Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working Hard

It's been a busy weekend...going out right at the start of the shift, not getting a break, and coming back after the end of the shift. That's the way it goes sometimes....but especially at weekends for some reason.

We've had a mixture of interesting and rubbish calls. We were sent to a young man with a cut hand. He met us as we pulled up outside his address, his hand wrapped in a bath towel. We thought he might have a quite nasty injury from the way he was holding it. When he took the towel off, it was all I could do to stop myself blurting out "Is that it??".

It was small cut on the hand, but it had gone fairly deep, but calling an ambulance was still a bit over the top. We took him to the local minor injury unit, where they made sure it was properly cleaned and dressed it, before politely telling him off for calling an ambulance for something that wasn't an emergency.

Later, we were sent on a Cat A call for an elderly man who'd fallen and banged his head. Normally these are green calls - our lowest priority of call, or an Amber call at the most. There was nothing on the screen to indicate why the call was a Cat A - he was apparently conscious and breathing, no mention of bleeding or breathing difficulties. But we can't see the answers to all the questions on our screen, so we guessed there was more to it than meets the eye.

The FRU was already there when we arrived, and we found the patient unconscious on the bathroom floor, with blood pressure so low it wasn't measurable. We actually listened to his chest to see if we could hear the heart....we could, so we knew it was beating, but his breathing rate was falling. We started to "assist ventilations" with a bag and mask, and I went to the ambulance to call for a second crew, because we were two floors up, and the lift wasn't big enough to take our patient flat. Because his blood pressure was so low, we didn't want to sit him up - it would probably have killed him, so we wanted to take him out flat on a board. Unfortunately, the stairs were very twisty, so it was going to be a nightmare getting him out, and we'd need a couple of extra pairs of hands.

While we waited for the other crew, we got him onto the board and strapped him down tightly - we didn't want him to fall off as we moved him. Barry put a line in one arm, while the FRU Paramedic put a line in the other arm. If he did suspend on us, we wanted to make sure we'd got good access into his veins. We put a bag of fluid up and started running it through as fast as it would go.

When the second crew arrived, we manhandled him down the stairs and onto the trolleybed. We all agreed it was the best physical workout we'd had for ages!

We blued him in to hospital, where by the time we arrived, the bag of fluid had brought his blood pressure up a bit, and he was a bit more with it.

I still don't know why the call had come out as a Cat A. It's not very often a Cat A turns out to be a "proper" life-threatening call, but this one certainly was.

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but only just finished it because I forgot about it, so I can't remember the outcome of the call. I have a feeling he pulled through though.


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