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

- Rogue Medic

Why Do We Treat Some Frauds Differently?


Sylvia Browne is receiving some deservedly bad press for the exposure of her psychic deception.

In 2004, the year following the then 16-year-old schoolgirl’s disappearance, Browne appeared on “The Montel Williams” show and told Berry’s distraught mother Louwana Miller – who died from heart failure a year later – that her daughter was “in heaven and on the other side” and that her last words were “goodbye, mom, I love you.”[1]


Should anyone be surprised?

But where’s the harm?

Psychics make their living by exploiting our selective memories.

We remember the hits, but forget the misses.

If I throw out as many guesses as I can, some of them are bound to be right.

Should I tell you I have the ability to see the future, or communicate with the dead?

This is not a psychic power.

This is deceit.


Jeffrey Skilling is trying to get a sentence reduction for his part in the disaster that was Enron. Fraud? Mismanagement? The Secret?


He spoke haltingly, stopping in mid-sentence. “In terms of remorse, Your Honor, I can’t imagine more remorse,” he said. He had “friends who have died, good men.” He was innocent—”innocent of every one of these charges.” He spoke for two or three minutes and sat down.[2]


Malcolm Gladwell provides a good argument that what Jeffrey Skilling did was not an intentional fraud. It was complicated. It was not hidden. Maybe Skilling was a more of a true believer than a fraud.

He apparently believed that the problem was that the employees were not willing to do what was necessary to make the company grow at an unsustainable pace. He should be able to demand results and it is their fault if they cannot deliver. Why let reality get in the way of a perfectly good plan?

The Enron financial statements were examined two years before the peak using the information that was available at the time.

The students’ conclusions were straightforward. Enron was pursuing a far riskier strategy than its competitors. There were clear signs that “Enron may be manipulating its earnings.” The stock was then at forty-eight —at its peak, two years later, it was almost double that—but the students found it over-valued. The report was posted on the Web site of the Cornell University business school, where it has been, ever since, for anyone who cared to read twenty-three pages of analysis. The students’ recommendation was on the first page, in boldfaced type: “Sell.”[2]


We don’t want to know the truth. If you had shorted Enron at the time, you probably would have lost a lot of money and had to cover your losses before Enron dropped to its actual value – less than nothing. Enron’s debts were much greater than its assets.

Psychics depend on this gullibility, too.

This is beyond your understanding.

It is arrogant to question what I am doing.

John Edward also scam the bereived and he had the backing of America’s favorite scam promoter – Dr. Mehmet Oz.

In a letter to producers of “The Dr. Oz” show Nordal said, “I provided very balanced responses to Dr. Oz’s questions during the show’s taping, however, the editing of my responses did not capture my full comments or give viewers an accurate portrayal of my professional view on John Edward’s methods. Instead, it seems that ‘The Doctor Oz’ show intentionally edited my responses in a way that gave the appearance of my endorsement of Edward’s methods as a legitimate intervention.”[3]


Dr. Oz is as bad as John Edward and Sylvia Browne. He is promoting stuff that a child should realize is nonsense.[4]

People trust him, even though he promotes frauds.

How is Sylvia Browne any better than Jeffrey Skilling?

How is John Edward any better than Jeffrey Skilling?

How is Dr. Mehmet Oz any better than Jeffrey Skilling?

The Pigasus Award for Refusal to Face Reality goes to Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Harvard-trained cardiologist who hosts The Dr. Oz Show on broadcast television, one of the most popular syndicated television shows in America. The only person to have won a Pigasus Award two years in a row, he wins a third time this year for his continued promotion of quack medical practices, paranormal belief and pseudoscience, including pseudoscientific Reparative Therapy to “cure” gay people, the “energy-healing practice” of Reiki as a way to cure disease, various TV psychics and mediums such as Theresa Caputo and John Edward, faith healers such as “John of God,” GMO conspiracy theories, and any number of new quack diets, herbal remedies, anti-aging cures, and untested “wonder drugs,” among many other pseudoscientific and paranormal claims.[5]


Harry Houdini is reported to have stated –

It is not for us to prove the mediums are dishonest, it is for them to prove that they are honest.

Houdini spent years exposing the fraudulent methods of the psychics of his day.

We still believe in magic.

The reason we seem to treat this fraud as something other than fraud is that we act like we know what is best for the people we know who are gullible.

We assist in the fraud.

We lie to people to make us feel that we are helping their grief.


