18 September 2006

Hard day's work

Well, actually the hardest thing about it was not getting myself in trouble - but that's not an uncommon problem for me. I picked up a detail shift on Sunday, which are things like the baseball games, races, and in this case a kids football game. 40 or so 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys on each team smashing into each other with great joy and enthusiasm. Coaches seeming a little strung out, shouting at the kids about what play was called and where they are supposed to be. And four referees, one of whom was rather overweight and seemed the most likely candidate for needing medical assistance - until I saw that he doesn't take more than 3-4 steps during any play so he's hardly even breaking a sweat. Add in a few handfuls of parents and siblings for each team, a beautiful 80 degree, low-humidity, light breeze day and you have the makings of a delightful 4 hours of sitting around doing nothing while getting paid.

So how did I almost ruin the nirvana of EMS? I was posted in the front row of the stands, which meant being near a number of parents. After the first "varsity" game, some of the kids came off the field so the rest of the kids could play in the second game. The home team's center was apparently the son of the woman sitting closest to me, and he was talking with his mom after the game. Another toothless, redneck yokel (who I sincerely hope was not a parent, but probably was) came by to throw his two cents in.

"So XX, do you feel like a loser?" [nod from kid] "Well, you should. You and the whole rest of the team are a bunch of losers. You're twice the team those other kids are and you just stood out there and let them walk all over you. You guys weren't even trying. I hope you remember what it feels like to be a loser like this." [kid looking more hurt at every insult. mom just sitting there doing NOTHING]

At the first question, I was just stunned. As the yokel went on, I had to hold on to the arms of my seat to keep myself from getting up and saying something. I realized that there was probably little more embarassing to a 12-13 year old boy than having some woman he doesn't know stick up for him (since it implies he can't do it himself), but I don't condone child abuse, verbal or otherwise, and I'm saddened to think that the kid left thinking that it is okay as an adult to act like that because nobody told this yokel he was being inappropriate.

As an EMT, I'm responsible for patient advocacy - but I'm not sure where the line is for children who aren't my patients when I'm being paid to represent my company in full uniform. The first rule of detail work is don't rock the boat unless it specifically involves your patient or your safety. But isn't there some value to being a good citizen? Am I really going to just sit there if there's physical abuse? Shouldn't his mom have stood up for him?

No comments: