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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ambulance driver becomes patient

Right after one of our EMT ambulances was canceled by TFD on a 911 call the driver called the station. I happened to take the cal. He stated that he was going to come in to the station because he wasn't feeling well and his blood pressure was high. At this moment TFD called for his unit again. Our dispatcher asked the driver if he felt up to doing the call. When he said no we told him told pull over and let his attendant drive him back to the station (we also dispatched another unit to the 911 call which later got canceled).

Once the ambulance got back to the station my partner and I jumped in the back to check out the EMT. One of the best ways to tell how a patient is really doing is their "skins". He was very pale, cool to the touch and sweaty. My partner and I were instantly concerned. Here was a middle aged male with a history of heart problems looking not so hot! He said that he was very weak and dizzy and later told me that he had a feeling of impending doom. His BP was high (180/120), pulse was between 46 and 54 (about half what he says is normal), he's a sinus bradycardia on the monitor, his oxygen saturation is at 98%, and his sugar was a little low at 65. We put him on O2, gave him some Aspirin, did a quick 12 lead ECG, stuck him with an IV, and transported.

It's amazing how quick you get attention in an ER when the staff knows your bringing in one of your own. By the time that we got him to the hospital his "skins" were much improved. His heart was still beating slow but his blood pressure was down a little. I guess I'll find out later what the official diagnosis was.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I hate vomit

We got the call to go to one of the city's many convalescent homes for a visitor that fell. When we got there she had sat in a chair but she had a good size bump on the back of her head and she was nauseous (which can be a sign of bleeding in the brain). I hate vomit. Since we couldn't rule out head or neck damage we place her in a neck collar and strapped her to a backboard. Once we had her loaded onto the gurney she started to throw up. When your head is stuck facing straight up throwing up has to be one of the worst things that can happen. I hate vomit. We quickly grabbed the backboard and rolled her onto her left side so she could toss her lunch. In the back of the ambulance she only threw up twice more and got half of the vomit in the bag. The other half landed on the floor of our rig. I hate vomit.

Show and tell

This last week my partner and I were selected to go to a kindergarten class for show and tell. They were having an emergency services week and were having a cop and some firefighters there on other days. It's a lot fun letting the kids play around in the rig and answering all of their questions.
During the question and answer part one of the boys raised his hand. When called upon he informed us that one of the Transformers was an ambulance (named Ratchet) and that it was his favorite one. He was disappointed to find out that our ambulance did not transform into a robot.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

CVA at the doctors office

We got the call for a 78 year old patient at a doctors office having a CVA (cerebral vascular accident aka stroke) as I was about to eat the ice cream that I had just purchased. We arrived at the office to find our patient sitting in a chair trying hard to breathe. The Nurse Practitioner told us that our patient had had some difficulty speaking for the last two days and it felt to her the same as when she last had a stroke. The reason she came in today to the doctors office was her shortness of breathe. We did a quick neuro check to try and rule out a CVA and everything came back as it should. We also listened to her lungs. She was wheezing pretty heavily. We patched her on the monitor and got a breathing treatment ready. On her ECG she was having VERY frequent PVCs (premature ventricular contraction, which are early beats of the heart). This can, in severe cases, lead to V-Tach (ventricular tachycardia) and death. We gave her the breathing treatment and kept an eye on her heart rhythm. Once she started breathing easier the PVCs were a little less frequent. We called the hospital and let them know what we had and that we were only a couple of minutes away. Once we dropped off our patient and finished all the paper work I returned my sights to my ice cream. Unfortunately it was now mush. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Day 1 call 2

LASD (Los Angeles Sheriffs Department) called and asked if we would come out and check on their prisoner. When we got there we found a 14 year old girl in handcuffs, face down in the grass, with a female officer sitting on top of her. It turns out that she had assaulted the manager of the half way house she was staying at who then called the cops. Once in custody in the back of the patrol car my patient told deputies that she was going t kill herself and then kicked out the window of the car. The officers then decided that she should not be in the car any further and started to take her out. The girl soon realized that she liked the back of the cop car. In the ensuing struggle she grabbed onto the gate and received a coupe of minor cuts on her fingers. We were really called out there because the officers did not want to go to the hospital but I informed them that they had to go. Our patient was kicking out windows you know!

Day 1 call 1

I met my partner, Michelle, at 6:30 and she showed me the morning routine. I went to paramedic school with her. While we were checking out our squad we caught up on what we have done since paramedic school. She told me that she had been working in a hospital since getting her paramedic license and had just recently decided that she wanted to be in the field. She quit the hospital and got hired onto LHHFD and AMR in Riverside. She also told me that she had only 3 patient contacts since her internship. That made me the experienced paramedic on duty.

At about 9:20 in the morning we got a call for a motorcycle down. When we got there we found the rider moving around. He was complaining of head pain and left rib pain but that was it. All his vitals were stable and there were no other injuries. He stated that he was coming around a blind curve when he came up on a stopped truck. He tried to stop but couldn't. He ditched the bike and smacked into the rear of the truck which then fled the scene. He was a very lucky motorcyclist.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


If you can't tell I'm just a little excited to be working for a fire department. Now all I have to do is make it full time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I think that you put the wrong emphasis on the wrong syllable.

Sometimes the paramedics at Gerber will help out answering phones. There are people in this world that speak English with a very heavy accent. This combination leads to some funny stories.

We had a lady call in a while back and she was a little excited. She said (or so we thought),"Chickenbreath! You take to are. You come NOW!" When told that we couldn't understand her she would just repeat the phrase. After a while, and a couple of different people on the phone with this lady, we finally figured out what she was really saying: She can't breathe. You take her to ER. You come now! At least the last part was clear.

As it turned out the patient was just sick and had a nasty cough. It could have been bad if chickenbreath.
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