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I Have Never Wanted To Be Wrong More In My Life

Our deepest sympathies to Ryan Estrada and his family; this isn’t a singular moment of loss, but rather the start of a long term period of coping and compromise and so very much pain, and none of it had to happen. I know that the howler monkeys who think that they are the only people in the world that matter will be screaming about how this isn’t COVID related; if it happens in your vicinity, you have my permission to punch them in the throat until they can’t spew their stupidity any longer.

You know people like that, too. Maybe they aren’t screaming about conspiracies and RFID and 5G, but they think that it’s overblown, it’s not that bad, that they don’t need to wear a mask and it’ll be okay.

As you know, I’m a volunteer EMT. More, I was recently elected Chief of my agency. I’m responsible for the lives and well-being of the approximately 15000 people in my town (and the quarter million in the surrounding area we serve by mutual aid), but especially the two dozen people I have staffing ambulances.

There’s a few old guys like me, one dude that joined us right out of high school and is still riding despite being four months into his internal medicine residency, and a bunch of relative newbies, people on for less than two years, who have STEPPED THE FUCK UP at a time when they could be doing anything else at less risk to themselves.

A couple of moms and dads, mostly college students. A quarter of them are literal kids — we have a half dozen high school students riding as cadets and we try to keep them off COVID calls, but they’re all presumed COVID calls at this point. It’s not enough that every aspect of their lives has been upended, they’re putting on N95s and going into enclosed spaces with sick people. Anybody that complains about COVID fatigue because they haven’t been able to do exactly as they please for up to a month at a time should try doing CPR for 20 minutes with full PPE on a hot summer’s day¹.

So those people that you know, the ones that think it’s not that big a deal? I need you to do something, fam. I need you to contact them — at a distance –and tell them that this is a crisis point in your relationship. Explain that they are actively trying to kill my two dozen crew members and everybody else in the world. People with COVID, and people without COVID who can’t get the care they need because there’s no room for them, and not enough staff to take care of them.

Tell them they need to






or they’re dead to you, because they are trying to harm you and everybody you love with their solipsistic bullshit. Want to be a person that can talk to me, ever? You can’t be such a narcissist that you’re willing to kill others without a care in the world when you could avoid it by doing almost nothing. This is murderously malignant behavior, and none of us are getting out of this pandemic untouched by tragedy. There should be no room in your life for people who are choosing to make it worse.

And when this is all done — and it will be, someday — remember who they were. Because if the greatest public health crisis in a century wasn’t enough to make them do the absolute bare minimum, they’ll do the same to you again, again, and again over matters great and small. I don’t get to choose the patients I serve, so if one of them calls me for help, I’ll provide it. But godsdamn if I don’t wish sometimes I could tell them No, you’re not worth the risk to my people and something about petards.

Stay safe, people. And keep everybody else safe, too.

No spammers today.

¹ That patient was pronounced in the ED, but at least we had a bed to put him on and there was staff sufficient to work the code. That was August. If you have a heart attack this weekend when I’ve got my 24 hour shift, I can’t guarantee you’ll get a bed or a full staff because both of those are in short supply these days.

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