Thursday, 11 September 2008


My car shift was pretty quiet really. Because we have an extra day and night crew these days, it tends to be a bit quieter on the car with respect to jobs but there has been an increase in standby at the side of the road.
My first call was a drowning on the beach, I rapidly went through in my mind what I would do until back up arrived. I had very little information on the call apart from that it was from the police and that it was a male in his thirties. I didn't even know whether he was conscious or breathing. Before I arrived I was made aware that the person had been in the water for about 15 minutes and was conscious. On arrival I approached the police van and was met by a police community support officer (PCSO) who stated that the patient had waded into the water up to his waist and that he (the PCSO) and a police officer managed to persuade him to come back to shore and subsequently placed him inside the van. I quickly assessed the patient and got him in some blankets. He was physically fine, mentally though he had a few problems which became too much and now felt depressed. I obtained his details and waited for the ambulance to pop him up to the hospital for a proper psychological assessment. I would have taken him myself if it wasn't for the fact that his lower half was still sopping wet.
After an hour and a half of standby in a nearby village I was on my way to back up a Paramedic crew at a cardiac arrest. When I arrived CPR was in progress and the patient had just recieved a shock from the defibrillator. The Paramedic had just put an IV in. The EMT doing the chest compressions asked if I could take over which I did. There was also an off duty EMT (who also responds as a community responder) on scene and he was ventilating the patient with a bag and mask (BVM). The lady had false teeth which had been removed as they were causing an obstruction. I then swapped roles with one of the EMTs and I was now in control of the airway. Before I intubated the patient I thought I would be clever (using past experience) and avoid kneeling on the floor while sorting the kit out so I sat in the armchair. It was the armchair that the patient had been sitting in prior to her cardiac arrest, the problem was I sat down and immediately felt a dampness seap through my trousers. She'd been incontinent of urine. I had to continue with job in hand and got on with the intubation. The airway was now secured but her lungs were full of blood which I had to suction numerous times. We worked on her for over 20 minutes providing full advanced life support which included drug therapy but it was to no avail. She had a lot of recent medical history including COPD, heart by-pass, a colostomy , fluid retention and a pacemaker, her health was generally poor. Our efforts were futile so we decided to call it. CPR was stopped and she was pronounced dead. Both of her sons were on scene and were very understandable of the decision we made.
I helped clear up and took one half of the crew back to base with me, the crew had gone way past their finish time. The Paramedic stayed on scene with the vehicle and waited for the police (we call the police on all unexpected deaths and their role is to act on behalf of the coroner's office and provide support and advice to the relatives). Back at base I had to strip and bin my trousers and boxer shorts and had a bloody good wash. I panicked about not having any spare but luckily I had some in my locker.

The night crews thought it was highly amusing.

My last job was for a headache. Turned out to be a polish guy who, two days ago, had a hell of a kicking. His face was swollen and grazed, he also had blood in his eye. He was quite cagey and didn't want to give me his address. It didn't matter, his mates had already provided that. He also smelled strongly of alcohol despite denying it. I grabbed some observations and his personal details and we made our way to the hospital.
After filling the car up with fuel I waited on base until my shift finished.

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