Monday, August 15, 2005

File Under

Today was a day about a poorly functioning EMS system. Here are the examples:

1) Sent for difficulty breathing. The fire department arrives thirty seconds before us and they all run into the house while we pull the stretcher. We get upstairs and there are three firemen all asking the patient different questions while one tries to take a blood pressure. I have a paramedic student with me, and we have a hard time getting in to the patient to even figure out what is going on, while the fire guys start giving us a disorganized stream of information. I feel like saying, "okay we are here, you guys can leave now. You're nice people, but you are in the way." One starts trying to put the patient on our monitor, another starts trying to put the man on oxygen, when it is not even clear he is having a hard time breathing. I end up just putting him on a stair chair and getting him down to the ambulance and in back where we can start the assessment from step one. It turns out the guy is in DTs and may have had a seizure. His girlfriend who called has dissappeared before I can really talk to her. It always happens when I go to this town, there are so many people on scene, you get thrown off, and miss your rhythm in just trying to get the patient out of the house. File Under: Why can't first responders leave when they are no longer needed?

2) We are sent to a mental health facility for an EDP(Emotionally Disturbed Person). We are led down a hall where outside the "Quiet Room" we find 17 staff members standing around, at least eight of them wearing blue latex gloves. (There are 17 -- I counted them twice.) The top guy explains to us that the patient is delusional, but he has agreed to come willingly, but he is concerned he might change his mind. I look at all the seventeen people. These are not big bruisers, but skinny academic looking men, a couple ladies in skirts. I can't imagine them piling on the guy and pummeling him if he tries to fight. We wait around until the paperwork is done, then go in the room, introduce ourselves, the guy gets up on the stretcher and comes peacefully. As we leave all 17 are still in the hall. The crazy guy looks at them like he can't figure out what they are all doing standing there watching him. "What they don't have any work to do?" he says as we go outside. File Under: Apparently not.

3) As I mentioned we have a paramedic student. Medic students ride with services for a limited amount of time -- 100 to 200 hours to gain experience to meet licensure standards. It is expected that they will get to do emergencies. We have already done one transfer when we are given another transfer -- a short trip from one hospital to a rehab hospital down the street. A basic car offers to do the transfer for us. Okay, the dispatcher says, then gives us another transfer to a farther town. I say since we have a student, can we do the shorter trip? The basic car then offers to do that one too after the short first one. Okay, the dispatcher says, and then gives us a third transfer. There are least twelve other cars on, including two who are about to clear from the hospital that we have just cleared from. We are the only car with a medic student. We do the transfer. File under: Why Have Paramedic Students Ride?

4)We are sent priority one to a "911 call" in a suburban town for an unknown. After a long ride, there is still no update on the nature. We get there and the PD tells us the woman has some kind of neurological problem and wants to go to a hospital 50 miles away where her specialist is. I am familiar with the woman. She has a chronic problem -- they have never been able to figure out why she has trouble walking and occasionaly with her speech. She says she has been having trouble for the last week and her local doctor wants her seen at the distant hospital. I explain that when you call 911, you have to go to the local hospital. Her sister explains that she did not call 911. She called the company and explained it was a chronic problem and she needed to go to the distant hospital. Somehow the call got transfered to the suburban town as an emergency and two police cars and an ambulance were sent lights and sirens to a patient who really didn't need an ambulance. We work back and forth with dispatch and get permission to take her to the distant hospital. File Under: Sucks to be our Paramedic Student today.

Did seven calls total: 2 Transfer transfers, one EDP transfer, one long distance (911) transfer, a man with DTs, a mild asthma, and a back strain.

I won't complain tomorrow. I hope.