18-15 Segment 1: Adventures of a Paramedic

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a first responder? We talk with Kevin Hazzard, former paramedic and author of A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back, who tells us about his experiences as a paramedic and what it takes to be able to deal with emergency situations.

As a first responder, paramedics must enjoy the chaos and must be able to adjust to any situation. Hazzard explains that the practices of medicine that are taught during training are not always the most effective way to approach an emergency situation because EMTs and paramedics tend to be outmatched. Furthermore, he states that being a paramedic is often like being a detective because first responders must be attentive to the details surrounding them in order to figure out what happened and how to best treat the victim. An EMT or paramedic must be capable of listening to the victim and the bystanders, as well as making observations about the environment, because they are incapable of running tests that can provide them with answers. Hazzard describes the care provided by first responders as a primitive form of medicine because they are not able to use a lot of advanced medical techniques that medical practices have access to.

Along with these skills, first responders rely on a certain level of emotional capability in these emergency situations. Hazzard explains that it is important to be able to be detached from the victims because if not, many would be incapable of doing the job. He states that a first responder cannot think about the pain of the victim because it will hinder their ability to perform vital tasks. However, in certain situations, empathy provides the most effective care. Hazzard explains that some people call 911 because they are frightened or unsure of what is going on, and the best way to help them in this situation is to simply talk to them. Furthermore, he expresses that paramedics must be able to cope with the fact that they are almost always going to be put into compromising situations.

In the end, first responders must be dedicated to their jobs. Hazzard explains that as a tax funded field, they are not given the best supplies, and are often told to made do with what they have. Some even spend their own income to purchase better equipment. Despite the tough circumstances and compromising situations, most first responders continue to be committed to saving the lives of the American people that need their help.

Guest:

  • Kevin Hazzard, former paramedic and author of A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back

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18-15 Segment 2: The Mystery of Meniere’s Disease

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Imagine waking up and no longer being able to hear in one of your ears. And, after losing the ability to hear, you are suddenly affected by bouts of vertigo attacks that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. This is what happened to James Raath, business consultant and author of Love Mondays, who suffers from Meniere’s disease which is a disease that is caused by a fluid imbalance in the inner ear that forces the membrane separating the chambers to rupture.

Dr. David Friedland, Professor and Vice Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at Medical College of Wisconsin, explains that this disease is commonly diagnosed, however, it is an uncommon disease to have. While the main symptoms, tinnitus and vertigo, are experienced by many people, the presence of both does not necessarily imply that the person has Meniere’s. Furthermore, Dr. Friedland explains that it is unknown whether the rupturing of the membrane is caused by the endolymphatic sac absorbing too little or too much fluid. But, the sufferer will be relieved of the symptoms once the membrane fixes itself. However, regular occurrences of this rupturing can have long term effects. Dr. Friedland explains that a person may suffer from progressive loss of hearing and increased weakness in the balance system.

So, what can be done to stop the progression of this disease? Dr. Friedland explains a few ways in which physicians can go about treating Meniere’s disease. The first, he says, is allergy medicine because allergies appear to be a trigger that can set off the fluid imbalance. Another way that he suggests to counteract the disease is to consume a low salt diet and water pills. In some cases, Dr. Friedland states some patients may get a shot that can drain excess fluid in the ear and improve the hearing loss. A final treatment that he explains is ablation which destroys the balance cells within the inner ear. The goal of this procedure is to reduce vertigo by making it so that an imbalance of fluid in the ear does not affect the balance system that causes vertigo. However, he warns that this procedure does not change the disease process, but instead, only changes the balance system so it cannot be stimulated by the disorder. While there is no cure to Meniere’s disease, there are many ways in which those who suffer from the disease can work to counteract or slow down the process.

Guests:

  • James Raath, business consultant and author of Love Mondays
  • Dr. David Friedland, Professor and Vice Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at Medical College of Wisconsin

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Medical Notes 18-15

 

Medical Notes this week…

There are about 16 million cancer survivors in the United States, and in some ways many of them are never quite the same. For example, a new study finds that even years later, people who beat cancer get tired more quickly than other people. The study in the journal Cancer found that after five minutes on a treadmill, people with a cancer history were nearly twice as likely to rate their fatigue as high. Walking a 400-meter track those with a cancer history finish an average of 14 seconds slower than similar people without a cancer history.

About half of all women will experience a urinary tract infection at some point and most will be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, doctors say antibiotic resistance is making UTI’s harder to treat. but it may not take antibiotics after all. A study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that treatment with a modified sugar molecule can treat urinary tract infections by keeping bacteria from adhering to the body.

And finally, if you’re facing a high pressure situation and need to lower your stress levels a new study suggests you take a sniff of your sweetie’s used t-shirt. The study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that when women were put in stressful situations, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol were lower when they smelled their significant other’s used t-shirt. they also reported that they felt less stressed. stress levels went up when they smelled someone else’s t-shirt.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

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