Ditch Medic Crew

Derrick – Admin/Editor/Author/Ninja

Welcome to Ditch Medics! I’m a career paramedic. That’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I think most of you reading this can understand that statement.  I started out my career in EMS in a very rural, volunteer setting. Over the years I’ve found myself moving up to busier and busier systems, seeking out more “interesting” locales. I’ve always enjoyed what we do in EMS. I love telling people that I’m a “mitigator of chaos.” Has a nice ring to it. I’ve had the good fortune to work in many different environments; on the ground, in the sky, in granny’s house and behind friendly lines.

But what brought me to create this blog wasn’t anything I have accomplished. It was my big failure. I grew pretty comfortable in my perceived skills. Early on I studied. I read. I researched. I took a lot of pride in my knowledge, as well as my ability to put that knowledge into practice. As a younger medic, I was driven. Driven to be better, to understand more. That drive kept me going. I thrived….for awhile. But slowly I started to drift.

Whether it was too many 2 AM toothaches or frustration with organizational incompetence, I don’t exactly know, but eventually I stopped being proactive. I rested on what I had accomplished and stopped seeking out what I COULD accomplish. I became stagnant. Then one day I got the opportunity to change uniforms. Trade in my EMS pants for Nomex flight suit. I had a rude awaking when I transitioned from the 911 environment to a critical care world. I was immediately made self-aware of how much I didn’t know. I realized how flawed my algorithmic thinking was. This was my motivation to get back in the game. To once again work harder than the next guy.

This exposure to critical care medicine has helped me become a better paramedic. I see problems differently. Instead of thinking like a traditional paramedic, how to treat symptoms, I now think like a true advanced care provider, analyzing a problem and applying the best solution to that specific problem. This is how we should think as EMS providers. Protocols have made you weak. Rigid protocols protect our medical directors from the less capable among us. I suggest instead of coddling our weak, we should help them find different professions.

Today I consider myself a student of this trade. Realizing how little I know and always trying to learn more. I’m a full-time flight paramedic. I still work part-time on the ground as much as I can. I also occasionally put some body armor on and assume the role of tactical medic. But one of my favorite jobs is as an EMS educator. I have found a passion for teaching over the past few years and look to expand my role in education.


Tommy – Editor/Author/Lover of snow

When I was asked by a former partner of mine to be an editor on his new blog, I will have to admit my first reaction was to laugh… When we used to roll together, this would be something I would definitely give him crap for. I mean, everybody has a blog nowadays, right? But after hearing him out I was definitely intrigued. Bringing a critical care mindset to street hauling is something I could get behind.

I started in EMS in a rural, volunteer fire department. I transitioned into working as an EMT in a college town for a private service that did both 911 and inter-facility transports. I transitioned to being a medic and was partnered with our illustrious “editor-in-chief” here at Ditch Medics. After a few years I re-located and moved to one of the most progressive states in the Union as far as EMS goes. My move was an eye-opening experience to say the least. I went from a system that required a call to a doctor for almost everything and that was controlled by rigid protocols, to one that used “guidelines.” Common, everyday medics were doing things like RSI, operating vents, and had multiple pumps in every rig. I have worked in both rural and urban EMS up here and the difference to my former state is astounding. Services are truly blurring the lines between critical care and “ditch medicine” and that is something that we are also trying to achieve at Ditch Medics.


Ryan – Author/TEMS Provider/Mediocre Softball Player

I started my 911 EMS career in 2002 when I began working full time at an ambulance service in a college town. Over the years, I have also worked with a volunteer rural ambulance service, volunteer fire department, as well as medical staff for large scale college sporting events.

In 2005 I was presented with the opportunity to work with a SWAT team as a tactical medic.  Currently I am the Assistant Medical Team Leader.  In 2012 I began working with an EOD unit as medic attached and the Medical Team Leader.

TEMS is growing in popularity but still a relatively new discipline in civilian EMS. In my roles as tactical medic and bomb squad medic, I take pride in shaping the direction of our local special ops medical units. Critical thinking isn’t just needed in the CCU. It is needed on the streets. It is certainly needed in the SWAT/EOD worlds. As a tactical medic I frequently operate outside the boundaries of normal EMS. Dealing with not only medical considerations but tactical ones as well. That is why I’m here at Ditch Medics. I hope to open a discussion about EMS special operations. How medicine in austere environments requires a high degree of independence and and even higher degree of competency. It definitely is ditch medicine.


Les – Author/Medic Extraordinaire/Pyro

I was asked by good friend, someone I look up to, to help with his EMS blog. I am humbled and wondered if I could actually come up with any good material. I will try my hardest to provide information that will be worth your time. I may not come up with any new information, but I may try to help change the mindset of EMS providers in a positive and critical thinking type way.

I am a Paramedic that started in 1993. I have volunteered and been a paid full time provider. I have done Urban, Rural, Critical Care, and Emergency Department settings. I have worked NFL, NBA, WNBA, and NASCAR events as a provider. I am currently working full time for a rural 911 provider, part time for the busy college town EMS, part time bomb squad medic, and part time educator at the local college. Oh yea, I shoot off firework as well. Boom!

In my travels I have worked in three different states and have worked with many different personalities. I have had different phases of my own career, Ricky Rescue, Frustrated Freddy, Burned out Bert, Bully Bob, and maybe a little Know it all Ned. I have always had the feeling that I could be doing more but have been held back by protocols, training, or lack of equipment. All of us have had or will have these feelings if we are in the profession long enough. One thought has always been there for me, “Did you do your best?” I feel that my best could always be better and I strive to become better. It is a thought of personal accountability. I do not know everything, and there are many providers that know more than me. I make mistakes and am not perfect, but I have a passion for patient care. Through knowledge sharing and education, we as a whole can better the profession and bring it to a level that will be more respected in the future. Thank you to the ones that have taught me valuable lessons and I look forward to those that will teach me in the future. I will see you in the Ditches.