Sunday, November 27, 2005


A 97 year-old-man whith a poor gait falls twice in his apartment in a residential community. He is not hurt, but according to the nurse he is not as spry as he used to be and hasn't been eating as much and, fall once, you get a free pass, fall twice, its a trip to the hospital. We go to a distant hospital because that's where his doctor is, not that his doctor is going to come in and see him on a Sunday.

A nursing home calls a commercial service to transport a patient not as responsive as usual, which usually isn't much. The commercial call-taker hears the word "unresponsive" and passes the call to us -- the local 911. Our dispatcher sends two police cars lights and sirens, in addition to us, who are coming, from the distant hospital. The cops skid into the curb, run inside and find no nurses or aides. They find a patient "not breathing" and put her on oxygen and she immediately starts breathing. They finally find a nurse and what develops is a heated arguement about elder abuse, complete with "I want you name" and "I want your name."

That's when we come in. Now I have often been to this home and found patients in dire straights with no nurses anywhere to be found to give me a report, and the nurse who is here today is one of the worst offenders, but when I enter the room, the woman seems fine. She does have periods of apnea, but I have taken her in before and that is normal for her. The patient has every diagnosis possible: CVA, Dementia, diaylsis, MI, CHF, NIDDM, Alzheimers, HTN, Seizure, etc. Her BP is 90/60. I guess the officers came in during one of the apnea periods.

The officers should never have been sent in the first place. And of course they were never told it was an commercial pass.

I love being a medic and like working on the regional committee. But somedays I wish I was in charge of the whole shebang with unlimited power, then I could fix some of these things. Fix the apnea in the system. Maybe.