Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

The Art of Critical Thinking at The EMS Roundtable


Last night I called in to the EMS Roundtable because the topic was one of the most important in EMS – critical thinking.[1]

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.[2]


More simply, in EMS critical thinking is how we make good decisions based on the limited information available in the emergency setting.

In EMS we definitely can be too safe.

Not applying a tourniquet, because What if the tourniquet causes a problem?

That is being too safe.

Not giving large doses of NTG to a hypertensive CHF patient, because What if the NTG causes the pressure to bottom?

That is being too safe.

Strapping someone to a backboard with straps and a collar, Just to be safe.

How is that not being too safe?

Where is there any evidence that spinal immobilization is safe?

Not sedating (or not adequately sedating) an excited delirium patient, because What if he stops hyperventilating?

That is being too safe.

These are some of the things that need to be considered when we engage in critical thinking.

Go listen to the podcast.

Show Notes:

Guest Dan Limmer: http://limmercreative.com

Live Call-in Tim Noonan: http://roguemedic.com

Chat Room:

Jim Hoffman: http://emsofficehours.com

Tom Bouthillet: http://EMS12Lead.com


Go listen to the podcast.


[1] The Art of Critical Thinking
The EMS Roundtable
Wed, April 24, 2013 07:00 pm
Podcast page.

[2] Defining Critical Thinking
Web page



  1. Pinky’s reply didn’t have anything to do with pants!