Y’know, sometimes a question comes along that exposes your biases. I’m really, really glad you asked me this.
My initial instinct was to say no. There are a lot of tasks as a paramedic that require very specific motions that are sensitive to pressure: drawing medications, spreading the skin to start IVs. There’s strength required–we do a LOT of lifting, and you need to be able to “feel” that lift.
So my first thought was, “not in the field”. There are admin tasks (working in an EMS pharmacy, equipment coordinator, supervisor, dispatcher) that came to mind as being a good fit for someone with the disability you describe, but field work….?
(By the way, I know a number of medics with leg prostheses; these are relatively common and very easy to work with. I’m all in favor of disabled medics. I just didn’t think the job was physically doable with this kind of disability.)
Then I asked. I went into an EMS group and asked some people from all across the country. And the answers I got surprised me.
They were mostly along the lines of “oh totally, there’s one in Pittsburgh, she kicks ass” or “my old partner had a prosthetic forearm and hand, she could medic circles around the rest of her class”. One instructor said they had a student with just such a prosthesis, and wasn’t sure how to teach; the student said “just let me figure it out”, and by the end of the night they were doing very sensitive skills better than their classmates.
Because of that group I know of at least a half-dozen medics here in the US with forearm and hand prostheses.
So yes. You can totally have a character with one forearm, who works as a paramedic for a living.
Thanks again for sending this in. It broadened my worldview.
xoxo, Aunt Scripty
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