In school, to the eager EMT it’s first said:
“We keep the reaper from claiming his dead.”
We’re often placed in situations posing grave danger,
compelled to care not about self, but the patient, a stranger.
Speeding, swerving, and strobe lights are exciting,
but only a sliver of this job some call “ambulance-driving”.
Lion-engine roaring, the siren’s wail a cry.
occasionally we save, but many patients die.
Car crashes, strokes, hearts MI-ing--
Pulling patients back from the reaper; the battle’s worth fighting.
Street angels they call you, they love you, we’re fed.
In truth, in our streets, no angels would tread,
for they see the images stuck in our heads.
It is not a job, EMS is a calling,
but there is a secret in the culture, a truth that’s appalling.
The lesson, the reality, from us they do keep.
To the slaughter they send us as if we were sheep.
Sickness, death, and dying, those parts we get,
but we’re ill-prepared for the violence with which we are met.
Deal with it, accept it, quit, but don't fuss.
Let violent patients attack, threaten, and cuss.
Forced silent on this subject, we’re told not to speak,
it’s a secret which Medicine intends us to keep.
But they’re no longer a patient, they’re a criminal, you see?
Assault is a crime; we know this to be!
Revealing this secret to the world is a must:
Violence stomps care into hatred and dust.
When answering questions about my DT,
you should see how the public looks at me.
Heads tilted, like a dog hearing a high tone,
disbelief and confusion on their faces shown.
They’re puzzled, they all pose the same question at me:
“Well who'd want to attack a nurse, medic, or EMT?”
The dirty secret that the culture keeps hiding:
Sometimes it’s us who needs saving, that’s the truth they're denying.
Medic kicked then punched, or EMT choked--
the culture says take it and then makes it a joke.
“How dare you? You wish to report this a ‘crime’?
It’s part of the job, it happens all the time!”
That belief, that culture, that insidious lie
has caused more than shame or a pain that subsides.
Turning angels to demons before our own eyes,
causing careers to meet unexpected demise.
Treated horrifically after the attack,
it appears our uniformed family have all turned their backs.
The assault itself might leave a scar,
but left unseen are worse injuries by far.
What causes this change, one might think to ask?
In seeking solutions, I found my heart’s task.
Twenty years of research, and I’ve found the answer.
It may shock you, as it did me, this cancer.
The buzzards circle, unrelenting vitriol they bark,
and the suck-it-up culture brings peers’ nasty remarks.
“Bullshit!” they say, “There is no need!”
Unbelievable, the ridicule I’ve faced for DT.
Those untouched pay no heed to the matter,
and the solution lies only in the top rungs of the care ladder.
Nothing seems as important as we make it out to be
until the attack happens to the one that’s called “me”.
Like losing a mate, a best friend, or a lover,
the EMTs soul goes dark, never to recover.
I share this truth of heartbreak and sorrow
not for pity, but in hope for a better tomorrow.
I’ve accepted in my lifetime, my mission I may not see,
but we must make a difference for those new EMTs.
– Kip Teitsort 6/18/2017