June 29th, 2007

Paramedic services in British Columbia, Canada

Place: Northern British Columbia, in a mid-sized city. Beyond that, location not specified.
Time: Now, more or less. Contemporary.
Searches Tried: Paramedic Canada, Paramedic "British Columbia" Canada, Paramedic "British Columbia" organizational structure, Paramedic FAQ Canada.

I'd like to know what it's like being a full-time paramedic in northern British Columbia. In a pinch, the experience of other paramedics will do, especially if said paramedic has moved around a lot and has experienced that most job sites are structured the same, and/or said paramedic is working in British Columbia. I would especially like to know the following:

1. What are the bosses of paramedics like? Do they sit behind desks, or do they go out to the field? What sort of things do they do? I'm imagining that they do personnel management, scheduling, and coordinating with hospitals, but if I'm wrong, please enlighten me.

2. British Columbia's paramedics are unionized, I know, but ... on what grounds can someone be suspended? Is it easy thing to do, or does it require a long paper trail? Can they be suspended without a specified reason? Could the long, long reason specified at the bottom of the entry be grounds for suspension*?

3. I know there are college courses you can take to become a paramedic, but is that necessary in British Columbia, or do you have to pass qualifying exams independent from the courses?

*Specific Situation: Paramedic and partner drive to a rural farmhouse. Partner is detained from going into the house due to difficulties with the vehicle (can't get it into the driveway; there's too much snow on the ground and doing so would destabilize the vehicle significantly). Paramedic goes inside, and finds a corpse.

Next thing he knows, the corpse is gone. His boss (who doesn't like him much), wants to get him suspended until he can figure this whole thing out. Obviously the guy didn't just make a corpse walk off in the middle of nowhere all by himself, and right under the nose of his partner no less. At the same time, though, he's the only one who was at the scene, as it were, so it's technically his fault, from a certain perspective.

Arm Injuries From Too Much Applied Force

Situation:
Your friend is climbing somewhere high above you - they weigh about the same as you; let's say 80kg; mostly muscle on both of you.  In order to not lose track of them because it's dark, they have a rope around their waist which you have (incredibly foolishly) wound around one of your wrists. 

Inevitably, your friend falls.  Hurtles straight down to where you are (approximately 25 feet) and then keeps falling for another 30 or so until the rope goes taut and hauls you off the ledge.  You manage to catch a handhold with your free hand and hang on (barely) ...but that's still a lot of weight that just wrenched at your wrist.

So my question is: how much damage would your arm (and possibly attached body) sustain from an 80kg person falling about 55 feet and then snapping taut on the rope?  Especially when all your weight and their weight is now being held by your free arm?

Search terms:
I can look under dislocations or broken bones in google, but I'm more looking for an estimate of injury under a certain situation, and the uh ...situation is kinda hard to find on the world wide web.  So I'm hoping for estimates here, because I'm not sure this is easy to answer ^^;; 

Setting:
Not particularly relevant.  It's in an abandoned New York sewer system in the dark, for curiosity's sake...

Thanks for any help offered! 

Treatment for schizophrenia in 1700s-1800s England

Story Background: I’m writing a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It’s going to take place in a made-up country but the setting is more or less based on 1700s-1800s England. What I really want to do is write a retelling that doesn’t involve talking animals or anything fantastical and make everything more realistic. Because of that, the character of the Mad Hatter will actually be suffering from a mental illness—schizophrenia, more specifically formal thought disorder. (I know the phrase “Mad as a hatter” is based on the mercury poisoning from dealing with making felt for the hats but for the purposes of the story, he needs to be suffering from something since before becoming a hatter.)

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Search results: I’ve tried using Google, Wikipedia, and even the Victorian London website in looking up schizophrenia and its treatment/medication/side effects but I haven’t found anything specific enough for my problem. (I realize that since this is taking place in a made-up country, I could just write what I already have in mind but I’d really like to get as close to realistic as possible, heh.)

Edit: Wow, thank you, everyone for all of your responses. It seems I might have to take a little bit of artistic license after all, but you've given me some great ideas for this part and other parts of the story, so thank you! :) (And feel free to keep commenting if you know anything else. *g*)

Growing up italian

I'm writting a short fic about a 'Italian family Sunday' that takes place around 1994 - 1997 in a borough of New York that's written in the words of a 9 year old girl.

I'd like to hear personal stories from anyone who grew up in a big Italian family.
What were some of the special meals that were fixed? Where did everyone spend their time? Outside on the sidewalk? In the living room? What were the conversations?

Searched:
-   Google & Yahoo:  "Growing up Italian"
( I recieved a old email forward that takes place 1940 - 1950 on repeated webpages)

Female suspects in Regency England

Scene: Early 1800s in England--aka, the Regency. Not fantasy.

Scenario: Carrie is from a fairly genteel family who married a baronet. In the course of my plot, she becomes accused of murder and with evidence heavy against her, she's going to be arrested. However, Carrie's recently discovered that she's pregnant and the police and the local magistrate handling the case know. This is where I'm a little stuck. From the little I've been able to find myself, women were sent to jail and hanged for their crimes--but if pregnant they often had a reprieve until the birth of the child. I've also heard that pregnant suspects may have even, if rich enough, been confined to house arrest instead of prison. But I can't find anything concrete. Am I right?

Edit: Thanks for the help everyone!