Epiphany and Serendipity

//Epiphany and Serendipity

Epiphany and Serendipity

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A few times in your life, you have moments in which things come into utter clarity and you know you cannot go back to the place you were before.  I had two of them about a year ago and I have been reflecting on publishing this for almost a year now.  It is time.  The first moment of clarity was an epiphany, the second serendipity.

The first moment of clarity came after reading Don Berwick’s 2011 Institute for Health Care Improvement National Forum Keynote.  Berwick talks about the Moral Test – two questions which prove the litmus test that any clinician should base all decisions and actions on.  Every effort should be to “help patients” and “help people to help patients”.  The two principles are simple yet all encompassing.  All other actions are wasted effort when it comes to health care.   I reflect on 22 years as a paramedic and educator and had the epiphany I have wasted much effort due to hubris and not seeing the right path clearly.  From now on, I will ask these two questions to guide all further actions

Then, serendipidity hit when I was working with my blog partner Mike on a patient safety campaign called #saferairways.  This campaign came into being because of an moral imperative I felt to make sure that I do everything I can to prevent patient harm by engaging and educating clinicians to make airway management safer (really, I was focussed on principles 1 and 2 of the Moral Test).  We were filming a segment at Nitobe Gardens with a focus in Airway Haiku, when I saw a statue of Rabindranath Tagore.

The inscription on it says

“I do not put my faith in institutions, but in individuals all over the world who think clearly, feel nobly and act rightly.  They are the channel of moral truth.”  

I did not take this as an anti-institutional statement, but one that puts faith in individuals and the moral truth they hold as self-evident.  Institutions are governed by factors that are sometimes not aligned with Berwick’s Moral Test because they cannot be due to their very nature – RFPs, budgets, other organization focuses, demands of outside agencies, etc.  Advancedparamedicine.ca came about through speaking those truths and providing the resources to find the truths that I, and so many others, know are self-evident or discoverable through hard work.  Mike and I will post the things we think will embody principles of best paramedic care and will invite all to engage in discussions around paramedicine.  We will also look at cutting edge technology to help paramedics give better patient care.   Our mission is to find the ultimate solutions to problems paramedics face, nor will we be swayed from the moral truths and the right solutions because some in influential positions may regale against the truth that Mike and I have come to understand in developing this blogsite and discussions around solving the problems paramedics face.

We hope to be the leaders to help people to see the right way – provide resources for paramedics to help patients and provide resources such as educational, operational, or technological to those that help to help paramedics.   We invite you to not only come and take what you have done, but also to make submissions for consideration to what you think is relevant.  In the end, this is all about dialogue about how to help patients, and how to help people help patients.


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Gene Benoit, CCP is a Critical Care Flight Paramedic and Clinical Educator from Vancouver, British Columbia.

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By |2017-05-20T23:03:42+00:00May 14th, 2017|0 Comments

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