[1] Celebrity psychic Sylvia Browne hit for telling mom of Amanda Berry she was dead
By Hollie McKay
Published May 09, 2013

[2] Open Secrets Enron, intelligence, and the perils of too much information.
The New Yorker
January 8, 2007
Malcolm Gladwell

[3] TV Skeptic: The medium and Oz
March 18, 2011 | 2:05 pm
LA Times

[4] The trouble with Dr. Oz
David Gorski
Science-Based Medicine
April 26, 2011

[5] JREF’s Pigasus Awards “Honors” Dubious Peddlers of “Woo” (VIDEO)
Latest JREF News
James Randi Educational Foundation
Article with video


Comment on A Response to Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire

In the comments to A Response to Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire, which was in response to a post at EMS Outside Agitator, is the following from russ reina


Just want to make it clear that I used your original post as a springboard to take a look at the overall situation. I had no intention of challenging you on what you were saying; just reflecting on it.

When dealing with topics of what we should feel when dealing with death, and how we should deal with death, responses can be more emotional, than rational.

Your statement; “Again, I never stated any such thing.” leads me to believe you felt challenged or misunderstood. This, also, made me a little concerned; “In other words, if I do not demonstrate that compassion in this one post, I never do.” In no way did I say that you did not show compassion in this post. Quite the opposite. Just for emphasis, this was in my post as well::

Let me be clear, I’m not ragging on Rogue. I’d much prefer to honor him. First for the fact that he was willing to exhibit some of his own vulnerabilities and second for making it easy to reflect on what I’m about to say when he continues….

I apologize for the misunderstanding.

How do we get them to understand? (referring to our loved ones at home)

If we do get them to understand, how can we ever apologize for bringing that pain into their lives?

Why would we want to bring that kind of pain into the lives of those we love?

I’m not being facetious here but can you feel Rogue’s pain? He identifies having THAT kind of pain as something that inflicts pain on those he loves.

What if…

What if we in EMS took each other seriously first? What if we made space for our peers to WORK THROUGH some of the emotions of being a human being? Do you think, having helped each other take the edge off — because NO ONE DOES understand this territory better than us — we could possibly take home impressions that we could share with our loved ones as an act of love!

We don’t do a very good job of helping ourselves. We do such a poor job, that we have come up with a merit badge course to attempt to address our response to grief/horror/pain/things we don’t cope with well.

The CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) approach is seen as something to be imposed on us, for our own good.

Any time someone tells us that something is for our own good, we should be very suspicious.

Is this approach any more effective than telling someone to just snap out of it?

Probably not.[1]

It does seem to satisfy those who feel that there needs to be a standardized process for everything and that we cannot help ourselves or our coworkers without a process.

I hope you see this was NOT about you; though you accurately portray some of the dilemmas faced by those in EMS. It was about how we, in EMS choose to share our experiences, with whom and how.

Not about me?

You mock my narcissism!


As an afterthought, I was not criticizing your paying attention to the mechanics of putting out fires with a fire extinguisher. I was observing that that’s what most of us do; give mention of our internal experiences and then get right back to work.

I just wonder if there aren’t other ways, as well.

There are always other ways, but at some point we do need to get back to work. Getting back to work also helps us to deal with the grief/horror/pain/things we don’t cope with well.

I try to find ways to make things better by looking at the ways that we make things worse. If we can avoid making things worse, we can be much better off for ourselves, for our families, and for our patients.


[1] Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM): Benefit or Risk for Emergency Services.
Bledsoe BE.
Prehosp Emerg Care. 2003 Apr-Jun;7(2):272-9. Review.
PMID: 12710792 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text PDF from Dr. Bledsoe’s website http://www.bryanbledsoe.com/


Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire

Anybody who doesn’t think this is going to be one of the worst days of the lives of everyone involved does not understand.

First. Not knowing anything more than what is in the headline, don’t be surprised if the number of dead increases. The original title of the article was, One Dead, Seven Rescued In Houston Daycare Fire. These stories are not the kind that get better with time. Burns and pain and little kids do not make for good memories.

Reading the article, there are several things that grab my attention.

HFD Executive Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan said CPR was being performed on four of the children as they were being taken to a hospital. The ages of the children range from 18 months to 3 years.[1]

People will talk about CISM/CISD and other forms of coping attempting to cope, but they do not work any* better than just talking this out with coworkers and/or family.[2] My home family is different from my work family.

I could never talk about these things with family members that do not have patient care experience.

How do we get them to understand?

If we do get them to understand, how can we ever apologize for bringing that pain into their lives?

Why would we want to bring that kind of pain into the lives of those we love?

Sandy Sawyer, who has lived in the neighborhood for five years, said she saw firefighters rushing children to ambulances.

“I saw them running down the street holding babies, running, because there wasn’t enough room for the emergency vehicles to get through,” Sawyer said.[1]

The more people are screaming about things being out of control, the more we need to slow down and remain in control.

When we pull up to the scene, do we park so that others will be able to get by?

The police are in charge of traffic, but that does not mean that the police cannot be the biggest problem in obstructing traffic. Parking a short walk from the scene to allow fire trucks to get in is going to make everyone’s life easier and might make some lives longer.

