Sunday, June 28, 2015


My time at smaccUS is done. I flew home yesterday. Spent the day working today.

I've been to a LOT of EMS-focused conferences. I've never had more fun than I did in Chicago this week. The social network aspect was amazing, and I made a BUNCH of new friends. I had a fantastic time, and I've already booked my room for SMACC in Dublin next year. I would encourage all who are on the fence to come and join me in Dublin in June 2016.

Yesterday, I spent the day playing tourist. I saw the Field museum (which I hadn't seen during my previous visit to town). Yes, I'm a nerd, and I really enjoyed the exhibits. Even got a T-Rex Selfie!

One of the funniest moments was when I tweeted I was on the plane headed home. Several folks pointed out that my first name was spelled wrong on my name badge. My response? I didn't really care - they got my Twitter handle correct, that was the most important!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

smaccUS - Day 3

Day 3: The Last day.

Again, too many talks to sum up each one, and so many good talks going on at the same time. I can't wait for all the podcasts to come out so that I can catch up.

The most interesting lecture for me was Haney Mallemat's (@CriticalCareNow) discussion on fatigue and sleep schedules. It was discussed that commercial truck drivers have FAR greater restrcitions on their work hours than EMS providers do, yet us medics drive emergency vehicles, with greater risks than a long-haul trucker.

Of course, Simon Carley (@EMManchester) talked of Dunning-Kruger, and gave me an opportinity to insert one of my favorite memes into the #smaccUS discussion.


The afternoon continued with a musical interlude - Cups song and a Frozen parody. Can't find the video, but I'm sure it exists.

At the end, the SMACCFinale was amazing. Set up as a game of Family Feud, with 70's era costumes. I've never seen two teams more intent on NOT winning a game, though. And there was this bombshell from the folks behind the conference:

Finally, there was a last shot of the #EMSWolfpack roll call. I put the hashtag up on the board to see if anyone noticed. Notice it they did. 22 folks claimed membership in the group on the board, and I think a few more were around.

Friday, June 26, 2015

smaccUS - Day 2

Alright. Day 2 at SMACC, and I'm starting to get the hang of it. LOTS of folks who are HUGE in the FOAM scene, and many are VERY cool about it. This phenomenon, of course, has a hashtag (#smaccSquee) I got to talk with John Hinds and Mark Wilson after a session this afternoon, and both seemed genuinely interested in interacting with us mere mortals. J.

Like yesterday, I'll do my 3 big takeaways:

  1. Impact Brain Apnea is a thing. While I'd never heard the term before, I've surely heard the phenomenon described. now, perhaps, I'll not write it off as simple bystander hysteria.
  2. Some EM docs, even from "GREAT" hosptials, still don't understand what EMS is, what EMS does, and what tools we actually have. That was midly depressing, BUT quite a few EM docs in the room took to Twitter to defend "us", so things aren't really that bad.
  3. Ultrasound looks REALLY REALLY cool, and I REALLY need to learn how to use it, because it's clearly the future of medicine, especially in the emergent environment.

The conference closed for the day with SonoWars, a combination of education and contests for folks who know about ultrasound. As much as I KNOW I know nothing about ultrasound, I still found it VERY interesting. It's fairly clear that ultrasound technology is only going to become more portable and less expensive, and will likely continue to be embraced as a prehospital diagnostic tool.

Like many things at SMACC, there was a song:

SMACC 2016 has been announced as Dublin, Ireland. There are so many variables at play, but I'm going. This has been so much fun that I can't imagine sitting on the sidelines and just watching next year. Come join me! There's already been talk of the #EMSWolfpack doing an AirBNB share or similar, recognizing we are all poor medics, and if we save money in housing, it gives us more money to play tourist.

After the conference proper, there was a gala dinner on Navy Pier. Live band, food, alcohol, and lots of SMACC-Talk made for a fun time. A highlight of the evening was seeing my old mentor "Sparky" (@EMBasic) and how much a part of FOAMed he is, specifically with the EMBasic blog and podcast. A bunch of the "#EMSWolfpack"crew ended up hanging out outside by the Blues Brothers car. Of course, I wasn't there, but after meeting up with a few others, we met Henrick from Sweden, who's a nurse anesthetist that works in EMS. We had a short discussion on nurse-based EMS vs. medic-based EMS, and decided that we pretty much do the same thing J.

Anyway - Today is the 3rd and final day. Please follow the hashtags and partcipate at least a bit. Once this is over, much of the material will be condensed into podcasts and other forms of FOAM.

Previous Coverage:
smaccUS Day 0
smaccUS Day 1

Thursday, June 25, 2015

smaccUS - Day 1

Yesterday was an absolute BLAST in Chicago for SMACC US. Literally, a blast - the show opened with a confetti cannon!

For those who don't know - SMACC stands for Social Media and Critical Care. It's a conference put on by folks who are very active in the FOAM (Free and Open Access Meducation) movement. They blog, they podcast, and they present at conferences. The conference style is something I've never seen before - mostly panel presentations, with various speakers stepping forward to do a brief (15-25 minute) talk on a very focused topic. It's something akin to TedTalks for FOAM. All questions are asked via Twitter to a designated Twitter Moderator, and the lecture halls are FULL of folks who are listening while using electronic devices to tweet and comment about the topic being discussed.

The day was full of educating moments. My top 3?

  1. John Hinds talking about the fallout of a resuscitative thoracotomy outside of a trauma bay  (inspiring the hashtag #ResusWankers). 
  2. Scott Weingart presenting a fairly compelling argument against protocol-driven trauma resuscitation, and in reality ALL resuscitation/emergent medicine
  3. Amal Mattu presenting a humor-filled talk on how working in Emergency Medicine is tied very strongly to the Princess Bride. (Inconciveable!) 

The biggest thing, though, wasn't the lectures. It was the attitude. When talking to folks while waiting in line, or over lunch, it became clear that no one viewed me as "just" a paramedic. In fact, I was simply viewed as another confernece attendees. Among other things, the confernece name badges don't have titles or post-nominal initials, at all, and that is FANTASTIC. You know what they do have? Twitter handles!

Anyway - Continue to follow #smaccUS and #EMSwolfpack for conference events as they happen, and I'll post about day II on Thursday morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

smaccUS - Day 0

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of preparation and working extra shifts so that I could afford to spend this coming week in Chicago for SMACC:Chicago/SMACC:US (#smaccUS) - SMACC stands for Social Media and Critical Care. It's a combination of bloggers/podcasters/twitterers who have put on an annual conference in Australia, with a focus on Emergency Medicine/Critical Care. Best part? They open their doors to folks who aren't attending physicians - residents, interns, nurses, social workers, and even paramedics!

Anyway - I flew into Chicago on Tuesday, got checked into my hotel, and then met up with some folks I knew from Twitter to have dinner/drinks with the #EMSwolfpack: Apparently it's a thing. As best I can tell, it was started by a couple of Aussies (@jrparamed, @paramedickiwi, @paramedic_al, and @KablammoNick)

Not only was it "a thing" - It was an amazing tweetup with great international connections made. There were Aussies, Canadians, Americans, and I think even a couple of folks from New Zealand).

In short, a bunch of folks who had never met each other had an evening chatting like we'd known each other for years. We compared protocols and scopes of practice, we swapped a few war stories, and we complained about the same things all medics do. And we had 50+ prehosptial practitioners get to know each other.

Anyway - As the conference continues, watch the #smaccUS and #EMSwolfpack hashtags for plenty of ongoing entertainment.