Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I seem to have attracted it since starting work on the car.

Suspended, for those that don't know, is the term used to mean someone who isn't breathing (i.e. they have suspended breathing), and is quite often used to also mean cardiac arrests. Last week, I did three of them in three days. One at the patient's home, one outside a hospital with a minor injuries department, and one inside a hospital.

Scarily, with the two that involved hospitals, when I arrived on scene, there was the most appallingly ineffective CPR being performed.

The first one outside the hospital had a member of hospital staff (may have been a doctor, but probably not) and members of a private ambulance service doing compression only CPR with an oxygen mask on the patient's face.

That wasn't the problem I had, other than wondering why they weren't using a Bag and Mask. The problem I had was the compressions weren't deep enough, and were far too slow. So I ended up coaching them on CPR while setting up my Bag and Mask, and attaching the defibrillator to the patient. To cut a long story short, we did get a cardiac output back, and he was making respiratory effort by the time we got him into hospital, but I don't know if he survived.

The second one in a hospital for people with neurological disabilities, there was a doctor using the bag & mask, and a nurse doing effective chest compressions. What made the CPR ineffective was the doctor was gallantly using the bag & mask, but hadn't opened the airway, so no air was going in. I tried to explain it to him, but he just got confused, so I took over from him and he just stood there watching throughout the rest of the job as the crew arrived and a full drugs protocol was initiated. Despite our efforts however, that patient sadly died.

The one in the person's home was to an elderly gentleman who had been very ill for some time, and his daughter had found him in bed. There was nothing I could do for him, as he was cold and beyond our help. Quite often we can tell when its a "non-viable" resuscitation as soon as we walk through the door, and this was the case with this patient, because he had what I call the look of death. Its very difficult to describe, but anyone who has seen it will know what I mean.

Not back at work until this weekend, and hopefully, I won't have to deal with as much death.


Blogger Merys said...

I'll be thinking of all you medics soon, because i'm observing again! I presume it will be 'observers curse' and be quiet!

11:27 pm  

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