Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Brothers and Sisters

Today my partner and I had to do a long distance transport, leaving around 2PM and returning around 830PM. It was HOT here today, like 95 and muggy like the northeast can be in the summer. Even with AC in the truck it was a long trip: We returned, just a while ago actually, pretty worn out.

We looked at the log when we got in and saw that the crews that were on duty while we were gone stayed busy too, running a whole stretch of calls throughout the rest of the afternoon and early evening. Plus they had to do chores at quarters for the end of shift, etc. When we walked into quarters there was a note in our mailbox that they had gotten ice-cream sandwiches at the end of the day and had left some for us in the freezer.

Here they busted their butts all afternoon and they thought of us. Now there's no doubt that we can get on each other's nerves around here sometimes, but all in all, the ice cream story is the way we treat each other here. And non EMS people wonder why our fellow crewmembers are called "partners" and why we act like a big family.

Thanks guys!

Testing and Re-Certing

A bunch of us had to re-cert recently. Vermont has 2-year re-certs and this would have been my first. The day of the test I happened to be on the state EMS website and noticed that if you maintained your National Registry cert (through a whole bunch of CE stuff!), that that will satisfy the state for recerting. I also had to submit the required CE credits at the Intermediate level to maintain my VT EMT-I03 cert, but it worked out. I think I was the only one that bothered to keep my NREMT-B cert, so I was the only one (besides a couple crew members that had recerted at an earlier time) that didn't have to test that night! I ended up jumping on a truck and running E-calls throughout the entire evening anyway, so I missed just about everything (except the fabulous supper provided by our testing host). :) Later.


If you've been in EMS for awhile, you've probably been to car-wreck calls where either you couldn't believe how freaking lucky the occupant(s) were, or you couldn't get over the small detail that led someone to a particularly poor outcome.

For example, I can remember a crash last year. My partner and I were called last fall at about 01:00 to a single-car 10-50. The town's Fire Department and their 1st responders headed there, as well as the State Police. When we got on scene, the FD and PD were searching the tall grass and woods adjacent to a smoking heap that used to be a car. A discussion with the State Trooper nearest the scene revealed that there were no occupants in the car, and so far, no one had been found injured or deceased anywhere near the vehicle. My partner and I examined the vehicle to see for ourselves if anyone was in it, and to get an idea of mechanism of injury should a patient be located.

From what we could piece together, the driver was going at a very high rate of speed down a paved country road, lost control, veered off the road just at a spot where a ledge dipped down to road level. The car rode up the ledge as if climbing a ramp, continued on for a couple hundred feet, taking out sections of barbed wire fence and several small trees before careening off the ledge and ending up in a ditch adjacent to the road, on its roof, flat as a pancake.

We convinced ourselves after a pretty thorough inspection that there was no one in the vehicle, and if someone had survived the wild ride, they probably wouldn't have had the space to crawl out and take off. That left only one reasonable explanation: The occupant(s) was/were ejected during the crash and were lieing dead or injured somewhere, or were uninjured enough to run.
No sign of anyone was ever found, though I'm sure that the police investigation eventually led to someone who was likely involved.

So, that brings to mind another 10-50 we responded to. A car left the highway on a dry, warm night, slid down an embankment and rolled several times. We found the driver, deceased, still in the vehicle. Looking at the skid marks and talking to the investigators leads me to believe to this day that a momentary lapse at the wheel, maybe reaching for a CD or seeing a deer at the side of the road, coupled with the steep embankment (and just plain old bad luck or whatever), caused the car to swerve just enough, and that was it. I still have a hard time getting my head around that.

Tim McGraw's song, Live Like You Were Dying talks about living every day like it might be your last. So hard to fully put into practice, but do any of us really know?

Stay safe out there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm still here

Been way busy lately. EMS has been kickin my butt: Lots of calls and lots of late calls = sleep deprivation for this EMT. I'm getting recharged though, so I hope to be back to some more regular blogging soon.

Just an observation. In the past 10 days or so I have run probably 25 "E" calls. Of those 25 I would guess that we had PD (police) on scene for 15 of them. Is it the moon or something in the water? Who knows? One call had 3 County Sheriffs, 4 State Troopers, 2 Border Patrol Officers, and a couple of police dogs tossed in for good measure. You know what a scene looks like with 10 vehicles running their lights?

Stay safe, I'll be back soon, barring any crazy unforeseens!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Busy Weekend

Just wrapping up a pretty busy weekend. I worked the overnight shift at AmCare last night. We ended up with three calls after midnight, so we got little sleep. A couple calls were decent, not fantastic by any stretch, but we did get to use our skills.

On with Enosburgh today, doing a 24. This is Dairy Festival weekend, very similar to Maple Fest in St. Albans a while back I guess. We were on standby for the 10k road race, and ended up transporting a patient with heat exhaustion. It was nice to be able to really make a difference (like lowering his temperature about 5 degrees from on-scene to at the hospital, and getting some IV fluids into him). I wish I had my camera to take a pic of the back of the ambulance after the call: We had IV set-up bags, tape, 4x4s, cold packs, chux, open med bags, monitor leads, etc., etc. all over the place. Funny how you don't realize the mess you're making when you're really working the call until you get ready to get the rig cleaned up. :)

We went from that call to a seizure call. The transport time was a good half-hour, and it was just my partner and I. He struggled just about the entire way to maintain the airway with suction and positioning, while I drove like heck. No IV access due to the tonic-clonic activity. No benzos because we are not allowed and our medical director isn't convinced that paramedicine would be valuable in our district. Ok.

Just got back from a call that involved the State Police (seen those guys several times this weekend). Great to have the "Super-Troopers" go in and make sure the scene is safe for us, thanks guys!!