Sunday, September 19

Lung Sounds

I had a patient yesterday who had just finished seizing as we arrived. The crew was a driver and myself, making us a BLS unit on a call that is ideally handled ALS (any change in mental status should be ALS'd by our protocols). I wasn't too worried as the patient is a frequent flyer and the hospital was within spitting distance (and our nearest ALS).

What I was worried about was the patient’s lung sounds. The patient had a sound upon exhalation that was very distinct and I was horrified that I was not prepared to label this sound. Ronchi? Rales? Shit. I realized then I had never actually heard these things, just read about them. I felt like a moron going into the ED and saying during my patient hand-off that the patient has a "crackling sound" upon exhalation, bilaterally. I wish the EMT class had a patient simulator with digitized sounds inside it that could be programed to simulate different respiratory symtoms.

My clinical time for the medic class involves a few rotations with respiratory therapy. I will make SURE I get to listen to these things so I won't be stuck trying to match what my ears are receiving to descriptions by eyes have read.