Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Busy, Crazy, WayOut 24 at AmCare

I had been on an extended slump lately. My best estimate is that I ran for the past six weeks with a 9:1 ratio of transports to emergencies. On the few E-calls I did end up on during this period, I was either driving (as the rotation goes) or the calls were minor. (Now there's a whole discussion to be had when it comes to EMTs wanting a "major" call. I suppose from someone on the outside it would appear as though we are wishing ill health, bad luck, and/or pain on others. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, people are going to get sick and hurt, at least let me have my fair share of the opportunities to help them.) Anyway, I suppose the old adage "be careful what you wish just might get it", could apply to today.

I am going to spare everyone the details because they were none too pleasant. However, the call did involve all three public safety branches (Police, Fire, EMS) working together. St. Albans City PD officers were there because the call came in as an unresponsive person and they respond with EMS to those calls by protocol (I suppose because these calls have at least the potential to involve foul-play), St. Albans City FD was there as a part of the new Interim Fire Chief's policy of sending a crew to major EMS calls. The call came in to us from Central Dispatch as a 911 emergency.

If you've read some of this blog, you'll recall that I am eager (as are many in this district) to increase our level of care; to learn more and to be able to put more skills and tools to work when needed. But even with a bigger toolkit at our disposal, this call likely would have gone exactly the same way. We used alot of the basics: airway adjuncts, suctioning, patient positioning to ensure a patent airway, scene safety concerns, infection control concerns, communicating and working effectively cross-agency, evaluating the scene for clues to the events leading up to the call, and safely extricating and lifting the patient. The ALS tools involved IV- access, blood-glucose monitoring, and administration of meds and fluids(naloxone and Ringers Lactate) via IV. Advanced airway management was considered (in the form of a Combitube), but the patient's jaws were clenched. Having a good professional rapport with Online Medical Control, and the manpower available to leave one EMT free to handle to communications and to assist in coordinating crew assignments really helped.

Two of my fellow EMTs with 15+years experience both said that in many ways it was the worst they had ever seen. (I'm dying to toss out the details here, but even if I wasn't bound by HIPPA and the possible loss of my cert if I break confidentiality, I do this job to render aid and I would not be assisting this person in any way if I were to make details public).

Let me end this brief entry by stating that: 1) I did need to change my uniform afterwards 2) It took us nearly 3 hours to decon, re-inventory, and restock our ambulance, and most of all 3) I am extremely proud to be associated with the EMTs, Firefighters, Police Officers, and hospital staff (MDs, RNs, RTs, and Techs) who worked this most difficult of calls.

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