Wednesday, June 23

My First Call as “In Charge”

At 0232 today our pagers went off for “80’s male with catheter removed”. I was on the board from 0000 to 0600 as the “significant other” (S/O). A full crew for us is a driver, paramedic or “medic” (paramedic or AEMT-CC), EMT and a S/O. The S/O can be anything from a medic to someone with no certifications but who knows where everything is on the rig. We get out “ALS” if there is a medic or paramedic with us and “BLS” if there is “just” an EMT. Given the nature of the call I expected the ALS providers to fall back asleep and let the BLS people handle it. I was right.

When I got to the station there was an EMT there but nobody else. A driver materialized, we waited a couple of minutes for a medic (rescue had already rolled so we knew help was on its way) and then went out of service BLS. The EMT (well, ok, as of a few days ago the OTHER EMT) asked me if I wanted to run the call and I said sure.

The call was very uneventful, much to my pleasure. Patient was ambulatory when we got there and demanded to walk to the ambulance. I had assumed, when the call came in, that the patient must have yanked out a Foley catheter (a tube that passes through the urethra into the bladder). This guy, though, had an incision just above his pubic bone and the catheter “just fell out”. Turned out the balloon at the end of the catheter had popped and the line had indeed come out. The guy was not bleeding or showing any discharge and his chief complaint was that he needed to pee. Fairly easy call to handle as there were no significant physical findings, the guy was in a great mood, and I could ask someone else to take vitals for once.

One of the rescue guys is a paramedic who is also a representative to our state EMS council. Out of earshot to the patient he was giving hell to the nursing home telling them that they should have called for a paid transport (we don’t do transports) as this wasn’t an emergency and by dialing 911 they had tied up a fire rescue and an ambulance, which are critical limited resources in our area, as well as managing to wake a bunch of people up who have day jobs. Maybe my mind will change with more calls under my belt, but I don’t think this place abuses us as a rule and I’d rather they call when we are not needed than not call when we are. Besides, this was a great call for me to run as I got to go through all the motions without any real stress. I also got to put my name in the “in charge” box on the patient care report. :-)