First steps

I e-mailed an EMS instructor from a local college with my question (about whether a type 1 diabetic could be a paramedic) and he actually got back to me very quickly. I'm going to post his response here, just in case anyone else might be wondering.

"To my knowledge there are no state regulatory rules against or limiting a person to become an EMT or paramedic if they have any type of illness. As long as you have a driver's license and can pass the courses and exams, you can work in EMS.

The EMT/Paramedic must be able to deal with adverse and often dangerous situations which include responding to calls in districts known to have high crime and mortality rates. Self-confidence is critical, as is a desire to work with people, solid emotional stability, a tolerance for high stress, and the ability to meet the physical, intellectual, and cognitive requirements demanded by this position. Attention to detail can mean the difference between life and death.

There are some physical realities associated with the job.

Aptitudes required for work of this nature are good physical stamina, endurance, and body condition that would not be adversely affected by frequently having to walk, stand, lift, carry, and balance at times, in excess of 125 pounds. Motor coordination is necessary because over uneven terrain, the patients, the Paramedics, and other workers well being must not be jeopardized.

If you attend our program, you would need to successfully pass the agility test.

Many diabetics have been very successful in our profession. Our former program director and several of our preceptors are diabetics. They are all able to monitor and regulate their health to ensure readiness and ability. We've seen some students fail because their sugar levels were too unstable and it caused them to have insulin reactions when trying to help others.

I hope this helps. Good luck."

So good news so far!

My brother is a type I like myself and he went through the courses to become an EMT. There were no restrictions for him.

I never know, Tiki. I was always told that I couldn't be either because I was diabetic. I could MAYBE understand the paramedic part because of the driving, but...meh. I just hate being limited automatically just because of something I can't help, even if people don't have a clue how I manage it.

Congratulations on your first steps! Your diabetes cannot limit you here. What do you think about what he said about the work of a paramedic? Did you realize all the physical and emotional needs? You might want to make an appointment to discuss further with him what the program entails and more about the job. What do you think Cara?

You should be VERY PROUD of yourself for taking the first step!!!!!
You go girl!!!

Mari, I'm well aware of the challenges I'll have to face, both physical and emotional. I'm looking forward to them. In fact, I'm looking at another school that has a fire-medic program that would push me even more. It's not going to happen right away, I know that, but now I have something to work toward. I seem to function better when I have a legitimate, even challenging goal to work for. I know it's gonna be rough - heck, just losing some weight and getting in shape and strong is gonna be rough, but I'm up for it. The existence I've been living thus far has been no good. I need to do something other wise I'm going to lose it.

And thanks again for the responses. They are very encouraging.

Awesome and i have type 1 diabetes and start paramedic school tomorrow!!

Really proud of you Cara!!

I'm an EMT in Germany and have had no restrictions.
A year ago, we had some problems with the driver's licences for the bigger ambulances (diabetics weren't allowed to get the driver's licence for heavier vehicles), but these problems have been solved here now.