Be they paramedics or EMTs.
Look, I'm an ED nurse. I know how to handle all sorts of medical emergencies--in an ER, with all sorts of equipment and medicines and supplies that I'm familiar with. I'm not going to tell paramedics how to respond to an emergency on the street! I have no idea what their protocols are.
A while ago I was on the phone in my apartment when I heard a sound like a garbage can being dragged on cement. I looked out the window and saw a mini-schoolbus in the middle of the intersection. Uh-oh. I hung up the phone and ran downstairs. A minivan had crashed into the corner of our building, and the schoolbus (with no children on board), which had a dented front end, was sitting in the intersection a few feet away. People were standing around, looking. I yelled, "Has anyone called 911?" Someone had. So I went over to the minivan to see what was going on.
A man was in the front seat, bleeding profusely from his head. He was wearing his seatbelt, but he had no airbags. "Sir, are you all right? Tell me your name! Sir, can you answer me?" He moaned, and opened his eyes.
"What happened to me? What...?" His eyes were rolling around in his head, and his hands were shaking. Blood was dripping down his face and onto his lap. I briefly debated running upstairs for some towels or something, and then I saw one of the local Hatzolah volunteers pulling a kit out of his car. He handed me gloves and some bandages, and told me he was going to check on the people in the schoolbus.
As I bandaged the man's head, he suddenly became unresponsive. I felt a fast, thready pulse in his wrist and at his throat, and immediately though, oh shit. I have never felt more helpless in my life. If we were in my hospital, I would know what to do. But out here on the street? Are you kidding me? "SIR! SIR, can you open your eyes?!" I yelled. His skin was cold and clammy.
A bystander came by and said, "We have to get him out of there," and started trying to pull the door open and undo the seatbelt. I said, "NO! He needs a board and collar! We can't pull him out of there until EMS shows up." He was still breathing, and had a pulse, although it wasn't great, so I didn't feel like we had to drag him out and start CPR. The bystander was pushing me out of the way to get the guy out of the car. I asked him if he was a medical professional and he said, "I know CPR!! He needs to come out of there!!"
Thank goodness an ambulance showed up, and double thank goodness: it was paramedics I knew from work. I told them what had happened and in two seconds they had him out and on a board and in a collar--all while supporting his c-spine. They did it a lot faster and easier than I could have with the help of some CPR-knowing bystander. The CPR dude followed them to the ambulance, saying, "You gotta get going now! This guy is in trouble" (uh duh) and "Where you taking him? He needs TRAUMA!! Are you gonna give him oxygen? Need any help?"
Holy crap. I'm sure this guy meant well, but dude! STEP BACK and let them work! Even I know when I'm out of my element.