Thursday, October 29, 2009

How 'bout This One Boys and Girls...

This story is true. I reluctantly changed the names to protect the knuckleheads involved.

One of the ambulances from my station was dispatched for an “unresponsive male, possible overdose. Police and family on scene.” The crew arrived and found a male in his 30s, obviously and irretrievably dead. The family members who had congregated were extremely upset and angry- presumably angry that their loved one had taken an overdose of heroin and angry that the crew would make no effort to revive him.

By all accounts it was a very ugly scene. Tragic certainly- but it soon would have been just another dead junkie call in a City filled with them except…

… Except for this especially creepy turn of events- Toni, one of the Medics on the call, lost a small purse on scene. The purse was one of those things that folds in the middle and has a pocket for change in the center. Almost looks like a super sized men’s wallet.

Toni’s purse contained her drivers’ license, bank and credit cards, about $100 in cash, several checks made out to her Avon business and a deposit slip. Now, this would have been a pain to lose anywhere, but especially so in a junkie’s house. A dead inner city junkie whose family hates you.

Now the story takes its creepy and horrible turn- Toni reports for duty the next day, finally realizes she has lost her purse and where she probably lost it.

I’m not sure what the proper course of action is in a situation like this. Really, I just don't know...

Toni picked up the phone and started calling the family members whose numbers she had collected the night before-

“Hi, sorry to bother you. This is Toni from City EMS, I need to ask you a very important question…”

Some amateur grief counseling followed and after 20 minutes and two more phone calls she located the purse (now holding $20 cash according to the young woman who had it)

Arrangements were made and the damn thing made its way back to the station.

First- I was there as the calls were made so I can testify this a true and accurate tale of Urban EMS Bloopers, Blunders and you know, whatever…

Second- it was a total idiot move. Learn a lesson from it and don’t be a dumbass.

Photo from Kekka

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pedro on System Abusers

The bottom line is- sometimes the EMS system abuser gets you, and sometimes, rarely- you get the system abuser.

Later in your EMS management course of study we will delve further into the world of the system abuser but for now let's just say this- EMS or 911 system abusers come in all shapes and sizes of motivations. Some need attention, some view EMS as part of a city wide rapid transit network, they're drug seekers, on and on and on...

Sometimes, the abusers come from inside the system. Hmmm...

So it's a busy Wednesday in the City, when you are dispatched via the County wide 911 emergency system:

"Medic XX go to St Xxxxxxxx Hospital, 6th floor nursing station for a possible non emergency transport, unknown problem."

Very odd, our 911 system is for emergencies- what the hell is going on? Quick check with the District Chief brings this directive, " Go up there and find out what's going on and then get back in service"

Well, we all know what's going on- the girls on the sixth floor got tired of waiting for a scheduled transport and called it in to 911. That's about to blow right the f*** up on them. Sorry ladies...

"Dispatch show us enroute. We're coming from a distance so start the St Xxxxxxxxx Response Truck up there... uh, until we know what's going on, start the police up there as well."

It took my partner and I a good 10 minutes to make our way through traffic and get up to the sixth floor, where we were greeted by an extremely pissed Hospital Response Medic and a bemused but irritated police officer...

... and an RN who held out a large brown envelope and said, "She's in 602, she's going to XXX Nursing Home"

"Well ma'am we've got a problem. You see, when you activated the 911 system you caused ME to be dispatched on a medical emergency... and I can only take an emergency patient to an Emergency Room. So, what emergency room is the emergency patient in 602 going to?"

"Guys, I'm sorry you had to come up here- but I just couldn't take a chance on some unknown problem what with us responding from cross town to the emergency these folks called in."

"Anyway ma'am, I really need to know right now what's going on and what emergency room we are going to. This is an emergency isn't it? I mean, if it's not-we're out of here and you can explain to the officer and your hospital Medic why they're here and, uh, you know, why we're all here."

Long story, short ending- we returned to service with no patient contact.

I can only assume there was no emergency.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pedro On Riding Ghetto Elevators

Ghetto elevators, I hate 'em. I'm talking about the one's with an inch of either green or dark blue paint on the doors, the one's that drop half a foot before they go up. Or when they stop. The one's that are too small for a stretcher even after you fold it like a Transformer.

Ghetto elevators also shudder when they move, have lights that flicker and the cars smell like piss, pot and burning machine oil.

