Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thrift Store Return

All of us have a second hand store somewhere in our area.  Whether it is a Salvation Army, re-purposed store front, or every Monday in the church hall place.

These places are on the rotating call list for us too.  Wait, you don't have a call list?  Think about it.  Scan your memory bank for the last week or two of calls,  I'll wait...

OK, nursing home, nursing home, other nursing home, chemically challenged individual, taxi, taxi, used stuff store.  There is apparently a law of averages that seldom allows us to deviate from the prescribed dispatch pattern.  Yet it must be interesting or I wouldn't be bothering you now would I?

Start song by Macklemore: "I'm gonna pop some tags/  Only got twenty dollars in my pocket/
I - I - I'm hunting, looking for a come-up/ This is f-ing awesome"

Man lying on the ground in front of the Thrift Store.  I respond to help the BLS crew because I know there is no ALS available.  Sometimes you just need another pair of hands..This is that time.  I pull up behind the Police (a good thing) and see a bystander doing CPR on a bloodied man laying on his back on the sidewalk.

The officer says "clear" and I head on to the sidewalk and let dispatch know it is a full arrest with by stander CPR.  I can hear the ambulance siren in the distance.  Another person with a CPR mask is attempting ventilations on the bloody face of the victim.  Attempting because you would actually have to tilt the head back and actually have to blow into the mask to do anything effective.  Please step away and thanks for your help.

"I'm an LPN I know what I'm doing" says the person doing CPR on the left side of the patient's chest.  OK, stop for a pulse check, who is he and did anyone see him fall? I think you can actually hear the crickets chirping at this point.  Low Paid Nurse tells me he is obviously alive because he is breathing.  Agonal respiration honey, sorry they don't count.  We continue compressions and the ambulance arrives.

It must have been a quiet day because out of town ambulance shows up too and we are connecting the AED and rolling him on a board at the same time. SHOCK ADVISED. Clear... jump.  Check for pulse.  GOT IT!  Let's get him out of here.  ALS pulls in.

Everyone gets in the clown car, I mean ambulance and heads to the ER.  I suggest that the bystander throw his mask away and he says he will clean it because it was expensive.

I approach the LPN to talk about her knowledge base and the quality of her CPR.  After being told that I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't work in Home Health I give a long sigh and ask her to review her Pit Crew CPR process and suggest that taking a radial pulse isn't correct...

Anyway I help the Police pick up the mess we left, let them know how much we appreciate them and listen to the cop's story of how he attached the AED.  I told him he saved the guy's life and that we will recognize him later.  His badge seemed to sparkle a little more as I left.  All in all not a bad day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Airport CPR

Please turn off your sarcasm meter because the following post will peg the needle.

After a cross country trip to attend my uncle's funeral my father and I were returning home via the fastest accessible means- an airline.  The trip there was uneventful, the family and the funeral were upbeat and I was just concerned with getting my 80 year old retired dad back home.  We made it as far as the gate for the first leg or our return trip.

No this is not about my dad "having the big one"- or even me for that matter.  It's about clothing.

Apparently my dad noticed something odd about a guy not answering his wife and he leaned over to me and said "I probably should have told you not to wear your duty shirt when we left the hotel." What are you talking about?  Cue man falling from chair to the floor and woman screaming.

At the next instant the cattle at the gate appeared in wild stampede.  Not to help mind you but to get a better view of whatever was going on here.  And then the murmur started:  Hey, he's a fill in the blank EMT, fireman, paramedic, do-gooder, and the spotlight came on.

Needless to say my role playing, retired chief, father, gave me the aren't you going to do something look and I headed over.  He said later that he didn't have the "look at me I'm a fireman" shirt on so he felt no obligation...anyway at 80 if he did help we would have probably had two patients.  So begins a lesson in crowd dynamics.

You go get an AED!  You call 911.  Who else knows CPR?  Does he have a history, pacemaker, defib, yada yada yada.  At this point, as I am starting compressions I note that no one is doing anything.  Not talking, not moving, nothing.  Sir, would you please go get an AED?  Can someone move these chairs?  Cricket, cricket, cricket.  From herd of cattle to band of locusts.  Apparently this was the perfect storm of a group of people that had never heard of CPR or 911.  Great.

Soooo, I called 911 as I was doing compressions and began talking to the dispatcher.
What is your emergency?  I'm doing CPR.  I'm a fireman and need ALS here at gate 51 (how appropriate) quickly.
Please remain calm sir.  Is the person laying on the floor?  Look I'm not able to answer your questions right now I'm starting the second round of compressions.
"Antek, m√≥wisz do tego idioty."  Which is what I said in a stern voice to my dad as he came over and picked up the phone and left.  We often talk in Polish when we need to make a point between the two of us.  It was simply "Tony, can you talk to this idiot?"

Finally an airport employee sauntered by and grabbed an AED.  It was the Three Stooges after that as she laid it down upside down, the shrieking AED box alarm screaming in the background and the crowd turning ugly with comments like if he was doing good CPR he would be alive now. Really?

A doctor jumped in to help but lost interest when he realized that there was no one to bill.  AED connected, analyzing, continue CPR.  Rats!  A police officer ran up and told everyone to get back.  Including me.  Ah, I'm doing CPR can I stay?  OK, but no one else.  Everyone get out of here!

So what seemed like an eternity, according to my smiling dad was just about four minutes and the cavalry arrived.  Paramedics, firemen, chiefs, more police, and several guys dressed in suits with behind the ear piece things.  At that point I gave my report and moved out of their way.

They were efficient, but if you know my track record you know that the poor guy never had a chance and the entourage left with the nervous wife in tow.

