Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Few FRU Shifts

Wow....is it really that long since I posted? I'm very sorry for slacking off.

I've had some "fun" over the last couple of weeks - couple of weekends ago I was working nights, and my crewmate went off sick with a trapped nerve in his neck, so I got sent to another complex to work on an FRU.

Now one of the main things when working alone, is to have some idea of the area you're working in so that you don't go blindly into a dodgy area and walk into trouble. Fortunately, this didn't happen to me, but nevertheless, I hadn't a clue about the area, to the point that when I got a job, I didn't even know which way to go down the road until the Satellite Navigation gave me the directions. Sadly, out of the 6 jobs I did, only one would have been reached inside the 8 minute target response time......had it not been held for 7 minutes. Not that I'm complaining....the job sounded dodgy and the FRU desk was making sure it was safe to send a lone responder in, for which I am very grateful.

About 3am, a DSO came in and said "I've just had a look at your response times....they're not very good!"
"Sorry, but I've come over here as a favour to the resource centre, I haven't a clue about the area, so I'm having to wait for the Sat Nav to work out the route before I can even turn a wheel."
"Well you could head in the general direction of the call and let the Sat Nav catch up with you," persisted the officer.
"I don't even know which way to turn out of the station. Not a clue. They might as well be telling me the job's in Japan. Sorry, not a clue."
None of the jobs really needed an FRU - I still got to most of them first, but they were mainly along the lines of "I've had this belly ache for three weeks now...the Dr's given me some pain killers, but I haven't taken any....." Good to know some people are just as stupid in every area that you go to.

The next night, they sent me to work on a different FRU. Still not my area, but I did at least have a vague idea as I have a couple of friends who live in the area. It was a good shift to be fair....two stabbings, a car into a shop window, a couple of chest pains (thanks to the adverts - but that's what they're designed to do - make people call us) and a young lady with muscular neck pain (Cat A because of "Severe Respiratory Distress" - she was crying).

Then last Sunday I did a shift swap for someone so they could go to a Christmas Party, I got run miles for an unconscious 90 year old - the call had been held for 11 minutes before being given to me.

It was given to me because there was absolutely no other vehicle available, and I was asked to report on arrival as to how urgently an ambulance was needed as they currently had nothing at all in the area to send as they were already on calls.

When I arrived, I found a very ill elderly lady lying in the narrow hallway of her bungalow, with her equally elderly neighbour talking worriedly into the phone to a call-taker in control. The look of relief on her face when I walked through the door was absolute. It had taken me nine minutes to drive to the call, so she'd been on the phone to control for 20 mins with her very ill neighbour lying unconscious on the floor, making a snoring sound.

This was being caused by her tongue, which had dropped to the back of her mouth - the tongue is a muscle, and at the point of unconsciousness, all muscles relax. To clear it, I simply tilted her head back, which caused the tongue to stretch and flatten out so removing it from the back of the mouth. I then inserted a small curved plastic hollow tube, known as an OP (Oro-Pharyngeal) airway into her mouth. This then sits behind the tongue, preventing it from falling back again, and allows the patient to breathe through the tube.

After securing the airway and making sure the patient could breathe, I set about getting some baseline obs. Pulse, Oxygen saturations, Blood pressure, Blood glucose and Temperature. I wanted to be able to prove my case to control over the phone, otherwise any ambulance that became available might be sent on another call that didn't have a response already on scene, and I needed an ambulance urgently. This was confirmed when I couldn't get a pulse measurement or Oxygen Saturation level on the machine. I resorted to the tried and tested method - doing it myself. I found a radial pulse (pulse at the wrist), but it was very slow between 36 and 44.

I did the blood pressure, but it took 2 or three attempts because the pulse was so slow. It came up at 47/20. I reached for the phone to call control and tell them I needed an ambulance NOW, but they must have read my mind. As I called up the number, I heard an ambulance pull up outside. We got the patient quickly loaded, and the paramedic got IV access, took bloods and set up a bag of fluid to bring her blood pressure up. She was "blued" in to hospital, where the blood tests showed she'd taken an overdose of paracetamol. This must have been going on for quite some time, as paracetamol takes a long time to kill, and destroys the liver in the process. The woman must have been in some considerable pain, and continued taking the paracetamol or it's pain killer action.

I don't know if she is still alive, but we had certainly stabilised her before we got her to hospital, and had managed to improve her pulse rate and blood pressure.

Once again, it's a call I'll probably never get to know the full outcome of. Frustrating eh?

2 Comments:

Blogger Melph said...

Id be interested to know what the calltaker was doing for 20 minutes if the pats airway still hadnt been opened. Its the first thing we're supposed to do..

4:45 pm  
Anonymous Mark Myers said...

Just what I was thinking! Maybe the neighbour didn't understand the instructions?

9:30 pm  

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