21 May 2009

Ambulance.....OF DOOM!!

Edited 5/21: I try and de-identify calls as much as possible, but I'm not sure I did a good enough job the first time, so I've trimmed this one down a bit...

I've come to believe that bad calls don't just stick to individual EMTs, but to trucks too. Lately, my truck has become the ambulance OF DOOM. If this truck shows up, you are in deep trouble. Rollover accident ends up with C-spine fracture. Gunshot to the head ends up as not quite dead yet with EMTs trying to save your life. Chest pain ends up being something serious, heart attack, broken ribs with lung laceration. Difficulty breathing ends up with an intubated patient (or two). Thankfully, not all of these are my calls, but enough that I'm probably on a downhill slide for crappy calls too.

The latest fun was an overdose dispatch which actually said multiple patients were involved, and they still only dispatched 1 ambulance and 1 engine. We brought the stretcher, O2 and first-in bag up with us to the fourth floor, FD brought their oxygen. A cardiac arrest and an unresponsive patient in a tiny bedroom where most available area is taken up by the bed and dresser. Everyone in sight denying drug use, everyone having mysterious matching puncture wounds in their arms. Nobody brought up a defibrillator or cardiac monitor and no first-line cardiac arrest drugs were available upstairs either, pretty much a worst case scenario for patient care.

After the giant hassle of getting the unresponsive patient out of the room, I head out with the paramedic from the second ambulance (because the unresponsive patient was mine) and leave the second EMT with my partner. Stretcher doesn't fit in the elevator, so we have to stand the backboard up and I take a second elevator with the stretcher and meet up downstairs. We head to the more distant hospital, my partner heads to the closer hospital in town.

Cardiac arrest patient died. Unresponsive patient woke up with some Narcan. Nobody was willing to discuss what had caused the mysterious wounds and PD is following up.

17 May 2009


Dear Brain,

I would like to place a request for improved coordination between the eyes and the hands. Softball is not an especially dangerous sport, but when the hands and eyes don't work well together, other body parts suffer. Obviously, the feet and legs are listening well as they moved directly into the path of the oncoming ball, but somehow the glove just didn't get there. I don't appreciate this large painful bruise, despite all the lovely colors it adds to the normally pasty white area.

Left Thigh

11 May 2009

More boring waiting

Even now that I'm finally admitted to school, I am still waiting. August can't come soon enough. I'm just trying to grit my teeth through May and June because I think there will be plenty to do throughout July to get ready/moved/relaxed. There are still some open-ended questions about how my housing situation will work out, thankfully it is a situation with a couple of workable options instead of one with no solution.

I'm also in the market for a laptop and I know just enough about computers to know that I don't really need a high-end machine but I don't want one that will be completely outdated for new software before I'm done with school. Financial aid includes a "computer allowance", but I'm not really planning to wait until the money from the guv'ment comes in to buy a new machine. I've never run any version of Vista, anybody got suggestions/short cuts/useful tips?

I'll try and think of something interesting to write about soon...

04 May 2009

Redeeming night

So many ambulance shifts consist of nonsense after idiocy after dumb-assery, every now and then one comes along which make me feel a little better about the job. Not that the individuals involved are any different than the usual suspects, just that they actually needed an ambulance.

This particular night started with a lift assist for an older gentleman who was stuck between his rocking chair and dining table. His family had been unable to help him up, but we were able to get him situated and on with his evening. Next call was for an unresponsive person on the sidewalk, turned out to be someone we've picked up before, alcohol and unknown medication overdose. He woke up a little on the way and we liberated two fifths of vodka from him. Always good fun when the crowd is catcalling both us and the patient as we're trying to get him off the street. Next call was pure stupidity, the eventual solution was that the woman needed more instruction with her crutches and a more explicit explanation that a "fractured" foot meant it was probably going to develop bruises in a couple of days.

Then the fun starts, dispatch for a roll-over accident on the highway. Car is on it's driver's side, patient halfway out the window with her neck and shoulder supporting her weight and screaming loudly about her neck pain. After more than 25 minutes of playing with their toys, the fire department was able to get her out of the car and onto a backboard. (All I'm going to say is that to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail!) She had some periods of unconsciousness and when she was awake she was screaming and complaining. At the hospital, she got a quick dose of "be quiet" involving Haldol, Morphine and Ativan. She turned out to have a cervical spine fracture, a skull fracture and a lung contusion and got shipped out to a higher level facility pretty quickly.

Next dispatch is for a car in the median on the highway. The car was found by another group driving by, no information on how fast it was going, or even which way it had been going on the highway. When we get there, the patient is laying outside the car on the ground, unresponsive, each eye twitching a different direction. A quick transport to the hospital and she earns a helicopter trip to a trauma center in the big city. All in all, a night where 80% of the calls were legitimate and I feel like did something useful.