Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday

My blog is exactly one year old today. Shame I don't have a cake....

LAS News

Tom Reynolds, Mark Myers, Beaker and myself have all been mentioned in this months edition of the our internal magazine, "LAS News" which is published every one or two months, although not all of us by name or blog title.

There is a big article about Tom's book, "Blood, Sweat and Tea", and in the article, it mentions that there are other blogs by a couple of control staff (That'll be Neenaw and Not So Newbie at EOC) and a blog written by an Emergency Medical Technician in South West London. That'll be me then.

The encouraging part of it is that the magazine states that the LAS is very pleased with the way the blogs are written to ensure confidentiality of patients is maintained. However, it also says that the LAS is to release guidelines on what bloggers should and shouldn't write about. I'm hoping that they won't try to "censor" us, but we'll all have to wait and see what these guidelines contain...

Friday, September 22, 2006

An Odd Case

Well, since my last post, we've had one or two "slow" starts, but once we've gone out, we've stayed out. Last Sunday we did ten jobs - one of the busiest days I've had at this station. Still nothing particularly interesting, apart from one job.

We were called to a 24 year old female who was apparently fitting. We found her laying on her back on the narrow landing at the top of the stairs. She was alert, but every so often her muscles went into spasm causing her whole body to jerk involuntarily, looking very much like a seizure. It crossed my mind that she might be "pseudo-fitting"- that is, pretending to fit. This happens more often than you'd think and is often used for attention seeking. It's also a favourite of shoplifters etc who have been caught by the shop's security or the police.

This time though, I didn't think she was faking it. She wasn't exactly fitting, and she wasn't pretending to be unresponsive with it. Between the huge muscle twitches, she outlined her medical history. It could have filled a text book, with a chapter before bed every night for a month, but none of it seemed to have any bearing on the current problem.

The next problem was how to get her down the stairs. We were reluctant to use the carry chair because if she experienced another generalised muscle spasm, we'd be in danger of all three of us ending up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The only solution we could think of was for the patient to get herself down the stairs one step at a time on her bottom, with one of us in front of her to stop her falling downstairs if she had a spasm, and one behind her. It was just as well, she had another huge spasm half way down the stairs, and between us, we prevented her sliding down the stairs.

This was the first time I'd seen anything quite like this, and I was a bit baffled by it. I asked the patient if she minded if I followed up on her diagnosis, and she agreed. She spent a few days in hospital, but the doctors hadn't been able to find a cause for the spasms - which she was still having, but had been reduced to head twitches - so they'd decided to put it down to attention seeking.

Maybe it was, but I'm not convinced. If it happens to her again, the family have been told to call an ambulance again, so she may become a regular...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The "Q" Word

There's been a bit of a lack of posts, because I haven't really been to many blog-worthy jobs.

As has been mentioned before on here and other blogs, there is one word that is usually banned from ambulance messrooms, as it is almost guaranteed to make the phone ring with a job. The word is "quiet", and is often referred to as "The Q word".

The station I work out of now must be one of the quietest in the service (there, I said it), and I prefer to be busier than we often are - after all, there is only so much day time TV a person can take. Having said that, our station does have it's moments. Take today for example.

We started at 7am, checked the equipment on the ambulance and topped up one or two items. Then it was breakfast time - Weetabix and coffee for me, and toast for my crewmate.
Then we sat and watched the news. At 8am, the crew for the second ambulance that runs out of our station came on duty.
Then we watched the history channel.

This sort of thing can go on for hours. I've actually managed to complete a shift at this station without going out at all.

It looked like being another quiet shift and I was wondering how much more sitting around watching TV I could take when the phone finally went with a job just after 10am. As we started first, we were first out. The MDT (computer) screen in the ambulance told us we were going to an 11 year old boy who'd fallen awkwardly while playing football and hurt his back. It also said he couldn't feel his legs.
We arrived to find two first aiders next to the boy, who was sitting up, with one first aider holding a hand to the boy's back, but nobody holding the head to keep it still. It turned out he'd fallen onto his coccyx right at the bottom of his spine, which turned out to be minor bruising, and the boy could feel his legs, move them normally.

I don't know who the first aiders were - they weren't St John or Red Cross, but if any first aiders are reading this - if you suspect a back or neck injury, leave the patient in the position you've found them, but take hold of the head and keep it so that the neck is in a straight line with the back.

After that, another football injury. This time a dislocated shoulder which happened as the patient was taking a throw-in. He'd dislocated it 6 times before, so the joint was already weak, which begged the question why take the throw in knowing it may cause his shoulder to pop out?
We took him to hospital. At the request of the doctor, I took hold of the patient, and lifted him upwards and backwards in his chair, while the doctor tried to manipulate the shoulder back into place. After five minutes of tug-of-war between me and the doctor, with the patient in the middle, I'd felt the shoulder move, but it still hadn't gone back in. The doctor tried another method - she gave him a bottle of water to hold in the hand of the affected side. That did the trick, and the shoulder suddenly just dropped back into place.

Next an unconscious man that wasn't, but he wasn't well, so we took him to hospital.

Then a disabled man who couldn't get himself off the toilet, so we lifted him back into his wheelchair just as his daughter arrived. He wasn't injured so we didn't take him to hospital, leaving him in the care of his daughter.

And finally....

A 62 year old man who'd fallen between eight and ten feet off a ladder. He had a back injury, a large lump on his head, a bit of concussion, but no other obvious injury. We immobilised him on the scoop stretcher, and blued him into hospital. I'll write about this job in a bit more detail at a later date, as I think it deserves a post of its own.

It still counts as a reasonably quiet day, but I'm pleased to have finished and be home, and we'll be back in tomorrow to do it all again...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Road Layout

We've got a new road layout near our station. They've moved some of the pedestrian refuges in the middle of the road more to one side, narrowing one side of the road, and put in a bus lane on the wider side. All this so the bus lane can operate for three hours a day in the afternoon.

We'd commented that the road layout looked dodgy to say the least and we're expecting an increase in the number of calls to RTCs on that road. The other day, they'd just finished putting in the red tarmac in the bus lane in the morning. By the afternoon, we'd started to see the first skid marks appearing on the newly laid road.

Then yesterday, our first call. Fortunately it was nothing serious, and to be fair, probably nothing to do with the bus lane at all, but a cyclist had been riding down the bus/cycle lane, passing a line of cars, and someone had opened their car door right in front of him. Luckily, he only had a few bruises and dented pride, his cycle helmet was intact with no marks and his bike was undamaged. We did all our obs, asked the cyclist if he wanted to go to hospital - which he didn't, and waited with him until the police arrived.

I can't help wondering how long it will be before we're called to something more serious along that road.

On another note, it will be my blog's first birthday in just over a week, and I'm coming up on my 100th post. I'll have to see if I can find something "properly" interesting to write about for that one....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Another LAS Blog

I had a great weekend camping - with only one near emergency with the tent. I'll write about it at a later date.

I was reading through the Big White Taxi Service forums earlier, and came across a post about another LAS blog, this time written by a paramedic who works in central London.

You can find it here.