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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Start The Helo

"Engine 59, medic 149, you're responding for a 2 year old female with hot oil in her eyes."

Oh crap! In my district we are about a 30 minute drive from a couple different hospitals that are capable of handling a critically burned pediatric patient. That's 30 minutes, if there's no traffic (did I mention that I work in California, in a major metropolitan area? We practically invented traffic). And of course it was 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday. How bad could traffic be?

I had an overtime captain that day that wasn't familiar with the area. I suggested to him that we start a helo. He called dispatch and asked for Life Flight to be dispatched and for another engine crew to land the bird.

While we were responding to the call I was trying to envision how bad this kid could be and possible treatments that would be needed. I would find out later that the medics at AMR were busy looking at patient destinations and treatment protocols. I guess we all react in a similar way to dispatches like that.

As we walked up to the door there wasn't the feeling of panic that I expected to see/feel. Through the screen door I found the patient's mother crouching down and crying next to her child. The little girl was just standing there. Her eyes were a little red and looked as if she had been crying. But she was no longer crying. I was a bit confused.

The mom, through her tears, explained that her daughter had put an ointment (similar to Tiger Balm) used for sore muscle in her eyes. The mom had called 911 and then thoroughly rinsed out her daughter's eyes.

We canceled the helicopter but still transported the girl to the hospital just in case there was some more permanent damage done. Afterward we all agreed that this call could have been a lot worse.
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