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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cold Feet

At 0500 we were toned out for a medical aid at the gas station closest to the freeway. We knew that, because of the rain and the location, this was probably a call from a homeless person. We also knew that we would already be on a first name basis with our 911 caller.

When we arrived on scene we found one of our local homeless celebrities. We had run countless calls on him for years. He loves our city and our department because we always are nice to him, regardless of the nature or time of the call.

This time our patient called 911 because he was cold. More precisely, his feet were cold. He was wearing several layers of clothing but all of them were soaked. He was shivering uncontrollably. He apologized for calling but he was just so cold.

Just before the ambulance pulled into the gas station our radios crackled. The neighboring engine company was being dispatched into our area for another medical run, this time for someone having chest pain. I asked my captain if he was ok with rerouting  our ambulance to the person having chest pain. We didn't have a life threatening emergency after all. Seemed like the right thing to do.

The problem was that AMR dispatch was unwilling to swap the units. It seemed so simple. Assign the closest ambulance to the critical patient instead of the cold patient and assign the ambulance that was further out to us. They refused to do it saying that there was some protocol that they couldn't violate. Looking back on it I should have just told them that my patient had moved to the address of the second medical aid and the second patient had moved to our address.

By the time we got back into quarters we heard the second ambulance arrive on scene and our cold footed patient was toastily on his way to the ER for a dry gown and a blanket.


Comewhinewithme said...

Thank you for sharing your stories:-) My dad is a firefighter so finding a blog like this was very, VERY good news for me! Keep up the good work and always remember that you are doing one the most important jobs in the world. You guys are amazing!

Erin said...

People go to the ER for a blanket and dry gown? Seriously?

Chip said...

Our EMS co-coordinator would be on the phone to AMR in a heart beat to deliver a blistering rebuttal to that stupid protocol. Which is why we run out own ALS units. And by the way they are "Urban Naturalists" not Homeless as we were informed by a local social worker.

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Comewhinewithme- I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

Erin- Yes they do. Sometimes they go in just for a meal, or because of name it.

Chip- Urban Naturalist. Got it. AMR doesn't really care since they lost the contract and will be gone by the end of the year.

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