Tuesday, August 26, 2008

(Mis)information



I've said a few times before that all I really want to know before I go to a call is where I'm going. Every call we go on, we get a typecode (breathing problem, chest pain, bleeding problem, trauma, etc), and then whatever information they have recieved from the caller about what is going on. This should allow us to prepare for the call in terms of equipment, resources, protocols, and so on.

Unfortunately, they're often dead wrong.

It's not the fault of the calltakers; they can only go on what they are told by upset, untrained, concerned, and often confused callers. That they get as much information as they do is, quite frankly, amazing to me.

Even so, it's often a better idea to not even read the call on the computer.

* * * *

There are the tapouts that make the hair on your neck stand up.

ENTRY: M, 18MOS, UNC, NOT BR

ENTRY: 1 Y/O FEM, NO BR, BLU

ENTRY: BABY NOT BREATHING, LANG BARRIER

All of these will be febrile seizures, with updates saying the baby is breathing and crying, and a hale and hearty baby with a fever who needs some Tylenol.

* * * *

There are the ones that make you think you're in for some serious work.

ENTRY: 2 CAR ACC, ONE VEH ON ITS TOP, INJS

ENTRY: SINGLE CAR INTO POLE, OCC PINNED INSIDE

ENTRY: M, 20S, ARM CAUGHT IN MACHINERY

All of these people will be out, relatively unscathed, and all the resources that have gone screaming out from stations and posts will be recalled, Hurst tools and prybars and plasma torches left in trucks.

* * * *

And then there are the ones that make you cuss, because it's the end of your shift and you can't believe they are calling for this.

ENTRY: M, 30, ABD PAIN, VOMITING

"Really?" I shout at the computer. "Seriously?!" My partner doesn't rise to the bait, just swings the car around and lights it up, headed way up north, twenty minutes before logoff. I keep my rant going, because it's Friday and I'm tired and seriously.

"Come on, dude. You're sick! You've got the flu! Drink fluids! Suck it up! You don't even need to see a doctor, let alone go to an ER, let alone take an ambulance!!"

The fire truck arrives well before us. Of course they keep us coming lights and sirens, because their shift change is soon, and they want to be off on time too. I punch the REFRESH button on the computer, but there are no updates from dispatch.

We finally pull up to the apartment complex. The open door is way in the back, a decent walk from the closest place we can park, on the second floor, up a rickety-looking staircase.

I sigh, and shrug at my partner. "Tell you what, just get the gurney to the bottom of the stairs. I'll go up and see if he can walk down, so we can get this show on the road."

He nods assent, and I trudge over to the stairs, up and around the turns, and into the apartment.

A man in his 30s is sprawled in the middle of the living room floor, on his back. He's blue, covered in vomit, and maybe breathing six times a minute. Fast patches are stuck on his bare chest, and beside him the Lifepak calmly announces in glowing yellow numerals a heart rate of 38 and an oxygen saturation of 79%. The fire crew is ripping out airway and IV access gear. Their medic is at the man's head, bagging him. He looks up at me.

I gape, wondering if somehow I'm in the wrong house.

"We gotta sux this guy," the firemedic says, and I nod. Yeah. Duh. Crap.

I step out the front door, look down to where my partner is leisurely working the cot between cars.

"Hey!" I shout. "Forget the bed, get up here!"

2 comments:

Kristen said...

I got called once for a nose bleed, and she turned out to be in full arrest. Gotta love those days!

Rogue Medic said...

All I want to know from dispatch is the number of patients, trauma vs medical, and if there is any report of violence. Not that these are going to be accurate, but these are things that make a difference in how I approach the patient.

Multiple patients generally means multiple responders.

Trauma means not bringing in much gear, while medical is much more gear.

Violence means wait a few blocks away for PD to clear the scene.