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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Man down in a parking lot"

We arrived on scene to find a man, face down on the asphalt, having fallen out of his car. He was showing all the classic signs and symptoms of a stroke (ie left sided paralysis, facial droop, unequal pupils) and he was sweating profusely. Torrance FD still does not have 12 lead ECG capability but on their monitor everything looked ok with his heart.

We quickly take cervical spinal precautions and strap him onto a backboard. During transport I do a fast assessment (the patient only spoke Spanish so I took the lead on this one). He was panicked and had a bad headache but that's it, no chest pain or trouble breathing. He has a history of high blood pressure but that all. He is taking no medications.

We wheel him into the ER and drop him in bed 6. The ER tech comes in and does a 12 lead ECG which shoes that our patient is having a heart attack on the backside of his heart. I think to myself, "what a bummer. A stroke and an MI at the same time!" About then the ER doc calls me and the other medic over to him and tells us that this is a once in 20 year call. A patient exhibiting these signs and symptoms together is suffering from a dissecting thoracic aortic aneurysm or in plain English, the largest artery in his body was slowly tearing itself in half.

I know that he was in surgery real fast but I never found out if he made it. If he did I wonder what permanent disabilities he will have.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I feel safer already

There is a security guard at Torrance Memorial Hospital that takes it upon herself to find out the destination of every patient we bring in. I can understand the questioning if we're bringing in a patient to the ER or direct admitting if we pull up without our lights and sirens on but you'd think that she'd figure it out that when we pull up with a Torrance FD vehicle with lights on and siren blaring that we might just be headed for the ER?? I'm tempted to tell her in these situations that we are just bringing some belongings to a patient in the hospital and that we asked Torrance FD to escort us!

The title of this post comes from one of the firefighters who, after hearing the security guards questions, said to me, "I feel safer already, don't you?"

Traumatic Full Arrest

The above term is known in EMS as a person with no pulse or respirations as a result of trauma. In the field there is very little that we can do except rapid transport to a hospital.

The call came out as a hit and run auto vs pedestrian with major bleeding from the head. We arrive on scene to find TFD performing CPR on a woman. From the neck down there didn't seem to be anything wrong with her. Her head however had been crushed by the wheel of a truck (from which she was evidently just pushed). It was really strange being able to watch the bones in her skull move around as we tried to breathe for her. Everyone on the scene agreed that it was one of the worst trauma they had seen. We transported her to the local ER about 2 minutes away where she was pronounced dead about fifteen minutes later. We found out later that the male party turned himself in after about an hour. He is facing several felony charges.
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