Thursday, 9 July 2009

Piercings

Ouch! See below. Photo printed with permission.

Day shift: Three calls; one by car and two by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Nail through hand; 1 Faint; 1 Eye injury.


I had a Student Paramedic (SP) working with me today, so I mostly stood and watched as she attended the patients. I also drove a lot.

At a building site a 30 year-old man somehow persuaded a long nail to pierce his hand and travel all the way through the flesh until it appeared on the other side. Sexily known as a penetrating puncture wound, we arrived to find that not only was the nail part of his mitten, it was also still firmly attached to a long piece of wood.

The only access to the floor that he was on was by ladder and the small opening afforded no escape for him if he or his work colleagues had decided to move him to the ground floor; the plank he was stuck to was just too long and he would have become wedged, or worse still, suspended by it as he tried to get through. There was no option for me but to decide on the best way to shorten the plank…or remove the nail from it.

The only cutting tools around would cause so much vibration that he would be in great pain if any of them were used. He was in enough pain as it was and had to be given morphine in preparation for what was to come.

The Fire Brigade were called out for this job – I had considered the options and thought it best to use their skills in the hope that they’d be able to remove him from his wooden implant gently and skilfully, and when they arrived, in full force as usual, they used a small saw to slice through the nail itself, just below the entry point in his palm, so that he’d be free of the board but still have the offensive metal in his hand. It took them 15 minutes to think it through and just 10 seconds to perform the operation.

Once free, his hand was bound and slung so that he could be taken down to the ambulance with the crew, who’d arrived shortly after the LFB. It was all over in a short time but had been a delicately precise and long-deliberated task. Nevertheless, I was happy with the outcome and so was he. He went to A&E looking like thevictim of a botched crucifixion. I just hope he isn’t religious.

During our conversations, he told me that he’d been in a car crash a short time earlier (he still had a scarred face) and had lost his wallet prior to this incident, so his run of three for bad luck seemed to have come to an end here.


After that call and later on in the day, we were sent to a 1 year-old female who had a coat hanger in her eye. I thought we were about to go through the whole embedded foreign object scenario again but when we arrived the little girl was with her mum and was coat hanger free. She’d been playing with the metal object when the bent top end, which was sharp to the touch, had fallen into her eye, catching on the conjunctiva and hooking itself into it. She’d frantically pulled on it, tearing into the tissue and causing minor trauma, resulting in a swollen and red lower lid. We took her and her mum to hospital in the car but this little girl was a bit hyperactive and to amuse herself on the way she unlatched the door while I was driving. I had forgotten to put the child lock on but luckily mum was holding her and I was able to stop before she got bored and threw herself onto the pavement for a laugh.

The well-to-do Middle Eastern woman made me feel like a chauffeur rather than a paramedic. I got the distinct feeling that she saw me and my kind as merely servants and not medical professionals. Still, she and her little bundle of mischief were delivered safely to hospital as required, so I must have fulfilled the criteria even though I barely got acknowledgement of my assistance with her emergency. It’s nice to be noticed.

Prior to this incident, our 'faint' call took us to the side of a restaurant chef who claimed chest pain, dizziness and who was described as 'delusional' by our system (although I don't know if that came from him, his manager, the caller or the call-taker). It would be funny, but completely unprofessional of course, to be able to put a short description giving our opinions on the caller's condition, wouldn't it? It would be entirely human to put things like 'mad as a box of frogs' or 'pissed as a rat' or 'total arse' when describing certain individuals who dial 999 and demand our presence for emergency itchy bottoms and life-threatening fungal toe. Shame we don't have that sense of humour (well, we do...we just don't tell you).
Be safe.

8 comments:

nickopotamus said...

Puts me in mind of a chap we saw the other day - accidentally fired a nail gun into his arm. A good citizen, he then drove himself to the local minor injuries unit "just to get it checked out" who had an oshitoshitoshit moment and got us to transfer to the nearest A&E.

Luckily it passed straight between his radius and ulna, hence why it wasn't causing him much pain. If only more people handle their injuries like that... ;)

nickopotamus said...

Puts me in mind of a chap we saw the other day - accidentally fired a nail gun into his arm. A good citizen, he then drove himself to the local minor injuries unit "just to get it checked out" who had an oshitoshitoshit moment and got us to transfer to the nearest A&E.

Luckily it passed straight between his radius and ulna, hence why it wasn't causing him much pain. If only more people handle their injuries like that... ;)

Uncle J said...

//his run of three for bad luck seemed to have come to an end here.//
But there is now an opportunity for a new set!

headless said...

Funnily enough the nail-through-the-hand story didn't make me feel anything like as queasy as the hanger-in-the-eye story.

I didn't see any details on the 1xFaint, so perhaps that was in anticipation of me reading about the other 2 incidents!

I just don't know you do it, but I thank God that you! Stay safe.

petrolhead said...

Ever the optimist, Uncle J!

My hand and eye are hurting now, just thinking about having something penetrating them! Ouch. That reminds me of an episode of Casualty when they still did blood and guts where a kid got impaled on a metal railing, it went right through his jaw. I miss the days when the Casualty staff would deal on a daily basis with injuries and illnesses that most medics would come across a few times in their career!

I know what you mean about being seen as a chauffeur, it annoys the hell out of me when people think the ambulance service is at their beck and call. Technically it is (if their situation is an emergency, of course) but I agree it's nice to be noticed, and for it to be recognised that you're more than just a green-suited taxi driver.

Every time I go to Trafalgar Square I look out for you but I haven't seen you yet. :(

Xf said...

petrolhead

Maybe I should go stand on the plinth. Possibly to give a demo on resus or something...oh wait, no...its been done (SJA style).

:-)

And if you come and see me, please don't approach me sneakily from the side or do any weird staring stuff before you speak 'cos I'll get concerned. Just say hello and tell me who you are...its safer for us all that way :-)

Xf said...

headless

Sometimes I hate Blogger! For some reason an entire paragraph went missing from that post - it has now been sorted and the sums should add up. Thanks for spotting it!

headless said...

xf - same problem when posting a comment...

My last para should start:
"I just don't know HOW you do it, but I thank God that you DO! "

It's that or it being a Friday!