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Hello all,

 

I am a prospective PA student, and was just wondering if any of you have come across this kind of hypothetical situation and how it has played out:

 

You're in some kind of public place when you hear a commotion and realize someone had a medical emergency, and people are saying "Is there a doctor here?"  You identify yourself as a PA saying you can help.  I'm almost imagining, in a comical sense, a scenario like "I'm a PA, I can help, what happened?"  "You're a what?  What's that?"  And someone else walks up and says "I'm red cross first aid certified."  "Oh ok great, you're first aid certified, OK you help."

 

Do you feel that the public is educated enough about PAs and what they do, or do you still have to explain to people, and how do you see the trend moving forward (and why)?

 

Thanks!

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I was on a plane once and there was an overhead announcement asking for a 'certified medical professional'. I actually thought it was interesting, that they were not specifically asking for a Doctor. I figured, OK I qualify - I identified myself as a PA (and my specialty), the flight crew was happy to have me assist. There was also a surgeon on board who had spoken up, we worked together to some extent (comparing our specialties I probably had a bit more experience with acute care). The passenger was OK. I made sure to check on her a couple more times (it was a 6hr flight), seemed to be appreciated by the flight staff.

 

So to answer your question, on board that plane at least, being a PA was recognized as someone competent to help someone in distress. As far as going forward in the future, as more and more people see PA's in primary care and other settings, we will be more recognized and there will be even less need to explain our role.

 

Also, in that hypothetical situation you mention, if someone is 'first aid certified', they usually recognize what a PA is, so you can 'bump' them aside, if in fact you are more qualified to manage the patient, than they are. 

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Many years ago, I came across a similar situation.  They asked, "Is there a doctor in the house?"  I stepped up and helped .  I didn't have time to explain what a PA was at the moment.  There was some woman there ahead of me, she had good intentions but was doing everything wrong.  I let them think I was a doc and took control of the situation.  When the paramedics arrived, I had things in good order and they too him away.  I have often thought that maybe I should have explained my credentials, but in those days (this was 30 years ago) PAs were not as well known.

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I was on a flight to New Orleans several years ago, headed to the AAPA Conference. A request was made overhead for medical assistance (don't recall how they worded it) and at least 5-6 PA's stood up and offered their help! No issues understanding what a PA did on that flight!

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I have been in this situation and usually lead with "I have some medical training" and go from there. I have never had to prove myself, specify my credentials, or give my name. And that's the way I like it,an anonymous Good Samaritan. I think the only time you would need to prove yourself is to get access to medical kits on planes or to scare away an incompetent "lay responder"

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In emergency situations, I identify myself as an EMT...  which is fundamentally true if incomplete, and enough to get most other medical professionals to defer to me appropriately if needed, and if there are enough people there who should know what a PA is and it becomes necessary to do so, I'd identify myself more fully.

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Have had a number of times that I have helped.

 

Prior EMT

Prior ER PA

Now IM PA

 

I just go up and help till someone more trained arrives - usually ambulance.....

Just remember, ABCDE......

 

Don't put the horse before the cart.....

 

 

Sometimes this means I do a scene survey (yup very first thing is make sure you don't make another victim) and a rapid assessment, and then hold C-spine, or dress a wound.... And that is it.... Then small talk till the professional rescuers show up.....

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as above. I show up and generally tell folks " I was a medic before I went back to graduate school". I have a doctorate too, but its never been an issue.  I still carry my medic cert on me at all times. and I worked at a time that the certs said " expiration: none"

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as above. I show up and generally tell folks " I was a medic before I went back to graduate school". I have a doctorate too, but its never been an issue.  I still carry my medic cert on me at all times. and I worked at a time that the certs said " expiration: none"

 

Was that Pennsylvania with the no expiration cert? That is the only state that I know of that had that. It was a nice perk working in PA because of it, it is a shame they did away with it, I was forced to keep my national registry to keep my medic once PA changed it. 

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Have had a number of times that I have helped.

 

Prior EMT

Prior ER PA

Now IM PA

 

I just go up and help till someone more trained arrives - usually ambulance.....

Just remember, ABCDE......

 

Don't put the horse before the cart.....

 

 

Sometimes this means I do a scene survey (yup very first thing is make sure you don't make another victim) and a rapid assessment, and then hold C-spine, or dress a wound.... And that is it.... Then small talk till the professional rescuers show up.....

 

I was out for a run a couple weeks ago and that's what happened - came across a couple dudes looking after another dude with little clue what to do.  Jus slid in and introduced myself, took a history and kept his head still while waiting for EMS...handed him over and carried on with my run, after liberally using their hand sanitizer. 

 

Had another time where I stopped on the roadside near a pub - saw a sleeping bag in the slushy crosswalk that turned out to be a dude who hammered in.  Had a PTSD moment and asked the copper on scene to cover me - as I was doing a blood sweep, I felt some long cylindrical objects under his coat and flashed back to Afghanistan...turned out he had a six pack of high test big cans of beer strapped to his chest when he had a withdrawal seizure in the cross walk.  Good times...at least I had my car bag with me and had gloves and stuff.

 

SK

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I was out for a run a couple weeks ago and that's what happened - came across a couple dudes looking after another dude with little clue what to do.  Jus slid in and introduced myself, took a history and kept his head still while waiting for EMS...handed him over and carried on with my run, after liberally using their hand sanitizer. 

 

Had another time where I stopped on the roadside near a pub - saw a sleeping bag in the slushy crosswalk that turned out to be a dude who hammered in.  Had a PTSD moment and asked the copper on scene to cover me - as I was doing a blood sweep, I felt some long cylindrical objects under his coat and flashed back to Afghanistan...turned out he had a six pack of high test big cans of beer strapped to his chest when he had a withdrawal seizure in the cross walk.  Good times...at least I had my car bag with me and had gloves and stuff.

 

SK

 

thanks for your service!!!  means a lot!!

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Was that Pennsylvania with the no expiration cert? That is the only state that I know of that had that. It was a nice perk working in PA because of it, it is a shame they did away with it, I was forced to keep my national registry to keep my medic once PA changed it. 

yup, was a medic there 93-96.

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