Today was a funny old day.
We had a Community First Responder (CFR) out with us today. These are normal members of the community who, in their free time, volunteer to respond to life threatening emergencies on behalf of the ambulance service. They receive training, equipment and a pager are go ‘live’ after completing some ride-along shifts with operational ambulance crews. They are mostly in remote areas where an ambulance is likely to take a little while to respond due to distance, so the CFR will get activated and sent to the address (in their own cars at normal road speed), and begin potentially life saving treatment.
Having a ‘3rd man’ means the day will go one of two ways. Either tediously quiet, or horrendously busy. Today, it was a mix.
0700: Book on the vehicle and begin the check the equipment.
0720: Vehicle check complete, stick the kettle on.
0723: Round of tea and some croissants brought in by the responder. Delicious.
0800: Catch up on some emails
0900: “Are we definitely booked on?”
0901: Control ask us to go out on roaming standby.
0930: Sit in the park and enjoy the sun
1100: “Emergency for you in the city”
Blue lights on, off we go. The call was made by a ‘good samaritan’ for a lady in her 80’s who was outside her house shivering. Goodness knows what he wanted us to do. We took her back inside and checked her over. She was medically well so we left her at home, nice and easy.
From there, we received an emergency some distance away. A simple faint in the high street. A Down’s Syndrome gentleman who had a heart of gold. He recovered well so we took him, and his key worker, home.
Head back for a break when a Priority 1 backup request comes in from a Paramedic in a rapid response car on scene with a 68 year old male having a heart attack.
To those medically trained:
HPC: Acute onset of CCP while gardening, not eased by GTN – 999 called.
PMH: NSTEMI 6 years ago resulting in CABG, NIDDM, High Cholesterol and medically induced Hypotension.
O/E: Alert and GCS15, good colour and no SOB. c/o: CCP radiating to jaw and L.arm. HR:66, RR:12, BP:138/75, Sp02:98% on air, BM: 8.6 mmol
12xECG= ST elevation in II, III & aVF. (This actually improved with aspirin!).
On the way in, my crew mate informed me that he then had marked elevation in II, III & aVF of 3mm with reciprocal changes in V2 and V3.
In layman’s terms, a heart attack.
A decent blue light drive in with a ‘Red Phone’ pre-alert to A&E, and he was taken straight up to the Cath’ labs in the cardiac centre of the hospital. There, they can perform a life saving procedure which can stop a heart attack in it’s tracks and greatly improve a patient’s outcome.
I’ll try to get an update on his condition tomorrow.
Head back to try that break out again, but a further emergency halts that. 30 min on blues to the address, only to find there’s a paramedic on an RRV there (the same one that was at the heart attack, funnily enough) who didn’t need us.
Head back to base. Finish shift having taken no breaks at all. Not that we minded because we’d had some time to ourselves in the morning. It’s just funny how it can change from nothing to everything in no time at all.
“Ambulance work is hours of boredom broken up by moments of sheer terror” Not sure who said that, but I like it 🙂