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.


manchmedic said...

Yup. It sucked. No doubt about that, my friend. Thank you (and J) for all your help on that one.....

Ellie said...

I liked reading both your version and manchmedics version. You guys should do that more often. I think you two are the only bloggers still up there.