Whenever possible I will take the stairs. I usually arrive on the floor long before the Ghetto elevator. Even when carrying the House bag, even when the landings are filled with Gangstas.

Here is a little known fact about elevators you might not be aware of. Not just Ghetto elevators, all elevators. Store this little factoid away in the back of your mind if you are afraid of elevators:

Once the door of the elevator closes there is less than five minutes of air inside the car. Five minutes. Less if it's crowded. Just five minutes of air.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Read the News Today...

I watched the TV news today- the top, breaking story was a 300 pound guy who got stuck in a window in the City and died. No doubt a tragedy.
We also learned a deer joined in a backyard football game, a grocery store is selling beer, God is good and does cool stuff with playgrounds, home repairs and birthday wishes, the pro football team has an injured player, the coach had his hair shoe- shined or something...

What's missing? Well, ten percent of the Country is out of work, the economy is in the the swirly end of the crapper-oh and in case you have forgotten- WE HAVE MEN AND WOMEN FIGHTING A WAR OUT THERE... somewhere, umm, not sure- it's never on the news...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seasonal Safety Tips

... from your very dear friends in EMS...

It's that time of year again when America needs its annual safety check-up. You know- that stuff the folks in the fire department go out and preach when they find themselves in between episodes of Charmed... (written with a smile)

That stuff is all important- change your smoke detector batteries, check your furnace, buy a pair of snowshoes- whatever...

But those things don't even begin to address how stupid the average person becomes when left on their own to work through even the simplest everyday problem.

So here is the Pedro the Paramedic Fall Safety Short List:
  • If you are going to warm up your car, don't forget to open the garage door- better yet, warm the thing up OUTSIDE.
  • you can't burn the BBQ grill inside- I know, I know- it saves gas and heats up the whole house
  • The ice isn't (or won't be) thick enough
  • Let a pro take down that tree that's growing up through the power lines. You, your pals, a rented chain saw and a case of Bud just don't have what it takes
  • Cinder blocks are not jack stands
  • Snow? Take the bus- 'cause no matter what you think, you're not a very good driver and you didn't crash because of those lazy bastards in Public Works
  • No matter how badly you want to get up on the roof to clean those gutters or put up Christmas lights- don't balance the bottom rung of your 20 footer on the peak of the garage roof to get that extra little boost
  • Sure you want clean stuff but mixing bleach and ammonia won't produce the super cleanser you think it will
  • When you get so drunk on Halloween that the police threaten to Taze you if you don't calm down- hmm, maybe listen this year
Now that is only the shortest of short lists, but, everything above has generated a 911 call that I've responded to- not all of the patients survived. Your list might be, in fact should be, much longer.

And of course no Safety Short List would be complete without an official disclaimer:

The above are presented for discussion purposes only-the author has no way of predicting how stupid you actually are or the extent you may endanger yourself or others because of your innate stupidity or genetic insufficiency. In other words- I am not responsible for you, you are. Good luck with that.

Finally if you get in a jam, it's Nine one one. It is not Nine Eleven. There is not an eleven on your phone- we both know that.

Oh, and if you are the first one this quarter to ask "What's the number for that 9-1-1?" I will punch you. I will.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

PALS Recert

... catchy title eh?

I'm doing my PALS recert tomorrow morning at my Command Hospital. Why? Well, 'cause I'm kinda cheap and it's free there...

I've posted this before- if you take any of the alphabet recerts at an EMS agency you are in and out of class in two hours- or less.

Take the same class in the hospital and it's an eight hour ordeal. I especially love the "practicals"- the looks some of the hospital staff give the intubation equipment is amazing.

That said- I love taking ACLS at the hospital- the boys and girls from the ICU's and CCU's are just dead serious and that is just the way it should be...

But, PALS- people either will not take it seriously or they try to turn the class into some kind of "My Bobby does this thing where..." Hey- some of have to go to work...

So, here is my proposed change to the PALS curriculum for my Command Hospital only- you make your own changes at your Hospital. Now, before you start the but, but, buts- MY Command Hospital has actually had staff meet us at the door and refused to accept critical pediatric patients (Right Vince?)

My new PALS class would go something like this:

"Hello and welcome. I hope you all enjoyed the free coffee. Ok, we all know we're not a pediatric facility, we won't willingly accept pediatric patients and none of you want to be here- so guys and girls... here's the book, here's your card and, uh- see you in two years. Have a nice day!

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