Essential Truths

Jeff Clawson, M.D.

Jeff Clawson, M.D.

Best Practices

Jeff Clawson, M.D.

If you can fill the unforgiving minute, with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it … – Rudyard Kipling

The above elegant quote from Kipling, as an opening statement for The Principles of EMD, truly defines our profession’s sometimes “politically correct” and often manipulated objective—time—a dilemma which is faced daily by every single Emergency Dispatcher on the planet—and that, my brothers and sisters, is quite a professional responsibility to bear because we all know just how important it can be.

Often, the essential, focal messages that define the most important things in our dispatch lives can be lost in a forest of words and the lengthy discussions that attempt to impart a deeper understanding of the meaning of a given article, chapter, manual, or, in this case, a book. While The Principles were being revised, we (the authors) at times engaged in some creative thinking, and even a bit of semi-wild speculation, regarding the idea of simply adding some engaging and appropriate quotes to each chapter. This began with a sporadic placement of a number of interesting, but specifically telling quotes that we thought might enhance, or at least help better frame, the important issues we intended to be understood within these pages—at the beginning of, and in later editions at the end of, each chapter.

These quotes are meant to impart not only a literary, but a historically-based distillation of the important ideas represented within. Look carefully at the title of each chapter, then take your time in reading, and rereading, each quote. Each of which is intended to call out in just a few words a deeper understanding of the essential truths each chapter was meant to impart into our workaday lives.

If, in any way, this reintroduction of quotes accomplishes that objective, then, in the aggregate, we have succeeded in cultivating a deeper understanding of what this unified, structured, and evidence-based protocol, and its complete system it is surrounded by that you use daily, is truly all about. Slow the pace, read carefully, and enjoy them as I do each and every time I read them.

For me, they always get better this way … Doc

P.S. Great minds wrote these statements, and great dispatch minds like yours and your colleagues’ will read and hopefully be inspired and improved by them …

Chapter 1: The First, First Responder

Start quote: Emergency Medical Dispatch is the jewel upon which the watch movement of public safety turns. – Fred Hurtado

End quote: Change is the way the future reveals itself. – Unknown futurist

Chapter 2: Basic Telecommunication Techniques

Start quote: Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. – Benjamin Franklin

End quote: Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others. – Winston Churchill

Chapter 3: Structure and Function of Priority Dispatch

Start quote: Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

End quote: Don’t rely on words or equations, until you can picture the idea they represent. – Lewis Epstein and Paul Hewitt

Chapter 4: Dispatch Life Support

Start quote: I get by with a little help from my friends. Lennon and McCartney

End quote: It’s okay. We can do this together. – Jennie Greenwood, EMD

Greater Manchester, U.K.

Chapter 5: Caller Management Techniques

Start quote: You can only see a thing well when you know in advance what is going to happen.

John Tyndall

End quote: The more details I can foresee, the more probabilities I have of saving myself. – Italo Calvino

Chapter 6: Medical Conditions

Start quote: When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

End quote: Of all the treatments possible, the first to consider is to do nothing. – Gerasim Tikoff, M.D.

Chapter 7: Trauma Incidents

Start quote: When you’re confused, beat up and hurting, nothing feels as good as some calm, capable, credible, concerned person paying attention. – Alan Brunacini

End quote: What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. – Thomas Carlyle

Chapter 8: Time-Life Priority Situations

Start quote: Listen to the newborn infant’s cry at birth—see the death struggle in the final hour—and then declare whether what begins and ends in this way can be intended to be enjoyment.

Søren Kierkegaard

End quote: If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me ... – William Shakespeare


Chapter 9: Scenarios & CDE

Start quote: Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.


End quote: Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. – Jules Renard

Chapter 10: Stress Management in Dispatch

Start quote: Dispatchers’ First Rule of Randomness: Emergency calls will randomly come in all at once. – Unknown

End quote: Every life has a measure of sorrow. Sometimes it is this that awakens us. – Buddhist proverb

Chapter 11: Legal Aspects of EMD

Start quote: The point is, while your dispatching personnel express anxiety over the possibility of liability for providing such a service, we may well see the day when a municipality faces allegations of negligence for not providing such a service. – James O. Page, September 28, 1981

End quote: Perform your duties well while always caring about those whose terrified moments and painful days are entrusted to you, and you will seldom go wrong. – Anonymous physician

Chapter 12: Quality Management

Start quote: We must touch his weakness with a delicate hand. There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence that we can scarcely weed out the fault without eradicating the virtue. – Oliver Goldsmith

End quote: No, you don’t have to do this. Survival is not compulsory. – W. Edward Deming

Chapter 13: Evolution of EMD

Start quote: The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. – Alfred North Whitehead

End quote: New and stirring things are belittled because if they are not belittled, the humiliating question arises, why, then are you not taking part in them? – H. G. Wells