It’s not what you expect to see when casually checking your social media sites after getting up in the morning: A series of short eulogies on a friends account.
Death has only tangientally touched my personal life. Deaths in the family occurred at a very young age where I didn’t know them enough and didn’t understand the concept of death, and not knowing them as an adult, unable to build a bond between them and myself.
We, in contrast, had spent four years of our lives together that shaped and changed us: we had become paramedics together. Through university, through paramedic school, in the classroom, on the road, at graduation: we did it together in our group, growing from keen students to grown up paramedics. Whether at one of our first practice scenarios in school, or at a job working together: you were a solid colleague, a mate that I could count on, someone who had my back even on tough calls. You got on with the job that we both loved: helping people, and having a laugh with them, never at them.
Although we weren’t close, we kept in touch as colleagues, even if I was in your country of birth, and you were in my country of birth. I was glad that we were able to catch up over a pint when you came to visit England recently, and it saddens me that we won’t be able to do it again as we had planned, either here or over your way.
Pleasure to have met you, an honour to have worked with you, and a sad day reminiscing about the good times spent during our journey together.
Design, a sometimes forgotten and neglected topic not only in the Paramedic world. Examples include the often poor visibility of exterior ambulance design, unsafe practices on interior ambulance designs, hideously designed uniforms, and not properly thought through industrial design of the equipment we use (heavy, cumbersome, unreliable, expensive. Or all four).
One thing that has always bugged me
is the utilitarian approach to designing the patient area of the ambulance. Essentially the Paramedic’s office, a bit more thought would go a great deal. I was reminded of this shortcoming today when I visited the London Design Museum. There are some great designs and designers on this earth, but apparently we need to stick to old-thinking style layouts, with the accompanying drab and depressing colours. How about improving our workspace – I’m sure it would have a positive impact on happiness at work, and even a good effect on (conscious) patients and bystanders. Environmental perceptions shouldn’t be underestimated.
An interesting piece of ‘design’ was the Music Memory Box, designed to help dementia sufferers. The box is filled with objects and tunes that the individual has a strong emotional bond with; these ties are still present even with advanced dementia, and can provoke quite startling emotional outbursts. I can already picture a bunch of poor demented paramedics in a nursing home, with somebody having put the radio tones for a call in the Music Memory Box. The otherwise quite placid retiree would come out with a strong “Oh damn! Not another call, I wanted to eat my lunch!”.
I’ll leave you to ponder with a picture and a quote from a sculpture outside the Design Museum:
Though human genius in its various inventions with various instruments may answer the same end, it will never find an invention more beautiful or more simple or direct than nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous.
Leonardo da Vinci.
Further reading & Links:
Ambulance Visibility: ambulancevisibility.com
Ambulanzmobile: Delfis Ambulance Design: http://www.ambulanzmobile.eu/brand/en/models/emergency-ambulances/delfis.html
Design Council: Making Ambualnces that don’t kill people: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/publications/design-council-magazine-issue-3/making-over-the-ambulance/
London Design Museum: http://designmuseum.org
Transport Design of the Year 2012: Redesign of the Emergency Ambulance: http://www.designsoftheyear.com/tag/redesign-for-the-emergency-ambulance/
Music Memory Box: http://www.watershed.co.uk/ished/projects/music-memory-box/