Friday, April 21, 2006


Tonight's the last in a set of night shifts and it has to be said, I've only done two jobs that could be classed as interesting. I have, however, beaten my previous ridiculous call.

I was sent to a 35 year old male with chest pains. Normally these calls turn out to be muscle strain from a lot of coughing or heavy lifting, or pain caused by hyperventilating.

This one surprised me - he was complaining of crushing chest pain, which rang alarm bells that he could be having a heart attack (MI). While I waited for the crew, I did the usual tests, but couldn't find anything wrong - all the readings were normal, and he didn't look ill. It appeared to be nothing much on the face of it, but something still niggled at the back of my mind that there was something more going on, so I gave Aspirin and GTN for the pain. If it wasn't an MI, it wouldn't do any harm.

The crew arrived, and took him to the ambulance on the carry chair. They did a 12-lead ECG while I did my paperwork in the car. The driver came up to the car when they'd finished and told me they'd found signs of a heart attack on the ECG, and took him off to hospital on blue lights.

The other interesting call was a man who appeared to have fallen off the bed and hit his head. He'd been found unconscious by his wife when she'd come in from work. He had a small wound on his forehead which had bled profusely (they usually do), and although he had asthma, there was no sign that the collapse was due to an asthma attack. His wife thought he'd been drinking - they'd had a tough time lately - their son and grand-daughter had recently died. I felt sorry for him, and wouldn't have blamed him at all for having a drink or two after that. It still didn't quite add up - I couldn't smell any alcohol, and there was no sign of a head injury other than the obvious cut.

I had to go to the hospital later, and I saw his wife. I asked her how he was and she said they'd not found any sign of alcohol, but they'd put a tube down his throat (intubated) and had sent him for a scan of his head. I don't know what happened, but I rather suspect he had a bleed into his brain. As if the family didn't have enough on their plate.

The most ridiculous call I've been to though, was a 40 year old man with 'flu, who'd been coughing relentlessly and had chest pain because he'd pulled a muscle in his chest wall. The thing that made it so ridiculous, was he lived opposite the entrance to A&E. The crew walked him across the road to the hospital.


Blogger Spike said...

The thing that made it so ridiculous, was he lived opposite the entrance to A&E. The crew walked him across the road to the hospital.

LOL. Bet he was the biggest whinger.

6:57 am  
Blogger David said...

"They did a 12-lead ECG while I did my paperwork in the car" That surprises me.
So you don't carry a 12-lead on the response cars? Do you just have an AED then for portability?
Sorry, just wondered...

11:14 pm  
Blogger Steve said...


No, we don't carry a 12-lead on the car. We have a propac so can do a 4-lead if necessary, but it doesn't print, so isn't much cop really.

Besides, imagine lugging in your response bag, oxygen bag and a Lifepak 12 machine to every job on your own.

1:05 am  
Blogger Druss said...

Just wondered do you have pre-hospital thrombolysis? we unfortunatly carry the lifepak 12 in the rru as well as a shockbox giving maxmum flexibility to the patient and maximum strain to the staff.

12:48 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi Druss

We don't thrombolyse in London, but we can directly admit a patient for primary angioplasty (heart surgery to open up the blocked artery with a plastic tube called a Stent). Being in London, we're fortunate that we're never much more than 10 mins away from a cardiac cath lab that can do this, and the service is available to us 24/7.

But I'm sure they'll introduce pre-hospital thrombolysis in the future.

6:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our FRVs are about the same, we (on the crews) always make jokes about them being work shy and lazy but seriously I'm amazed they can carry all their kit, respoonse bag, drug packs, o2 bags, shock box and old lifepack 11's for a 12 lead and a shock box. Can't quite afford lifepack 12's for everyone, but all our para's thrombolise and with having some fairly rural areas where the FRV could easily be waiting 20-30 mins for a crew they need the 12 leads.

1:55 pm  

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