27 February 2008

Check out the counters

It took three guys three hours, but we have something that actually looks like a kitchen. K is planning on hooking up the sink tomorrow and then I believe the house will probably be struck by lightening or something because we will finally be back to a usable kitchen.

19 February 2008


Yesterday, despite being on a transfer truck, I ended up helping on a cardiac arrest. Our company has a bariatric stretcher with a hydraulic lift system (aka "fatty stretcher"), but in order to use it on an emergency call, you have to call back and have a transfer truck bring it to you. In this case, the call was for elbow pain due to a fall. So no great hurry, but the crew was going to need help to move the >500lb patient.

Patient heads out to us and we get him into the ambulance. My partner and I are heading back to our ambulance when the crew calls us back. Patient is having difficulty breathing. Then patient is not breathing and pulseless. The bariatric stretcher takes up nearly all available floor space when loaded into the ambulance and now there are 2 911 crew members, their student, and 2 transfer truck crew members trying to perform CPR and ACLS on this patient. Not an easy task.

Unfortunately, the patient didn't make it. This is the first call I've done where I met the patient while he was walking and talking and actually watched him die. I have to say it is a lot easier to work on a patient who was dead when you got there than a patient who dies in front of you.

Edited 21Feb: Thanks to Ellie for pointing out ManchMedic's post on this call. It was informative for me to read more of what happened before we got there. I was wondering why some things went down the way they did, and I tend to assume that medics make informed decisions and try not to "back-seat" "hind-sight" "monday-morning quarterback" on calls, so I don't always ask questions even though ManchMedic would be happy to answer them.

07 February 2008

Tired of being sick

Why does every cold have to turn into something miserable? I was feeling pretty darn good about not being sick lately, which was obviously the cue for the local virus to hop on board and change that. Lately, colds have been dropping down into respiratory infections for me, with a lovely hacking cough that won't quit. This one likes sinuses better. I spend all day feeling like someone is standing on my head. No matter how much snot I push out, the pressure doesn't stop. Decongestant won't touch it, somehow it is beyond the reach of mere pills. Stupid virus.

02 February 2008

Follow up

One of the frustrations in EMS is that you frequently don't know the end of the story. You drop your patients at the ER and that is the last you know about them. Since our city only has two hospitals, sometimes you can follow up on your patients a little more, and being the main transfer service means that sometimes you hear more from your colleagues.

So here's some updates on a few patients I've written about recently:
  • Patient our student revived was still alive in ICU 2 weeks later. Hospital did eventually find some family members so hopefully they were able to make good decisions for him.

  • The Asian and I were mulling whether a Catholic nun could disconnect her sister from life support without committing a mortal sin when we saw the patient's obituary in the paper. She died within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital. My best guess would be that nobody had to make a decision like that, the patient probably went into cardiac arrest again and this time they were able to honor her wishes for DNR.

  • Car accident patient who got us on the news had his legs put back together by orthopedics. Still some danger he might lose the worst one if infection sets in but a pretty darn good outcome for being crushed in a box truck.
I'm hoping that my string of bad luck has finally run out. I've had two 911 shifts in a row without a dead person or someone seriously circling the drain. My run of luck has been so bad that The Asian has more IOs with the new EZ-IO than anyone else in the company. He has seven and the next nearest medic has three. This streak started in September with a string of pediatric patients and has been all over the map since and I would not be sorry to work a bunch of drunks and psychiatric patients for a while.