Thursday, June 26, 2014

Conflict Resolution... Let's Play Soccer!

One fact of life in HEMS is conflict. As Jeff Stillwagon (Geisinger LifeFlight Pilot and generally smart man)  used to say, when you get so many type-A folks in one area there are going to be differences of opinion. I have been in conflict at a program and watched a woman get fired, and then again I have been in conflict at a program and got fired myself. It's too bad that in both cases I wasn't able to defuse the situation.

There must be a way...

When my youngest son was little, we took him to soccer lessons in the afternoon. The little kids all clustered around the ball, and the pack moved slowly up and down the field. Occasionally, someone would get kicked or shoved or knocked down and a fight would ensue.

The coach was very good at dealing with this - he would say, "look kids, we are here to play soccer - not to fight. In soccer this stuff happens, but let's forget it and PLAY SOCCER." And they would. I never forgot that coach...

What he was doing was refocusing the team on the larger purpose. The real reason for being there. That works for us too, as we work together to fly sick people and generate revenue. Now days when someone makes an unkind or poorly thought out remark to me I simply try and ignore it. I just let it go and focus on whatever I happen to be doing at the time. It doesn't always work, and I still get upset once in a while, but "letting it go" works better than steaming and twisting my wits and emotions. Often, when I just let something go and ignore a slight, the "perp" will shortly exhibit conciliatory behavior, which would certainly not have happened had I returned fire.

Let's Fly Sick People...

What I try to do is remind myself why I am here, and it isn't to one-up someone. I am on this job to make money and fly sick people. Period. Anything that contributes to that is good. Anything that interferes with it is not worth my time and energy. I also try and remember that there is more than one way to look at a situation, and my way may not be the "right" way.

I listen to people on the job frequently who are at odds with coworkers. (As a relief pilot, I can usually avoid drama myself - I am not there long enough) and I feel for them. They are upset and distracted, and for what - something that will pass and be forgotten and won't matter in the long run. Realizing that may help all of us let things that won't matter soon not matter now....

"Get Mad And Get Over It."

General Colin Powell...

Safe flights and may peace be with you...

TBT Repost... One of Klanks Best...(Warning - profane and not PC)

If you ever spent time on the JH forum, you know Klank. Love him or hate him - he speaks his mind...

KLANK O'Matic "Don't Eat Lunch with the Med Crew"

Author: Klank repost #5/ Rothrhead173 Date: 5/22/2009 8:36:26 AM

Sitting down for a nice lunch after our first flight of the day, the conversation turned to the morning events. “Did you get a load of the new nurse in the ER? Man, talk about green”, the medic was telling the nurse. The nurse smiled and said in a very loud voice, “I’ll get the Fully, the life saving Fully”. (I know its spelled wrong, but I’m not asking either. People been asking questions around here) I, wondering what this great miracle of modern science is, asked, “what’s a fully” as I take a big bite out of my sandwich. “It’s the tube that’s put in your dick that goes to the piss bag” the timid little medic replied eating her fries. The nurse with a mouth half full of food says, “Did you see the way she grabbed that poor guys thing, she grabbed it with a grip like my father in-law grabs the last longneck out of the cooler at one of our barbecues and shoved it in so far I thought it was going to come out his ass.” I think I’m full now.Mealtime was always a good time to sit and talk about work. It always seems to bring out all the most morbid details that one encounters in this line of work. I didn’t realize how much crap medical people have to deal with, and I’m not talking about paperwork, restocking the ship, and dealing with all the details of their job. I’m talking about real crap, somehow every one of them has a particular crap story that they have to tell.After some time in the saddle, I got my own crap story to tell one day. While waiting for the crew at the pad for an inter-facility I got a call on the radio to bring the something bag. (They name all their bags) Looking at the ship, I see enough bags to go camping for a week, I call back and ask, “What bag?” after a slight pause I hear “The blue one Klank” Ok, boy am I learning stuff now, wow, the blue bag, must get blue bag to the crew, stat. As I wander around the emergency room for a while, some kind sole takes pity on me and ask, “Are you looking for your team?” “Yes I am” I reply to this sweet little thing in her white smock with bunnies on it. “Their in the ICU”, I look at her with a glazed over look that must have been apparent, she points and says, “Just follow the signs that say ICU”. Ok, ICU, good, signs, good, follow good ICU signs, must get through with the blue bag to ICU to save the life of the patient, its all up to me.ICU, I learned is not a happy place, many sick people here, I guess that makes sense, never gave it much thought before. Walking down the hall, looking for the crew, I get this feeling of being unclean, that there are bad things in the air and its sticking to my clothes and I’m breathing it in. Must be strong, get the blue bag to the crew, code three. “Their down there honey, room seven” this rather large woman with kind eyes and a reassuring smile tells me. Rounding the corner in room seven, I see a curtain cracked open about four inches. I’ve made it; I can only pray that it’s in time.Sticking my head through the slit I saw what no person, in any profession, should ever see. Something so bad I cant, and shouldn’t even try to describe it, but let me try anyway. There was this woman, old enough to have babysat George Burns, lying on the bed, with a nurse attending to this little accident she must have had. Picture the changing of a diaper on a baby, and how you hold their legs in the air to clean a very messy number two. The nurse looks up at me and with the expression I must have had on my face, it almost made her smile. With a little smirk, she said, “Next one over” I will never be quite the same person I once was, I must regroup, and get the blue bag to the crew. This will be, after all, just like those things you see in combat, accomplish the mission and live with the pain, oh the horror. Carefully going over to the next bed, I slowly peek through the curtain, I see a flight suit, good, focus on the flight suit, and only the flight suit.“I have the bag”, I exclaim with great pride and sense of fulfillment, knowing that now I too have become a saver of lives in this noble profession. “Just put it under the gurney, we don’t need it now, but just wanted to have it, just in case” the nurse says calmly without even looking at me. “We’ll be about ten more minutes”.I feel the need to leave this place, this place of; I’m not sure how to express how this place makes me feel. I feel dirty, out of my element, and slightly dazed at the sight, sounds, and smells of this man, made, cold, sterile environment. I walk into the hall and first look right and then to the left, damn, how the hell do I get out of here? I was so intent on getting here; I didn’t pay attention to anything. Going to the desk to find my kind, caring nurse to get the directions I need, I see the nurse that I had the little encounter with in, now what is what has become, the horrors of room seven. “Could you please tell me how to get to the emergency room?” I say softly with a slight duress in my voice. She looks up, and with that same, you dumb ass, smirk of a grin, points and says, “Follow the signs that say ER”.Back outside, by my ship, in my environment, with fresh air, and no artificial lights, I clear my head, and think of what I have just undergone. First thing that comes to mind is the movie, Apocalypse Now, when the guy got away from the tiger and kept repeating, “Never get out of the boat”. I know, never go in the hospital, I hate hospitals, and I always have.That’s probably the dumbest thing I’ve said today, hell who likes hospitals? Nothing good ever happens in a hospital, it’s always bad. Some would say, babies are born at a hospital, that’s good, well that might be true, but they make you take them home after a few days, hell they could at least keep them till they had a job. Also, what’s this no nooky for six weeks crap, I make one little off the cuff comment to the doc on how sore her jaw is going to be, and I don’t remember much about the next few days.I think if the hospitals did one small thing to improve their image it would make a big difference to future generations. I think if hospitals sold beer in the waiting room it would create a whole new feeling about the place. People wouldn’t mind the long wait when things got busy, husbands would volunteer to take the day off work to accompany their wives for appointments. (That would be a beautiful thing) hell men in general, would go to the hospital more often, and not just when their bleeding real bad, and that would improve health nation wide. I mean, how many of you would go to a bar that didn’t sell booze?Got off the subject, if there is on, ok, med crew, lunch, I’ve found that a blissful ignorance on all medical subjects is preferred. Most of the time they speak in their own language, and can say some pretty gory stuff, and as long as I don’t ask them to put it in a way that I can understand, I can enjoy my lunch and the company of the crew.

