28 August 2007


0400 call for chest pain, not far from the station. It was a reasonably slow night, so we were actually sleeping, but less than 4 minutes to get there from dispatch. The door was answered by a woman with a tracheostomy who was still on the phone with 911. She leads us down a hallway to a man in bed. She points us to him then wakes him up.

Everybody catch that? We were called for chest pain and she had to wake the patient up. And no, this was not the "shake and shout", patient circling the drain kind of wake up, he was sleeping peacefully.

Upon seeing us, the man begins to get annoyed. "That crazy bitch called you? I'm fine and I don't know what her problem is." When asked why she called she responds, "His pancreas is acting up." What?!? First point, pancreas does not = chest pain. Second, do you have some sort of special diagnostic capabilities in this apartment?

Man adamantly refuses transport or even any sort of evaluation, tells us and her to go away and let him sleep. Woman tries to talk us into taking him with arm gestures and eye contact. We refuse to kidnap him, she apologizes for disturbing us.

1200 call from ambulance co. management about "that call last night." Sorting through calls in my head, I don't even notice this one as a call that might result in a phone call from management. He asks open-ended what happened on the call. I relate the above (minus the commentary, of course). He sounds intensely relieved and I finally ask why he wants to know, did something happen? His answer, "It is a long story, but at the end of it, she's dead and it is a little troubling to have an emergency call for chest pain where we didn't transport followed by a dead body at the same address." She's dead? But the "chest pain" wasn't even hers.

I follow up with the crew that ran the second call and it turns out that there was a friend of the woman's in the apartment when they arrived. The friend was there because the woman had been making suicidal statements the night before. Woman was found surrounded by empty narcotics bottles, vodka and tomato juice. Was the first call a cry for help? I think not since there were several times she was alone with us and could've said something, but still I feel a little bad that there wasn't something more we could've done for her.


Anonymous said...

In order to help, you have to know that it's needed

manchmedic said...

Not your fault, in my view - how did you know that there was something going on with the woman? You didn't.