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Monday, April 19, 2010

Feelings of Helplessness

As a firefighter/paramedic there are not many situation in which I feel helpless. My crew and I are highly trained for all manner of emergencies and, if we can't fix it, generally know someone to call that can.
Just before dinner we were toned out for a woman in labor.Several things go through my mind on a call like random order.

"S**t! Do I remember how to deliver a kid?"

"It's a BLS skill, let the EMT do it!"

"Women have been having kids forever without help, how hard can it be to play catcher."

"I was right there when all of my kids were born, it's not so bad. I got this."

"Hehehe! This could be a fun call."

Like I said, some variation of these thoughts went through my head on the way to the call as well as the actual procedures for delivering a newborn.

When we arrived on scene we found a 34 year old woman laying on a couch in the garage surrounded by her family. First impression, she's not far enough along to be in labor.

She informs us that she is 21 weeks and 4 days along and that she was just discharged from the hospital 4 hours prior to our arrival. She had started dilating prematurely and had had to undergo surgery to put a couple of sutures in her cervix. She called us because while she was going to the bathroom she felt a rush of fluid. Sounds like her amniotic sac ruptured. She wasn't complaining of any pain or desire to push. She had no abnormal bleeding.

After running a quick set of vitals and a thorough assessment there wasn't a lot we could do. And AMR still wasn't on scene. Enter the feeling of helplessness. My engineer started a line on her since she would need one in the hospital.

Still no AMR.

We explained why we were just waiting and she understood. She had taken an EMT course and now worked for a hospital. She was amazingly calm.

Still no AMR.

After what seemed like an eternity AMR finally showed up. We gave them a quick report and got her on the way to the hospital.

There was nothing for us to do except be caring and supportive. This poor woman was probably losing her baby and we were completely incapable of help. I hope that everything turned out well for her. Maybe her amniotic sac didn't rupture and a couple of months from now we can go back to deliver the little girl.
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