Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is proving to be thankfully not very busy (trying to avoid using the "Q" word!)

I've only done one job so far today - sadly it means that for the family concerned, they'll remember this christmas for all the wrong reasons.

I received the call as an 85 year old male unconscious. The screen also reported he had a history of cardiac problems and that he had shallow breathing.

I arrived on scene to find the patient in the back of a taxi. Not a black cab, but one of the private-hire sort.

I opened the door, and quickly checked him. He wasn't breathing and had that familiar look of death about him.


I was still on my own at this point, so I asked control to update the crew that the patient was suspended, then I had to drag him out of the car so I could lay him down on a hard surface in order to do chest compressions. He was bloody heavy too. I got him on the ground, and quickly cut his upper clothing so that I could attach the defibrillator pads, and found a Medic Alert necklace.

A Medic Alert necklace, or sometimes a bracelet, is worn by people with known medical conditions - angina, asthma, diabetics and epilepsy are the main conditions. This one showed that the patient had had previous heart attacks, was a diabetic, and was a renal patient, which means he had problems with his kidneys.

I cut it off him, as it was made of metal, and I might need to defibrillate him - give him an electric shock to try to re-start his heart.

I then applied the defibrillator pads, and turned the machine on. It showed he was in asystole, which is the flat line. That's not a good sign. As a general rule of thumb, if someone is in asystole, then they are dead. But as ever, there are always exceptions to the rule and you do occasionally get someone back from asystole.

I started chest compressions with one hand, while I was getting the bag and mask out with the other, then a nurse who was passing stopped and offered to help, (to be honest, she didn't have much choice because I'd blocked the road with my car) so I got her to do chest compressions while I used the bag and mask to breathe for him.

The crew arrived not long afterwards, and we got him on the back of the ambulance and we "blued" him in to hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead.

So that, so far, was my one and only job today.

On a happier note, I have been up to the control room, where I bumped into Mark Myers. It was nice to put a face to a name. He was in civvies, as were most of the control room staff. Shame we couldn't do that ourselves on the road, but then I suppose we'd get some funny looks walking into houses in jeans and tee-shirts, and nobody would believe we were from the ambulance service.

Everyone is happy(ish) in there, and there are lots of sweets floating around, and they've even got a chocolate fountain going in their messroom. Lucky buggers. They've got a lovely spread on too, so I felt it necessary to assist them in eating some of it.

Well, it would've been rude not to really....


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