Monday, November 07, 2005

Another Life Wasted

It really puts the wind up you.

You turn up to a job given as a male fitting to find half the Metropolitan Police at the address and the patient sitting on the landing going what can only be described as berserk, trying to kick the banister, pull down curtains, lashing out, look of terror mixed with rage on his face.

We were going nowhere near him that's for sure. We're not paid anywhere near enough to get a walloping.

A relative told us that they'd been on a two day alcohol and cocaine bender, with no food eaten and no sleep. A recipe for disaster, and it came a few minutes later when it suddenly went quiet and one of the officers shouted to us that the patient was fitting.

We quickly ran upstairs, cannulated him (put a needle into his vein, often referred to as putting in an IV) and gave him a drug to stop him fitting. It was as this drug was going in that the breathing stopped, followed shortly afterwards by his heart. We immediately started resuscitation and I got a police officer to call on our radio for a second crew to help us.

I got the trolley bed to the door downstairs, while my crewmate continued CPR with the assistance of another police officer, then four officers helped us to carry the patient down the stairs. As we were putting him on the trolley, the second ambulance arrived. It was single manned, but he'd heard the call for help go out and told control he'd come to us as he was literally just up the road. He helped my crewmate with resuscitation while I drove to hospital.

At hospital, we helped the A&E staff with CPR, and we managed to get his heart beating again on its own, but he still wasn't making any effort to breathe so we had to continue to breath for him using a ventilator. When we left an hour later after clearing up the truck, putting my crewmate's paramedic bag back together, cleaning the re-usable equipment we'd used and writing the paperwork, he still had a pulse but wasn't breathing on his own.

I fear that he has suffered brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to his brain while he was in cardiac arrest (CPR is only about 20% as effective as the heart beating normally, but anything is better than nothing) and possibly from the cocaine abuse.

It is likely that he will still die, but if not I fear he will spend the rest of his life in a hospital for permanent neuro damage - and possibly on a ventilator for the rest of his life if he won't start breathing again on his own. You may be surprised to learn that there are a significant number of people who are like this.

So this is basically a 30 year old chap, who's thrown away his life after spending the whole weekend drinking and taking cocaine.

I do hope he recovers, but I can't help feeling that he won't.

Very sad.

**Update 14/11/05**

We learned over the weekend that the gentleman has since died. It won't be long now before we get the request for a statement from the coroner I'm sure.


Anonymous flip said...

"You may be surprised to learn that there are a significant number of people who like this."


1:39 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Oops - should read "who are like this". Written after another long busy shift. Corrected now.

1:56 pm  
Blogger Merys said...

suprising though, if they didn't like it, they wouldn't do it in the first place.
Life deals some shitty blows, yet there are people who go and deliberately do this to themselves.

4:36 pm  
Anonymous Jennie said...

Someone once said 'There are no vitims, only volunteers,'. Not sure I agree totaly with this, but there are more than a few examples.

11:15 am  
Anonymous Jennie said...

Sorry, that should be 'victims', and 'totally'.

12:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure why why we're still "apologising for delay" ..
a) half the time they dont know there is one
b) its a green 2 there is no obligation to get there in 14 mins or even at all ..

9:53 am  
Blogger Merys said...

Have you heard anything more about the outcome of this patient yet, or is it likely that you will never find out??

12:34 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi Merys

No we haven't heard - we probably won't, unless he's since died and we'll find out when we get the request for a statement from the coroner

6:44 pm  

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