Monday, August 15

"Dude, we need more 'Dew!"

Approximately 0200 hours…

“… ambulance monitors, request for your equipment. The county sheriff unit requests you meet them {someplace} for a 20’s male who has ingested gasoline.”

Lovely. Out of bed, on with the rags, off to the station.

We arrive on scene to see a car on the side of the road with a police car behind it. The officer reports he pulled the vehicle over, suspecting that the driver was driving while impaired. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver was holding a wadded up shirt over his face, complaining that he was in a lot of pain as he had burned his nose and had accidentally consumed some gasoline.

I walked over to the stopped car, knelt down by the open drivers window, and the following exchange ensued:

DJ: Hello sir, I’m {DJ}, a medic with the ambulance. What is going on tonight?

Interesting Patient [IP]: I burned myself and swallowed some gasoline.

Note: The patient has some singed hairs on his face, neck, and chest. His skin color is consistent over his entire body (i.e., the skin itself doesn’t look like it is even irritated). His respiratory rate is normal, with no signs of distress. He is perfusing well, and every time he exhales it smells a LOT like metabolizing ethanol…

DJ: How much gasoline did you swallow?

IP: At least a cup. Maybe two.

DJ: How did you end up drinking gasoline?

IP: I was siphoning it.

DJ: How long ago did this happen?

IP: I don’t know, maybe 30 minutes.

DJ: Does your stomach hurt? Any nausea, vomiting, sore mouth, irritated throat?

IP: No, no, none of that.

DJ: Any coughing or difficulty breathing?

IP: No.

Hmm thinks me. I’ve never swallowed a volume of gasoline, but I’ve had it in my mouth, and I remember well how quickly I wanted it OUT of my mouth. And how it made me cough. And how it irritated my mouth for a LONG time. I am trying to imagine how one can swallow a “cup or two” without trying.

DJ: Tell me about the burn and please walk me though how we ended up here this evening.

Let me abstract IPs story for you. IP claimed that:

1) He needed gas, so he siphoned some from one of his cars to the other.
2) IP had a problem with the siphoning process, spilling gas on himself and swallowing some.
3) Minutes later, IP needed a cigarette. SO HE FIRES ONE UP! There is a flash fire, which he puts out with his shirt.
4) IP is a bit freaked out and his nose is hurting him. He doesn’t need a doctor, of course, just some pain relief. So he does “a few” shots of whiskey.
5) IP’s friend is out of Mountain Dew and wants more. IP offers to go get the Mountain Dew, as he now has gas in his car.
6) Since IP lives a good 10 minutes from the store, he obviously needed to bring pain relief along with him, in this case in the form of a VERY cold 6 pack of beer. While he does have TWO beers open in the car with him (the other four are safely stored on the seat next to him), he wants me to know that he hardly had any of the second open beer.

NOTE: At this point, as a gesture of good will I suppose, IP hands me the open beer, still so cold it is sweating, through his open window. Upon seeing IP hand DJ a beer, which must have been an interesting sight, the police officer is laughing so hard he has to turn around and walk away.

7) While driving to the store, IP is pulled over by “the man” for no real reason [this is from IP’s perspective. “The Man” was worried when IP almost ran into “the man’s” cruiser while driving on the wrong side of the road with no lights on].

Final Chain of Events:

IP complains to police officer so he calls us to protect himself, though he is 95% sure IP is trying to avoid a field sobriety test and a trip to the slammer

Ambulance crew transports IP to the hospital because though we were 97% sure IP had no airway burns, we couldn’t be sure (again, he had some singed hair, but his skin did NOT look burned, his mouth was not inflamed, and his nose hairs were intact).

Hospital doc asks for a chest X-Ray to rule out airway inflammation or burns, despite being 99.9% sure he won’t find anything.

My guess is that IP made his way to jail latter that day, but I didn’t stick around to find out. He certainly managed to get a whole lot of people involved in his Mountain Dew run.