Epilogue:  My dad actually went to another gate told them what was happening and was probably the one that actually got things rolling.  He collared the cop and sent him over and directed the ALS crew to me.  Not bad for an old guy.  Then he he offered to buy me another shirt to wear but I declined.  Apparently I like the limelight.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Zoiks! Change with Strings

Hey first thanks for coming back to read this stuff.  I have been on a self imposed hiatus and I want to get back to providing the useless drivel that I normally share with witty observations thrown in to keep you off guard.

Let me share my stumble into the 21st century.  Our county is not without its share of supporting cast members.  Generally they are supportive but distant.  That recently changed.  Our county government is spending a large amount of money on emergency services and it has not gone unnoticed.

We have a new multi-county communication center under construction.  The county stood the first year cost of the I Am Responding System to help volunteers track availability and response to calls.  A partnership has been developed between the county, community health, and Fire/EMS to address recruitment and retention issues now and in the future.

It appears to me that the Commissioners have realized the inadequacies of our present system and are doing everything in their power to help us get to the next step...whatever that is.  Now how do we respond?

This new focus, rather than the laissez faire attitude of the past will challenge us to look at both who we are and how we do things.  I'm not sure that it will be well received as it is foisted on us but if we look at the opportunities it opens for us how can we not be excited about the potential?

What is your reaction to new things at work, home, or in your community?
Are you an early adopter, early or late majority, or a laggard?
How can we push our groups to become innovators instead of adopters?
Can we identify positive needed change?
And "what about Naomi?"

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not So Sweet Sound of Music

Doe, a deer a female deer

Ray, the medic on the call

Me, the name I call myself

FA, the start of what was said….

SO, what will my penance be?

LA, it was the newest in the fleet!

TI, it’s technically not my fault!

That will bring me back to

DOUGH we’ll spend to fix this thing!

With my apologies to Julie Andrews.

So the calls were diff breathing, round trip, unknown medical, CVA, diabetic emergency, chest pain...DEER!!!
Somehow the normal bitching about trip sheet paperwork pales in comparison to the detail required for an accident investigation. Ah well, who needs sleep? The good news is that no one was hurt, we were recalled from the scene, and as the officer I was only too happy to call the chief at "zero dark thirty" and update him on the above pictured results with his brand new less than 2500 miles on it ambulance.

Resuscitation was not attempted on the animal.

To be honest I didn't like where the fog lights were mounted anyway.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just Like We Planned, Not Quite

Friday night is my thing.  I don't know why I have just always enjoyed doing things at the end of the traditional work week.  Recently it was no different.

Many of our firefighters enjoy taking our turn on the ambulance.  It is a real opportunity to get out and interact with the community, dust off a few skills, and just maybe help someone.  I ask for open shifts because the "we live for this" calls are really drying up for the fire only set.

So we are out tonight with an Explorer in our ambulance.  We allow young high school aged students with an interest in health care or EMS to ride along as an observer and maybe help with a few simple things in the back of the ambulance.  It's a great program and the kids get credit for community volunteer work that they need for graduation.  A win win if you will with the hope that they will continue their interest and get the training to replace me in the not too distant future.

We were in the day room listening to dispatch after dispatch all around us until finally the dispatch Gods hit us for an ALS call on the other side of the middle of no where.  We were headed deep into our fourth due area.  Get out the map books!  Luckily by the time we got there the ALS fly car had secured a recall by physician and we headed back out to a non-dirt road.

Then another dispatch a mile from us, covered by the returning  local area crew.  We were thinking about  a nice leisurely trip back involving ice cream.  Then just as they say, when you least expect it, expect it.

Rescue, Engine, Squad, covering ambulance (mine) multi-injury MVC.  Car into a bridge, with ejection and...we didn't hear the rest because we had our siren on and the Turbo begging for fuel.  We were past station five before the chief responded and arrived immediately after the police.

As we arrived on scene we saw a person on the road, and others in the car.  We split and I did Mass Casualty Assessments and prioritized the three patients.  It was at this point that I began to understand how lucky we were that this particular Explorer was with us.  He already had backboards out collars ready and was talking to the police officer holding traction on my patient.  By the time the rescue arrived we had the patient on a board and headed to our ambulance.  ALS arrived and we started preparing for the arrival of a medical helicopter.  Eventually a second medic and another ambulance showed up to complete treatment on the other two patients.  Both units provided transportation to trauma centers.

This is the way it's supposed to work folks.  Efficient, expedient, effective.  Thanks to a bunch of firefighters that "just did their job" and an extra pair of hands that provided us with the stuff we needed even before we needed it lives were saved.

We missed ice cream that night. We even got back after shift but we felt good doing good.  Those calls don't come around everyday but when they do we fall back on our training and the educated help of our brothers.  It's good to know that we can all rely on each other.  Thanks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Let's take some time to review the past year.  No extravagance just see what we've accomplished:
Ah...  OK, not too much.
What about goals?

  • Figure out what we're doing and take some classes to remember it.  Incompetence make all of us look bad.
  • Not everyone deserves respect, but give it to them anyway.  Because if  you don't you disrespect all the rest of us trying to do a good job.
  • Hold the Holier Than Thou for church.  We don't know what other health care providers are up against every day so don't dis them either.
  • Driving to a call like you are at a NASCAR event?  Stop and think of the consequences, and hope you don't kill me.  So help me God, I'll come back and haunt you with back to back to back nursing home calls on every one of your shifts.
  • Act like a professional and you will be treated like one.  And so will the rest of us.
I appreciate the tenor set by Rescuing Providence, Ambulance Driver, and Happy Medic.  What can you add?