Thursday, May 6

Tough Morning

Tones went off this morning at 0430. I wasn't on the board so listened to be sure it wasn't an MVA or something else that needed our second rig and started to fall back asleep. No response from our corps and control re-alerts. I figure people are just slow due to the time, but I roll out of bed and start heading down just in case I'm needed. Our rig calls out of service when I'm about half way to the station. Deciding that I'm already awake I continue down to check out the board for today. After putting my name on the board for a couple of slots next week I start to leave the station. Just as our rig is returning another call comes in. I expect the ambulance to drive on by but it stops. The driver tells me he has to leave to go pick up his son from college and hopes that I can drive for him. No problem. We are off for just another difficulty breathing call.

It wasn't just another difficulty breathing call. The patient was in a small room at the top of some very steep and narrow stairs. Cyanotic. Maybe a V on the AVPU scale, but safer to call her a P. We have a paramedic, an AEMT-CC, two EMTs, a CFR, a “significant other” (someone who helps out on calls but has no certification and me. I figure this lady is in great hands. She was. Great hands were not enough this morning. She coded on us as she was being taken down the stairs. Most of you reading know the drill: ET tube, epi, more epi, some opiate antagonist (she had a bag of meds the size of a suitcase and there were several opiate pain relievers in there), bagging, chest compressions, etc. The ED doc called it almost right away. As far as we can tell she threw a clot (she had knee surgery two weeks ago) and it turned out the lights for her.

I am still a little shaken. She went so fast, and the call came in just like so many others. We have difficulty breathing calls where the person really just needs a vaporizer and some rest, I had already gotten complacent regarding DB calls. No more.

I feel for the patients family as she was talking to them before we got there. They must be in shock.

Somehow I need to get this out of my mind and study for tonight’s test. I’m not really in the mood.