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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dead On Arrival

The tones jolted me out of bed sometime around 0330. Sometimes waking up for a call can be so disorienting it's funny. I've walked the wrong way down the hall and then out the side door of the station only to realize there wasn't an engine there. I've made it to the apparatus bay and had to stand dumbfounded because I didn't know what type of call we were going on so I didn't know if I needed to put on my full turnouts. This time wasn't that bad.

As we pulled out of the station with our red and white lights casting strange reflections of the surrounding buildings dispatch informed us that we were going to a possible full arrest. They also said that the family was unwilling to do CPR and that PD would be responding (the police are dispatched in case they can get there quicker).

As we pulled around to the back of the apartment complex we could see a police car. At least on officer had made it in before us. I jumped off the rig and grabbed the monitor and the drug box. Walking in the front door I saw 3 family members crying and hugging. They knew this wasn't good. I made my way to the back bedroom where I found a cop trying to assess weather or not the 80 year old man was breathing. The officer was more than happy to get out of my way so that I could do my job.

I found the man laying on the floor next to the bed. I assume that the officer move him to the floor so that we could do CPR but I'm not certain. As I approached the patient I could tell he wasn't breathing. I felt his neck where the carotid artery should have been pulsating but it wasn't. I told my engineer (another medic) that it was a full arrest. I quickly checked the body for any signs of obvious death but found none. My captain immediately asked the family if there was a DNR. While I started chest compressions my engineer put the patient on the monitor. Asystole, flatline.

At this point my engineer and I gave a knowing look at each other. This patient was gone, but we still had to go through the steps...just in case. My engineer started a line and took charge of the drug administration. My captain came back in and took over chest compressions. I grabbed the airway bag and set up the intubation equipment. Once I was set up we did another check on the patient. He was still apneic and pulseless with asystole on the monitor. We resume CPR. I inserted the ET tube into the patients airway and attached the ResQPod.

The AMR crew walked in and asked if there was anything they could do. At that point we had everything under control. We gave them a run down on what we had found and done. After going through our H's and T's to make sure we didn't miss anything we terminated resuscitation efforts. My captain then had the job of informing the family and seeing if there was anything we could do for them.

We packed up the gear, cleaned up our trash and covered the body with a sheet. We left the body in the custody of PD until it was determined if this death was going to be a coroners case. I'm sure it wasn't.
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