Just after dinner the tones went off. We were dispatched to the freeway with a neighboring agency for a single vehicle accident in the center divider.
Pulling up to the scene we saw several vehicles pulled over but only one appeared to have been in the accident. We nosed in Big Red behind the accident to give us a little protection as we worked. Some people are like moths to the flame with fire trucks.
We found our patient sitting and leaning up against the center divider. It was a chilly night and someone who had stopped had offered her a blanket. The victim said that she was cut off and had been forced into the median. She had been wearing her seatbelt and the airbags did deploy. There was only moderate damage to the vehicle.
The lady was initially complaining of pain to her right forearm and to the right side of her jaw. While assessing C-Spine I found that she had point tenderness around C4 and C5. As we were going through the process of placing her in full spinal precautions AMR showed up. While I finished strapping the patient to the backboard the AMR medic that was ready to strap her head down said alarmingly, "She's not breathing!"
We did a another check. She wasn't breathing, she did have a strong pulse but she wasn't responding to verbal or painful stimuli. I kept thinking, "Crap, what did I miss." While the EMT grabbed the BVM we loaded the patient onto the gurney and headed for the ambulance.
About the time that we had the BVM set up our patient started breathing again. She was also alert and oriented. The husband (who, from home, had beat the ambulance to the scene) told us that his wife had severe panic attacks and that she often passed out. I'm not sure if that was what happened here but it's something that I would have liked to know when I asked her about her medical conditions!
Before leaving I checked with the AMR crew to find out if they needed anything else. They had a paramedic intern there so they didn't feel they needed a rider.