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Diary of a Trauma Nurse
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My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting. And if for some reason you think you see your story don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Ambulance Calls:

Imagine the ambulance coming screaming down your street to find out it was to bust a boil, clip a hangnail or check on smelly body parts.........

*Do people really call the ambulance for flatulence?  Yes they do.

*Do people really call the ambulance for a cough?  Yes they do.

*Do people really call the ambulance because they are intoxicated?  Yes they do.

*Do people really call the ambulance for constipation?  Yes they do.

*Do people really call the ambulance for tobacco use disorder?  Well, I can only imagine what he called for but that was his diagnosis in the ER.  

****Shaking my head****

The average cost of an ambulance call is $700.00.  In one year, 30 people accounted for 2400 ambulance calls.  One of those 30 people called 243 times.

Why is this blatant abuse tolerated?  

People, please realize that while the ambulance is rushing to get you due to back pain you've had for a week, there are reall 911 emergencies out there that they AREN'T going to.

(Please excuse the frustration)........

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 11:01 PM

My name is Jessica, and I just wanted you to know that I love reading your blogs. I'm going into nursing as we speek. Getting through pre-reqs right now. I have ALWAYS been interested in the er, and reading your blog has made me want to persure my dream of becoming a trauma nurse. You have really inspired me, as well as the other nursing school students. You seem to be a great nurse, with a loving family. Congradulations of everything you have persued. I look forward to reading more of your blogs, so keep updating! And, as soon as I make it into the hospital, and continue my dream, I want to have a blog just like this, inspiring kids just like me!
Please, NO NEED to excuse your frustration!! As an ER nurse and ex-paramedic, I see this bullcrap all the time. Unfortunately, the type of people who abuse the system aren't the type of people who read our blogs, so I fear the message will never get across...
Jessica, don't stop until you accomplish everything you set out for. Keep your eye on the prize. Being a trauma nurse is so very rewarding and you can make a difference in so many lives, including your own.
Please keep in touch and let me know when you finally make it. :)
yes people do call ambulance for a cough .that sounds so funny
hey ya'll-
i've been hired onto a trauma unit and am currently waiting for june 20 to come (NCLEX day). i've been working in my hospital's staffing department for a couple of years, and float to different units.

i have to question a couple of generalizations i see, but not to be disagreeable....

sure, people call 911 for all kinds of reasons. maybe they're elderly and confused, maybe they don't have a HCP or the resources/insurance to pay for one, maybe they've got psych issues, and yes, there are people who abuse the system.

but, doesn't this all point to failures in our healthcare system, with regards to 1) making sure everyone is insured 2) providing access and affordability to everyone 3)ensuring the funding for ALL facets of healthcare is adequate (even abundant)4) education and prevention, etc, etc.?

and, shouldn't that person calling with weeklong backpain be treated with the same unconditional regard as the MI or Assault victim?

just questions and thoughts....
Cory, I'd like to contact you about a TV show I'm working on, UNTOLD STORIES OF THE ER. I think you should be on this show. I'm in LA: Ann Hassett: 626 798-8000 or

Thank you.
How about the 22 yr old who called an ambulance for abdominal pain. It was a 23 mile ride to town and she didn't have a car. The jist of her case is that she really didn't have abdominal pain, but thought she was pregnant and wanted a pregancy test. When I asked if she had considered buying a test at the local Dollar Store, she stated "Well, this isn't costing me anything because I'm on the state health plan....what difference does it make?"
The difference it makes is that it's people like this patient who "DON"T CARE" what it costs the rest of us to fund her government provided free no cost insurance. Health care costs keep going up and those of us that are hard working tax payers are getting screwed. These people need to be somehow accountable to screwing the system!!!
Love your blog so far!! I am a critical care nurse myself in Newfoundland, Canada. Never excuse your frustration. We see blatent abuse of our paramedical/ambulance services all the time. Then these people show up in the ER department, walking, talking and have the nerve to complain that they have to "wait" in the ER dept. They figure that because they were brought by ambulance, they will receive immediate treatment from a Dr. Most of us nurses politely tell them, if you were unconscious, stroke victim, MI, bleeding, trauma, in need of CPR/defibrillation, then no, you wouldn't have to wait! Thanks for the posts, lets us nurses know we're not alone out there with our thoughts/feelings/frustrations, and also puts smiles on our faces or lets us have a little chuckle!
Remember nurses cannot do their jobs without the help of ancillary staff! I have been in x-ray for over 10 years and my husband is a medic and we have been treated like crap for years by nurses!!
Dear Most Recent Anonymous,

I have never and will never even suggest that a nurse can do their job without ancillary staff. I appreciate ALL members of my team which includes everyone from administrative assistants to medical directors and EVERYONE in between. I would say if you have allowed yourselves to be treated like crap for years by nurses there is a reason for allowing that treatment but in my opinion you are working at the wrong place. In my experience, especially in trauma and ER, x-ray as well as paramedics are an incredibly important part of the team. I've worked side by side with paramedics in ERs and not one of my jobs could have been done without our x-ray department. And NEVER did I stand by and allow an x-ray tech to try to get a bedside xray on a patient without helping. Never. And in my past experience as well as current experience, I have never and will never allow myself to be treated like crap by anybody. Just a thought.
I am an ICU nurse and occasionally float to the ER and this absolutely cracked me up!! So true!! Enraging, irritating, and yet all we can do is shake our heads. You have inspired me to share more nursing stories on my blog!! Thanks for the great laughs!
New blog follower here. I am an ICU nurse and occasionally float to our ER. I could not help but feel the rage and then laugh because this is SOO true!! You have inspired me to share more of my nursing moments on my blog; so thanks for sharing. And Thanks for the laughs!!!
Thanks for reading and for the nice comments. I'm glad you got some laughs. (There is always some humor in the truth! :) ) I am flattered that you feel inspired by my blog. I'd love to hear some of your stories. Keep up the good work!!!
It's amazing what people will call for an ambulance about, isn't it?
Tara, it's unbelieveable what they will call an ambulance for. Good grief!
Thanks for reading.
The abuse of EMS is ridiculous but we allow it to happen. Most EMS systems do not allow their providers to refuse transport which is crazy. If someone calls 911 for a BS reason such as wanting a ride to the ER for a script refill then we should give them a taxi/bus voucher and send them on their way instead of taking an ambulance out of service. We also need to start actively enforcing against the obvious system abusers but that will likely never happen.


Frustrated former EMT
VFlutter, RN
I know your frustration, believe me. I wish something could be done about the blatant abuse of our EMS system but I don't see it in the cards.
Thanks for reading and for giving your input. Appreciate it!
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