Emergency Medical Services: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Published 2021-08-01
John Oliver explains how emergency medical services function in the U.S., why they can be so expensive, and what we can do to fix things.

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All Comments (21)
  • Fiat Lux
    A $3000 per ride ambulance, driven by a minimum wage slave without health insurance for himself is the perfect sad metaphor for the clusterfuck which is US health care. That's what you get if you promote greed and selfishness as a virtue while at the same time demonizing socialised medicine.
  • Some One
    The more I watch John Oliver, the less I understand his decision to become an US citizen xD
  • Mar10
    Former EMT here, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The attrition rate, wages, protocols, call volume, compliance, etc, etc, etc. It's a great way to get your foot in the door of the medical industry. But not at all to make a living. A Paramedic can go into nursing and get 10x more money. Many do. It's just crazy. I do miss it sometimes. Being in the shit, in the trenches. EMS deserves better. Lot's of good folks in EMS, kinda crazy, but down to earth.
  • John Averill
    At one point I wondered: why is it the police and fire department get decent/good funding but ems doesn't? Later on it dawned on me why. The police and fd are in place to protect assets, but ems protects people. America's priorities have always been to protect assets rather than human lives.
  • Cepheus Talks
    everyone: that sounds like an old cartoony ghost

    John Oliver: I'm about to end these people's childhoods
  • Magicwinguy
    "Now unfortunately under the Reagan administration" can be used to sum up the state of the entire country
  • SLASH91285
    Let me get this straight: EMS has to ask for donations and Police can buy tanks?
    Love the prioritisation.
  • As an EMT myself, thank you for this piece. More people need to be made aware about this.
  • Torrin Maag
    In Ontario, an ambulance costs 45$ "if medically necessary" and 240$ "if deemed medically unnecessary," and that fee is seen as too much.
  • Biffii
    As someone who lives in Scandinavia, each time i am listening to one of the many failings of the US, I am convinced it is a developing country.
  • Saffron Sugar
    I was a Paramedic in the U.K, I became a Paramedic in the U.S. I was so disillusioned that I did what many of the better Paramedics and EMTs did; I got off the road.
    As a Captain the money was not bad, but running 2 stations during 84 hour weeks for what a Nurse makes in a 40 hour week?

    It is very quick and easy for Paramedics to move into Nursing instead, or purely into EMS education. EMTs get paid more as hospital techs.

    America is oddly ignorant when it comes to healthcare. Many are against National Health and don't understand it at all; they basically refuse to try to understand it.
    Many Americas don't even know the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic and think we're all just "ambulance drivers". I don't feel hopeful for EMS in the US
  • shockvaluecola
    y'all remember that EMT last year who lost her job and got blasted all over the internet for also having an onlyfans because she needed to make ends meet? pepperidge farm remembers.
  • not a channel
    I'd really like to see a website with all the problems that have been pointed out by John Oliver's show and what's their current status: solved, in progress, still f'ed.
  • Jason Fuentz
    I'm an RN. I have worked throughout the pandemic. I get paid okay and have decent benefits. I am no hero. I am just someone doing their job. EMS workers...well they are true heroes. They save lives on a daily basis, in the worst of circumstances, with almost no resources. They see things most of us will never understand. Thank you!!!
  • Onesilike
    So glad I was born in “socialist” Canada. Not perfect, but at least I know I won’t be bankrupted when I get sick.
  • vision011000
    “It didn’t have to be this way. Under the Reagan administration...”

    Ah, fuck.
  • As an EMT in the US I’ve had patients literally break down in front of me because of the amount of stupidly high medical bills that they are about to receive. Healthcare in the US Is a fucking joke. Can’t even use insurance without the insurance companies bitching that they have to shell out any sort of money and then saddling the rest on you
  • Barbara Ludden
    I fainted in a Bar, when I came to an ambulance had been called. They kept trying to transport me, I was on an Island and I knew being transported would likely cost thousands. However all I had to tell them to get them to leave me alone was I have no money, no job and I own nothing! The scary thing is, they didn't stop trying to transport me until I said the words
    I own nothing! Very telling.
  • Nota Bene
    — "Socialism doesn't work!"
    — "But the Western European and Nordic countries are doing great with it."
    — "That's not real socialism! They're basically capitalist."
    — "Okay, let's adopt their policies then."
    — "No, that's socialism."
  • I've been an EMT for 15 years, 4 of that as an Army medic and I currently make around 34k a year (17/hr) It's a weekly struggle to make ends meet. I love my job but I'm leaving the field as soon as I'm done my college degree in Emergency Management (hopefully to work to FEMA).

    It's a shame. We cannot staff the trucks now because no one wants to do the job. The pay is terrible and it takes a toll on your body and mental health. We are literally struggling to fill shifts.