Close of business today brought to an end to the first of four days of public NTSB hearings focusing on the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).
WASHINGTON — Emergency medical helicopter pilots had the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., racking up fatalities at a faster clip than loggers and other historically risky professions, according to a new study presented to federal air-crash investigators.
Thirteen crashes, 29 lives lost, all in the 365 days of 2008.
By simple deduction, I, therefore, have the most dangerous job in nursing.
Last year, the small rural ambulance service which served the area my parents live in couldn’t afford to stay in business. Now, if either of them need the advanced skill of a paramedic it will take and ambulance over 15 minutes to reach them.
That, quite simply, scares the shit out of me.
The closest hospital is over 15 minutes away, even with the use of lights and sirens.
That small hospital is over 35 minutes away by ground from the nearest cath lab, or trauma center.
They are nine minutes from the same advanced medical center by air.
The reality, however, is that the community my parents call home is actually very accessible compared to many of the residents of my state. My job is dangerous, and that is a risk I am willing and eager to take as the communities I serve need the advanced medical care we provide.
HEMS is dangerous.
HEMS is, without a doubt, VERY expensive.
But I ask you how much a few more afternoons quilting your mom is worth? What would you pay for few more rounds of golf with your dad?
Those few, precious moments, stolen from fate, are worth risking my life for. I willingly accept those risks because someday, it may be my mother that needs the expertise of a flight nurse. It may be my father I am called to save.
It is my hope that through these hearings, my peers, colleagues and friends will be safer in the air. That 2009 will be the year of Vision Zero.
The conclusions and decisions which will inevitably be handed down in the following weeks will have a direct impact on my professional life. Here is to hoping, in the end, the title of ‘most dangerous job’ goes back to the crab fishermen.
edit: CNN’s Coverage of the hearings here.