Wednesday, 2 June 2010

No rest for the wicked

Day shift: Nine calls; five by ambulance; two treated on scene; two by car.

Stats: 1 RTC; 1 faint; 2 cut foreheads; 1 Hypoglycaemic; 1 sprain ? #; 1 faint; 1 collapse ? cause; 1 hyperventilating panic attack.

I have been assigned a different student paramedic for the next few weeks, so I will be watching more than doing for a while and the first call of the morning was car vs cyclist with minor facial injuries but it was good practice for immobilising a patient.

The cyclist was pushed over by a car as he tried to undertake – this is always a bad idea and motorists tend to get the blame, so I spoke to the driver and reassured him that the man on the ground had minor injuries and that we were securing his neck as a precaution. His bicycle didn’t do too well – the front wheel got crushed under the car.

Fainting pregnant people are common and our next call was to a 23 year-old who’d fallen onto the floor of the building in which she was about to undertake a course of some kind. She was still feeling dizzy when we wheeled her out to the ambulance, so she went to hospital for checks.

Next up, a 7 year-old boy who fell and bumped his head on a corner of the wooden table by his hotel bed. Mum, dad and sis were on scene, as was the hotel manager, first aid kit at the ready. The boy had a superficial cut to his forehead, really nothing to write home (or abroad) about, so he was given a plaster, reassured and left in the care of the best people possible in such circumstances – his parents.

A 50 year-old type I diabetic tested her BM, saw it was 1.5 and promptly ignored it, as you’d expect when your sugar-deprived brain can’t make sense of anything. So, her colleagues called an ambulance for her when she stopped communicating and started to have periodic myoclonic spasms. Her BM was 1.7 when we tested it and it took a Glucagon injection, 23g of gel, one piece of chocolate (sickly sweet) cookie and more than a few swigs of non-diet coke to bring her round again with a BM of 10.8 in 30 minutes. A wee bit high but better high than low I guess. She soon felt her normal self and went back to work with her mates after the drama.

Outside Buckingham Palace, among the crowds of tourists and lovers of all things royal, an 80 year-old lady stumbled on steps, twisted her ankle and landed on the ground. Her family was with her and she was perfectly conscious and able to thump me after a few bad jokes about the Queen watching from her window, etc. It looked like she had a bad sprain and possibly a fracture and when, after ‘dancing’ her to the car and driving her to hospital, the nurse saw it he said it may even be dislocated. An x-ray would sort all that out and the patient was taken to a cubicle to await one.

She was still waiting for that x-ray when we left the hospital to go on our next call.

AS protesters gathered (taxi drivers I think) along main roads we were sent to a 45 year-old female who’d fainted apparently. I say apparently because we never saw her. The crew arrived just ahead of us and I got stuck in an alleyway after taking a wrong turn. It happens.

A cancellation for a fight somewhere in the West End next and we were soon travelling back the way we had just come for a 75 year-old Indian man who collapsed in the street. An army medic was attending, with police and PCSO’s around him when we arrived. The patient was conscious but not completely alert and so an ambulance was requested for him as the student paramedic checked his condition.

The man’s ECG was abnormal but didn’t scream anything obvious. He was taken to hospital for further tests and I think there is a possibility that he’d suffered a cardiac event.

Another child who fell and cut his head open a little – this time the wound would need closing, so he was going to go to hospital but we were lucky to get to him because the over-eager staff member in the McDonald’s told the student paramedic to ‘wait at the side’ so that a queue could form for burgers. The student quickly explained who she was and why she was there but suddenly there was a communications problem – the staff member could not speak English and needed to get a translator so that we could proceed to the 4 year-old who was bleeding. Apparently the only English this person felt she should learn was that single phrase; 'stand to the side'.

Meanwhile, another staff member was so busy taking details ‘for his paperwork’ from mum that she became frantic when her son was led away by the student. We didn’t even know mum was there. The rules are fairly simple; call an ambulance, lead us to the patient and do NOT separate mum from child for the sake of paperwork and covering backs. Oh, and burgers can wait while patients get treated. Thank you Ronald.

And late off, compliments of a panic attack at a university library where a 23 year-old Chinese girl collapsed and ‘couldn’t speak’. She couldn’t speak because she was breathing too fast, shaking like a leaf and generally being upset about something. Her eyes remained mostly closed until we got her to hospital (in the car – no choice, no ambulance), where, when I took her into the cubicle, she suddenly opened them and spoke – ‘what am I doing here?’ she asked. Good question, I thought.

Then she told me she had become upset because of a personal issue and I am guessing it was a male personal issue. I made my exit swiftly in case I became embroiled in some kind of man-hate issue.

Be safe.

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