Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The pipes are calling

Day shift: Four calls; all by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Faint; 1 cough masquerading as asthma; 1 partial amputation; 1 ETOH (drunk)

As usual with most of my fainted calls, the patient had fully recovered by the time I got on scene. The ambulance crew arrived soon afterwards and made their way, as I had, to the train station office where the young woman was chatting away to me about how this had never happened to her before and discussing how hot it was on the train. In response to this heat I presume, she stumbled off onto the platform and promptly collapsed, causing panic with the general public and a quick removal by the rail staff.

It was very hot today and my car began to feel like an oven because the air conditioning wasn’t playing ball. It was chucking out hot air and this, I felt, was an insult to me, considering I’d never done anything to offend it. I played around with the dial and the button until I reached a satisfactory compromise and the atmosphere changed for the better(ish).

The weather probably caused my next patient, a 25 year-old woman, to believe she had suddenly developed asthma because her cough (there’s a lot of it going around) was getting worse as she worked in her stuffy office building. She had no wheeze (not that I could detect anyway) but I gave her a neb just in case and that seemed to improve things. My diagnosis was the same though – bad cough.

A 17 year-old florist’s assistant was changing the contents of a heavy glazed vase at a hairdressing salon when it slipped over the sink. She attempted to grab it as it fell but it kind of exploded in her hands, cutting two of her fingers almost in half. The floor had a few good-sized pools of blood on it (pools are good because they mean venous bleeding, not arterial, which tends to spray and spatter) and the sink was pretty red too. She’d been bleeding onto a towel for a time and that too was soaked, so she’d lost a decent amount but not enough to result in shock just yet.

I had a look at the wound before quickly dressing it and elevating it in a sling. Two fingers had been torn through and one of them was so deeply sliced that it had almost been amputated. She’d need a good plastic surgeon to repair the damage and although she could move them, she had lost some feeling in them.

The ‘unconscious’ 30 year-old that I’d been sent to rescue was a drunken man who didn’t fancy getting into an ambulance, so he staggered away, leaving the poor MOP who’d called it in looking like a fool when I arrived on blue lights. Until then, the ‘patient’ had been unrousable. Sirens are like bagpipes I think - you either love them or you hate them.

Be safe.

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