Wednesday, November 23

Busy Sunday Morning

My agency had been running really quiet for a few weeks, but things are picking up with the calls now coming in spurts. On Sunday we had 3 calls within an hour, and somehow I managed to see (if not treat and transport) all three patients. This brought up a tough situation for me, but I think I did the right thing morally if not legally.

The problem started with the first call, which came in as an intoxicated male. When we arrive on scene, our patient is lying on the floor of a bathroom in a dorm, but he opens his eyes when I talk to him, and is able to stand up when asked. Due to altered mental status he meets "Advanced Life Support"(ALS) criteria, and I was about to get him down to the rig and ALS him when a campus safety officer indicates that there was a fall in the next dorm over and the victim is now unresponsive. At this point the following things run through my mind:

1) I’m signed up for this shift so I have a “duty to act”.
2) I’ve made contact wit h my current patient.
3) I do remember the term abandonment from class, and it isn’t a good term.
4) I have a good BLS crew with me.
5) From where we sit we are 3 or fewer minutes from the hospital.
6) Our second rig out will take at least 5 minutes to GET to the new patient, and will be "Basic Life Support" (BLS) (our other medic was at work).
7) My chief says “go!”.

So, I abandoned my patient. I abandoned him into good hands, and they were close to the hospital, but I did abandon him all the same, and I am fairly sure I broke the law. What would you have done? Send a BLS crew member over? Have the patient wait for the second rig?

As the officer and myself run across a quad, I can’t help but notice we are both breathing heavy. I’ve got 10 years on the guy, but we have the same body size and neither of us is currently ready for the Ironman…. About three quarters of the way there I’m wondering which one of us will break into a walk first, but we manage to reach the patient, sweating and panting. Short version: Patient packaged up and taking to the hospital without major incident.

While we are at the hospital, and just about to start the "Patient Care Report" (PCR), our tones drop AGAIN for an unresponsive male. We meet another intoxicated individual.

What a Sunday Morning…