Monday, 14 June 2010

Faulty comms

Night shift: Six calls; three cancellations due to comms problem; one no-trace; two by ambulance.

Stats: 1 RTC ? injuries; 1 ? sepsis.

A broken bulb on my usual car meant a change of vehicle and I had my student paramedic with me tonight, so I was hoping to get enough work for her to complete her objectives. Unfortunately, we had a communications problem and the first calls to come through were cancelled because we didn’t receive them properly. Then we got sent to a no-trace for someone stating they had heart problems.

After that we were sent to a road traffic collision and arrived to find the victim walking around with a gang of concerned citizens attempting to stop him. He’d been hit by a van when he walked out drunkenly in front of it but he appeared unhurt. Alcohol can easily disguise injury, however, so the student paramedic got out to stop him moving around and I parked to block the road.

The student had him on the ground and was keeping his neck still by the time I got out to help. The crowd around her was giving her grief and they had to be cleared. Thankfully the cops arrived in time to do that job for us and a crew got to us soon after, so we had enough people on the ground to help the man who’d been knocked down.

Despite the witnesses’ story that he’d been thrown five feet into the air, the truth came out eventually and CCTV revealed that he was hit at fairly slow speed and slid along the road for about ten feet, so he was unlikely to have sustained any life threatening injuries. Nevertheless he was collared, scooped and taken in for checks.

When the light of the morning came up we were sent in support of an ambulance to a 45 year-old man who had DIB. The crew went into the address, followed by the student paramedic, who was going to see if they needed us at all. Ten minutes later they appeared with the patient, strapped to the chair and looking very rough indeed. He was moaning and gasping for breath, very grey and obviously distressed.

The man in the chair was a dialysis patient and something had gone very wrong for him. As soon as he was in the ambulance we set about getting him comfortable and looked at his ECG – he had a fast VT and would go into cardiac arrest imminently by the look of it, so he was hooked up to the defib, which wanted to shock him even though he was conscious, such was his condition. He got fluids for his failing BP and taken rapidly to hospital on blue lights.

He was delivered to the Resus team within minutes and, soon after we left, he arrested. Whether he survived or not I do not know but given his deteriorating state, I doubt he’ll carry on much longer even if he gets away with this crisis. It was a black ending to the shift.

Be safe.

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