Monday, May 28, 2007

One Of Those Days

You can tell it's a Bank Holiday. It's been one of those days where you wonder why you spent 16 weeks in a classroom learning about anatomy and physiology, numerous illnesses, their causes, the symptoms, the airway management techniques, the drugs etc, then spent a further year on the road as a trainee before taking an end of year assessment to qualify as an EMT. For my crewmate it's worse. He's done the "old" paramedic course, and is this year starting the fourth year of the paramedic science degree.

Today, we both asked why?

We've gone, without exception, to the biggest pile of drivel anyone could imagine. First there was the 17 year old with a bit of a temperature and the shivers (because he's got the temperature.)

We arrived at the address to find two large cars on the drive, and inside the house, our patient was in bed under no less than three duvets, with his mum sitting on the edge of the bed fussing.

"Hello, what's the problem, why have you called an ambulance today?" I've started approaching every call in this manner, as you get straight to the immediate problem without going through their life story first.
"Because he's ill - look! He's shivering!"
I took his temperature. It was quite high.
"He's shivering because he's so hot," I explained as I wrestled the three duvets from the patient.
"The last thing he needs are three duvets over him, he needs to cool down."
I thought his mum was going to explode.
"Cool down??!! He's shivering!" It was like a stuck record.
"Trust me, he's feeling cold because his body temperature is so high. Really, he needs to cool down. Has he had any paracetamol?"
She looked at me as though I was stupid. "No, he hasn't got a headache."
"Well the paracetamol will help to bring the temperature down. Have you got any in the house?"
I got him to take some paracetamol, and we took him to the hospital, where the staff had stiff words with his family for calling an ambulance.

Then there was the poor 98 year old man in the "don't care home" (Mark if you're reading this, the one you went to with me on the car) who'd pulled his catheter out.
"Have you tried calling out the on-call district nurse?" I asked. I really didn't want to drag this poor man to hospital just to have his catheter re-sited (about a 5 minute job) only for another ambulance to be called to take him back to the don't-care-home.
"Yes, I called 999," said the bemused nurse.
"No Love, that's us," I said, my crewmate trying hard not to laugh. "I'm talking about the district nurse, who could come and deal with this here."
"No, no district nurse today, it's a holiday."
This went on for a few more minutes, and in the end, I gave up and took the poor man to hospital. The hospital staff told me they've been having the same battle with this home for years, and it's like talking to a brick wall.

And that's pretty much how the day carried on really.

Hope it's better later this week....a certain other LAS blogger is venturing south of the river to join my crewmate and I on another rideout. We will, of course, be trying to avoid vomity calls but trying to find the ever elusive "Suspended" call.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that post made me laugh. I can imagine the look on the mothers face, makes me laugh thinking about it. At least it was a nice easy day for you.


9:53 pm  
Anonymous slurry said...

Good to see this site updated! missed it! I can imagine the mother shaking with rage!

6:31 pm  
Anonymous Maz said...

Well that's an interesting concept - no DN because it is a Bank Holiday? I am a call handler for an OOH GP service and we ALWAYS have at least 1 or 2 District Nurses covering each area over the weekends and Bank Holidays and I wish I could have a quid for every "catheter bypassing" etc call I have passed! Maybe it's different in the 'don't-care-home's' area - I doubt it, but correct me if I am wrong.

8:42 pm  

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