12 January 2008


EMS routinely puts patients on long spinal immobilization boards to prevent further spinal injury. And when we do, the goal is complete immobilization, no movement at all. Which is great, until they need to vomit.

Standard protocol for people vomiting when immobilized is to roll them on their side. But once you've secured the backboard to the stretcher, there isn't enough slack in the seat belts to easily roll the patient. If you're in the ambulance, you can reach over and open the belts and roll the board. But if you're walking the stretcher into the hospital room and then the patient starts to vomit, you aren't really in a good position to loosen everything. And if you're at the head of the stretcher, you are in the wrong spot.

Speaking from experience, this results in a vomit-covered EMT. The only entertaining part was that this guy had such force to his vomit that it was everywhere. I guess in the end it was good that I was the one covered in the vomit because I was the only one not dry-heaving or actually vomiting at the sight/smell. Glad I could be of service.

p.s. my camera just came back, good as new, so the pics of the kitchen are better now.


make mine trauma said...

Vomit is one of the things I don't cope with well. Personally, I refuse to vomit! (As if I really have a choice to override my body's decision should the need arise).
Definitely a downside to your job.

manchmedic said...

It's especially bad when the product of the act of vomiting is blood. Copious amounts is really bad, especially when you are the target. Happened to me in G-Town this past

Ellie said...