what you look like from the inside of social media.  We make comments to one circle of friends the other circles may find offensive, but is any of that going to be considered immature, dishonest or a misrepresentation of who we really are?  It matters greatly if the three key traits an emploer is looking for are maturity, honesty and trust.

What do you think?

If you got called up for your dream job in the fire service and they asked for your password, what would you do?

New AHA CPR Guidelines leaked!

An AHA employee is in hot water today after the discovery of his lost laptop containing controversial recommendations for new CPR guidelines was found in a coffee shop in Atlanta.
Authorities were quick to deny claims that patient data had been compromised, but new guidelines had already been leaked.


HMHQ has obtained a link to the data.  This is going to change everything.


Did anyone notice the rolling boil?

What happened to us? I woke up this morning and it seemed that suddenly we’re all at each other’s throats. Disagreement has turned into pure hatred and there is very little discussion anymore. Pundits spout half truths and opinions to achieve a political goal while those of us out here trying to live our lives do our best to navigate a minefield designed to enrage us.

Did you get that email from your brother about Obama’s secret camps for Tea Party supporters? What about the one years ago about Bush instituting a draft to cover the war in Afghanistan and the coming war in Iraq? How Pelosi is ruining America, or Boehner or who ever?

We used to keep our political leanings more or less to ourselves until it became easy to have a one sided conversation. TV interview shows and the internet have allowed opinions and beliefs to evolve without any connection to fact whatsoever, drawing instead on the writings of whoever agrees with them. Whether it’s the 9/11 truth movement or Obamacare we now see the world in strong shades of red and blue and it’s making me sick.

Sick to think that it’s only going to get worse. That an armed Tea Party group will confront an Occupy ____ crowd and someone will say something stupid and before you know it we’re at war. Civil War.

Taking it too far you say? Think back to when we got along. Sure we all had our differences, but it was subtler, we all made decisions based on the facts at hand. Some more than others, but there was always a back and forth, a sharing of ideas.

Now we have two groups locked in a fight that can never end without BOTH of them backing away. Abortion, healthcare, finance reform, banking regulations, job creation…these are not things any one party has figured out. Our current situation is not the result of our current administration, Congress or Court, but a continuous failure of all three for decades. The offices are inundated by monied interests looking to have the path cleared for their project, drug trials, regulations to the point that law makers have no choice but to take the easy way out and simply do what they say.

Our system fell apart and we all picked up our red and blue glasses and looked for someone to blame. We were told by new voices to hate the right wing gun loving nut job neocons or the leftist commie hippie liberals, each of us told what we wanted to hear.

And the voices only got louder and told us more half truths about who we were supposed to hate.

Then one day we looked around and instead of having a discussion with our neighbors and learning about WHY they feel the way they do, we just hate them.

We hate them because of a bumper sticker, T-shirt or slogan, for an avatar on facebook or a picture they linked to they believe in. We hate them because we’re not sure who we’re supposed to hate so we take the easy way out and just do what they say.

No one is without blame these days, we’ve all taken things way too far. Wire taps, healthcare mandates, war for oil, protecting some stupid salamander, we take something we dislike and assign an evil doer to it and nothing we read, hear or feel will dissuade us from even thinking, “Hmmm…I wonder if I might have this all wrong after all?”

The melting pot of America has had the heat turned up slowly for decades, most noticeably in the last 10 years. Choose your bogey man, blame whoever, but look in the mirror first. Hate the banks, but look at what you’re doing in relation to them first. Hate immigrants or food stamp recipients but examine your own life for things you can do about it.

99%, 53%, 1%…
…100% of Americans believe something is wrong on some level. Perhaps instead of looking for a trigger in this current administration, Court or Congress, or the one before that, or the one before that, we should take a look at the only thing that has been a constant throughout it all:


The American people.

The same people currently loathing half of our Countrymen and Women and for what? Why do we all hate each other? Skin color? Religion? Cheeseburger or plain? Kids or no kids? Booze or no booze? Last I checked all the things I disagree with had little to no impact on my day to day life with only minute changes to behavior.
“But (insert politician here) wants to take away my (thing you think is going to be taken away)!”

And we’re back to hating each other instead of looking around for the cause to our troubles. Maybe they want it this way. James Andrews, the character from the film PCU summed it up nicely when he said “It used to be us against them, now it’s us against us.”

US against US.

I’m so tired of trying to figure out why so many people are so insanely upset at things they may know nothing about, but simply need to hate something.

We’re all like toddlers who will spend more time crying about cleaning our room and how our sister never cleans hers than just getting the job done, being proud of it and moving on to other more interesting things.
There will always to a part of every society who doesn’t carry their weight. The young, the old, the crippled, the sick, the just plain lazy…but should we hate them? There will always be those who excel at what they do and rise above us to higher position and stature…but should we hate them?

Depending on your bumper stickers I can guess which side you come down on because I’ve been conditioned to draw assumptions and build barricades. Just because I disagree does not make you wrong. We seem so quick to destroy someone else’s opinion just because it clashes with our own preconceived beliefs.


We’re all fools to have let it get this bad.

I never would have guessed

Reports of shootings and stabbings just blocks from where Washington DC “Public Safety Officials” chose to deploy firefighters in an effort to deter crime?

You mean it’s not working? Who would have guessed?  I’ll need a minute to compose myself.  Discuss amongst yourselves, I’ll give you a topic:

“Police and Fire are never expected to cover expenses, why is EMS?”

Ah, I’m better now, thanks.


The cartoon Statter911 links to says it all.


It’s not working DC, pull those fire and EMS crews off the street corners and let the police deal with law enforcement.

You’ve been watching too many movies. Before trying anything else sit down for a minute and really think it through.  It seems cardboard cutouts of police cars and fake cameras would have a bigger impact, and be safer.  Don’t forget that your firefighters and paramedics are “public” too and fall into your “Public Safety” arena.


Good grief.