Casualties of “Trauma”

I’ve been thinking of how to blog about this for the past week. NBC’s new primetime drama, “Trauma,” debuted last week. In the hopes that I would finally see an accurate portrayal of my profession on a major network, I watched it. I was not merely disappointed.

I was absolutely outraged.

The opening scenes were some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The female lead, a gorgeous blonde woman, isn’t wearing anything remotely resembling a uniform. She was wearing hot pants, a shirt tailored more for a stripper than a paramedic, and had the shirt unbuttoned far enough to show more cleavage than Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch days. Of course, every male character in the scene–which is every other character on the screen–is staring at her with their mouths hanging open. The very next scene shows this female lead having sex with her medic partner…in the back of their ambulance.

Lemme tell you folks something: anybody found wearing what this character was wearing while on duty would be fired on the spot. And sex in the back of a rescue? Please! I would not even want to eat my grub in the back of my rig! Completely aside from that, though, it’s unethical, leaves body substances in an area that is supposed to be kept sparkling clean for the safety of patients, and it’s so easy to be discovered with windows all over the stupid thing. Nothing says “please revoke my certification” like having sex in the back of your ambulance.

The medics get called to a rooftop rescue next, where the helicopter shows up and the pilot makes jokes to them over his intercom. Again, that doesn’t happen, especially not in a big city during a major rescue effort on the roof of a highrise. Predictably, the chopper collides with another chopper (both of them were flying WAY too close to the building) and crash with the medic crews still on the rooftop.

The pilot who survived, apparently the only survivor, comes back a year later to the job, hot-dogging and displaying behavior that would instantly have grounded him again. Nobody behaving the way this guy was would have been cleared to return to work. Our blonde female lead is still wearing the hot pants and stripper shirt, and every time she bends over a patient her mammaries all but fall out.

Then comes the finale: the big crash. A driver trying to text and speed causes a massive wreck that ends up involving a tanker truck carrying gasoline. Who’s the first there? The medics. What do they do? Not what they’re supposed to do according to the guidelines of the National Registry of EMT’s.

Every EMT is taught the two most important things in our profession on the first day of school–BSI and scene safety. BSI is body substance isolation (gloves, mask, goggles, that sort of thing). Scene safety is paramount to us. If we get hurt, we can’t help anybody else. We just become more victims that need to be rescued and the incident becomes an even bigger mess.

Not one of those medics would have been allowed on the scene until the firefighters on the hazmat crew had taken care of the ruptured tanker spilling gasoline everywhere. And that pilot? He wouldn’t have landed anywhere near that scene. He sure as hell wouldn’t have been marching around burning vehicles without a care in the world. Also, once a victim has been pronounced deceased, the medics don’t transport the body to a hospital. It stays right where it is until the medical examiner comes to investigate–and the ME takes the body for possible autopsy.

Some people say, “it’s just TV.” Do we ever expect TV or the movies to be realistic? Not completely. This show, however, is an insult to every Fire and EMS professional who worked hard at their education to become public safety officials. I and those I know realize that it’s unrealistic, but a large portion of the public at large doesn’t. Just because a teenage boy would be more likely to watch a show with a hot blonde dressed like a floozy doesn’t mean you should create that role for a show about paramedics. It’s an embarrassment.

Truth, decency, and professional ethics are the main casualties of “Trauma.”