Thursday, December 23

Sleep Walking

Wednesday we had two calls…

“WALK, people!”

Around 1030 or so freezing rain came out of no where. A campus safety officer stops by my office to tell me to be careful if I go outside as it is SLICK. Ten minutes later my wife calls to tell me the roads are horrific and that I should be careful as we will likely get a call and it is nasty out. She’s got the power…

At around 1300 tones drop for one-car MVA with entrapment. As I have mentioned, our ambulance district covers multiple fire districts. Let’s say this accident happened in district “B”. Because “B” doesn’t have “heavy rescue” capabilities (cutting cars apart, etc.), district “A” is their automatic mutual aid for entrapments. So at first, tones go out for B (their district), A (automatic mutual aid) and us (ambulance). Because “B” didn’t answer up quickly (small department, people have jobs, etc.), district “C” was also called, because they are “B”s automatic mutual aid for OTHER types of fire calls (including “light” rescue). Four agencies responding to one car crash. Confused? I was.

[note: it is OK to laugh about the following, but I still can’t as I strained some muscles in my abdomen in the process…]

As I had just finished lunch out I was driving in my car when my pager went off. I was first to the station (I am rarely first as I live out a bit) and very excited by this fact. We have a general rule, which is to WALK when responding to a call. I ignored this rule and was running up to the station from my car. As I approached the door to the station I went to slow down and seemingly instantaneously I was in a Wile E. Coyote-like mid-air suspension. What looked like wet blacktop beneath my feet had been clear ice with water on it. Nothing slicker. I stuck my arm out reflexively and managed to avoid slamming my head into the ground, but I landed pretty much flat on my back. Did I mention our ambulance station is across the street from Fire Department A? Which has people flying to it to get out on their heavy rescue (those folks LIKE entrapments. Really, they do)? I am SO embarrassed by my fall that all I can think of is getting up quickly, which as you can imagine is less than graceful when you are on a frictionless plane. I am certain a video of this performance would be worth money, but I don’t think anyone saw me.

We get out of service BLS with two EMTs and a driver and I run the call. In the twelve minutes it takes us to get to the scene Control AND the rescue guys radio us and tell us to be careful, as the roads are horrendous. My throbbing hand is my memory of how quickly the ice will claim you and that, combined with incident the night before (see recent post), leads me to be a bit more assertive with the driver when it comes to explaining that speed is not our number-one priority given the number of rescue personel already on scene.

Before we get to the scene heavy rescue is cancelled. The patient was out upon the first-responder's arrival. We arrive to see a newish SUV down a 20 foot embankment. There is a county snowplow on the side of the road right across from the SUV, and my first thought is whether this was really a one-car MVA. Turns out the plow operator saw the car off the road, called 911, and then helped the patient (neck and back pain included) out of her SUV and into the passenger seat of his plow. These plows are BIG, so that when you open the door you are looking at the feet of the person sitting in the cab. Patient got collared and a KED in the cab and then onto the board. I was VERY pleased with how smoothly this all went as none of it was as you would practice in a passenger vehicle. The rescue guys did a great job and we worked together seamlessly.

Patient had some bumps and pain but no major issues and we took her to the local ED without further incident.

You’re Sleepy, I’m Sleepy

Our second call came in at about 2200 and I was sleeping HARD: “… request for your equipment at #### route ##, lot #, the ***** residence for a bipolar patient with an overdose, police enroute”. First of all, it cracks me up when we get a page requesting our equipment (this is common terminology around here). What do they want, the ambulance with no personnel?

Our patient took six Ambien (10 mg each) by accident and was sleepy. Off to the ED with a sleepy but otherwise OK patient.

I’m off the board tonight and then on again on Christmas Eve and all of Christmas day.

Happy Holidays Everyone!