EMS is supposed to transport people from the fire, but the same rule applies as for police. We do not need to drive up to the front door. Stretchers have wheels and small children are very light. We need to park where we will be able to get out of the scene when it is time to leave.

Fire truck do need to get close enough to put water/foam in the places necessary to put out the fire, but that does not mean that they should not park in a way to allow other vehicles as much room to get around them as possible.

This is not New York City on September 11, 2001. We do need to work together. None of us are unimportant.

Five of the children were trapped inside the facility and were rescued by Houston firefighters, while the other two children were found outside the home.[1]

Thank you.

A year ago today, the operation, registered as a “child-care home,” was cited by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Child Care Licensing division for not having a fire extinguisher on hand.

She later corrected the problems, according to Gwen Carter, a DFPS spokeswoman.[1]

Fire extinguishers are important, but much more important is knowing how to use one and using it appropriately.

A fire extinguisher is a tool and tools are only useful when used appropriately.

Would that have made a difference?

I don’t know if the fire extinguisher was used. I don’t know anything about the fire.

I do know that aggressive use of a fire extinguisher before a fire spreads can be the difference between apologizing to the fire department for calling them to a fire that is already out and losing everything.

There is no substitute for actually using a fire extinguisher. It is worth the cost of having to replace an extinguisher.


The things described in the video should all be known before hand if you are at home. If you are not, slow down, take a breath, check the type of extinguisher, et cetera.

How not to put out a fire. Point the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire has never felt right to me. Aim below the fire, but not straight at the fire, works better for me.


With the video below, because the fire is in a very light container, aiming below the fire will only cause it to tip over and spread, so think about where to aim, what you are aiming at, and how far away to stand.



[1] Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire (Videos) – CPR was being performed on four of the children as they were being taken to a hospital.

[2] Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM): Benefit or Risk for Emergency Services.
Bledsoe BE.
Prehosp Emerg Care. 2003 Apr-Jun;7(2):272-9. Review.
PMID: 12710792 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text PDF from Dr. Bledsoe’s website http://www.bryanbledsoe.com/

* Corrected from and to any as pointed out by russ reina of EMS Outside Agitator.


Dealing with Grief

In the comments to On the Clock: Dead, there are some great thoughts, but one is an idea that many people ignore. ERP, of ER Stories, points out:

I remember when I first was able to just put this sadness out of my mind and get back to work. I was an intern and have to say, it was pretty weird. Strange how you can just adapt to these feelings and push them aside in order to be functional.

A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I was experiencing a bit of grief. Not the first time. Won’t be the last time. I was just driving along, and not at all crying, because I am much too manly for that. Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, when all of a sudden these two cars collide in front of me.
A K-car full of little old ladies, apparently driven by one with poor depth perception, turned in front of me. I, being an experienced driver, used the middle pedal to decelerate quickly and avoid pointing out this driving flaw. The driver of the minivan next to me was less tactful. Sumdood was not driving. The driver was a very distraught soccer mom.
One LOL received some serious head trauma. The others did not appear to have any serious injuries, but did have exacerbations of underlying medical conditions. Particularly the driver with chest pain. I was off duty, but did what I could to help. Eventually, about 40 minutes after the collision, the head injured passenger was transported by helicopter. We were only about 10 minutes from a trauma center, but the medic needed to follow all of the protocols that might be relevant. 
The patient also had her chest decompressed – after the medic spent over 5 minutes off scene on the phone with medical command for permission to perform something that I doubt she needed. Of course permission was granted. It is the stuff that might actually help the patient that is turned down. I wasn’t involved in her care at that point, since I don’t know what her vital signs were, but the EMT bagging her did not seem to be experiencing difficulty and the patient did seem to tolerate the delay. 10 minutes from the trauma center and extrication of less than 5 minutes, but a scene time of close to 40 minutes (the medic was not there at the time of the crash). EMS at its finest.
Well, after the medic transferred care of the head injured patient to the helicopter crew, he was getting ready to leave. I asked him what he intended to do about the driver with chest pain, the passenger feeling weak, and the other passenger with arm pain. He seemed to blame me for his lack of awareness of the other patients in the car, even though I had updated him on them earlier. He called for more ambulances and suggested that I not make his day any more pleasant.
I gave my information to the police, in case they needed anything for their report. I returned to my vehicle and considered the question that kept returning to Leonard in Memento

Now… where was I?

Well, as I mentioned, I was just driving along, and not at all crying, because I am much too manly for that. Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, . . . . Pleased to be moving to a different state. Maybe EMS is not the same everywhere.
It is pretty amazing how easily we can put aside grief in order to do what needs to be done. The grief isn’t gone. Grief doesn’t ever seem to completely go away, just to diminish with time. Maybe it is replaced with more painful grief. Maybe it is overshadowed by joy. Maybe it just begins to fade. It does not control our lives, even though it may seem to. It sure does interfere with our lives, but we do not give up control to the grief or we would not be able to function in times like this.