AS350 B3 Damaged During Start and Run Up Procedures.

It is more important than ever to fully understand the systems we are operating. Click here to read full report.

EMS Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing in Field UPDATED 7/8/14

Click here to link to story...

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA312
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, June 23, 2014 in Texarkana, TX
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS AS-350B2, registration: N407EM
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

On June 23, 2014, about 1345 central daylight time, an Airbus Helicopters AS-350B2, N407EM, was substantially damaged following an autorotation near Texarkana, Texas. The commercial pilot, two crew members, and passenger were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by EagleMed LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as emergency medical services flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on a visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Idabel, Oklahoma, about 1320, and was destined for Texarkana, Texas.

According to a statement provided by the pilot, the helicopter was in cruise flight about 1,000 feet above ground level and five minutes from landing at the destination hospital. The pilot noticed the helicopter's rotor RPM rapidly increased with the associated high rotor aural warning. He attempted to troubleshoot the malfunction before deciding to perform an autorotation to a farm field. During the landing from the autorotation, the main rotors contacted and partially severed the tail boom resulting in substantial damage.

"Eagle Med is based out of Hugo, which is in Southeast Oklahoma."

Now Why Didn't I think of That... Sooner!

I was flying the line in Winona Mississippi a few months back, and a woman approached me as I was grabbing a cup of coffee on the way out the door of the Holiday Inn.

"Do you work for Air Evac?"

I told her that I don't, and that another program had recently commenced operations in town.

She said "Oh, I just love Air Evac, and I have their insurance coverage for my entire family."

Times like this present a challenge, because as someone who has been around HEMS for a long time, I have become aware of business practices employed by many operators that are (carefully now...)

sub-optimal. I don't like to disparage any firm or person to an industry-outsider. As Kevin High explained, that's not the way to get ahead. If I disparage a HEMS operator to a stranger, it makes me  look and feel shabby. And there is enough shabbiness in our industry already...

As I was driving to work that day, I thought about the "subscription" program that more than one HEMS provider has offered over the years. These programs offer to cover the cost of air medical transport on a company's aircraft for a nominal annual fee. This is not insurance - and the companies are quick to point that out - because the insurance industry has it's own set of rules and regulations.

There is no guarantee that air transport service will be provided if needed, only that if service is provided any portion of a transport bill not covered by a patient's health or car insurance is waived by the HEMS provider selling the subscription.

The bill for air medical transport often exceeds what the patient's insurance will reimburse, and the patient is stuck for the balance unless the insurance is one of the government programs like Medicare or Tricare that prohibit balance-billing.

There is one problem with purchasing a subscription however. There are more than 900 HEMS helicopters in the country, operated by several different companies, and there is no way of ensuring that the company you subscribe to will be the one called to come get you.

Bass Pro Shops "gift" cards notwithstanding...

So unless you were to purchase a subscription to ALL of the different companies, the subscription could very well be worthless.

As I was thinking about this, I realized that someone could offer to cover the cost of a flight on any EMS aircraft and immediately undercut the need for a subscription. If the rate for "coverage" was comparable to the current subscription prices, any thinking person would opt for universal protection. And real insurance...

Well, it's already been done, by a firm called LifeShield Alliance, and a gentleman named Rick Ifland. Googling and reading his info, one can see why he got there first.

It seems that Rick isn't just interested in making money, he is also interested in making the world, well... better.

Nice work Rick. We wish you every success.