Monday, January 29, 2007

On Any Sunday Morning

When you belong to an emergency service organization you have to do things that most folks just never think about. That's a good thing in most cases.

Every one watches some TV and it's hard to avoid picking up, what appears to be, useful in the real world. People should remember these programs are, for the most part, entertainment. They are allowed to take liberties with facts and reward the good guys with results that are far beyond the real world. CPR is a good example, I do it when needed, but I don't believe it to be effective. When I say, "I do it", I do it exactly as I have been trained.
Most cases of CPR that I have been unlucky enough to observe or participate in, we saved a turnip. No brain function, just a pulse. Then a few days later the family gets to kill the loved one when they have to decide to pull the plug. Ugly at best.

I got one of the calls that we all hate. Possible cardiac arrest, nonemergency, children can't wake their mother. At this point we are doing the funeral home a favor. Drive the speed limit to the station, pick up a unit, drive to the address, at the speed limit. PD is there, walk in check a pulse, absent. The body is starting to cool, it's most obvious at the top of her head. She was under heavy covers and the house was warm. We went out to wait for permission from the coroner to move the body.

A pretty upset officer came out to say, "You have to come in and explain to them why you can't revive her." The children were in their sixties and had some interest in medical programs. They absolutely knew we could shock her and bring her back. There was no way to know how long the children had been trying to wake her, but I knew we had taken way more than four minuets to get to the house.

The next time you get bored, get up before you really want to, then go down to the hospital and explain to the loved ones that momma is graveyard dead, and nothing anyone can do will bring her back. Oh, and while you're at it, don't make anyone cry.

It was just like in the old movies, everyone walked away and then looked back at me.

Goody, I get all the fun jobs.

I try to leave my heart outside, but it always follows me in. I explain to the children, where to check a pulse, why she is still warm. I tell them about the lack of oxygen to the brain. I tell them that the shock only works on a heart that is beating too fast. I have them touch her head to feel how cool it is. The overall effect is a loving goodbye.

Yes sir, EMS is glamour and saving babies, the patients are all starlets, that would be in your district brother, not mine.

1 comment:

Ambulance Driver said...

If we spent as much time convincing the public of THEIR importance rather than OURS, we might actually get to some patients who are still viable.

I don't think it's gonna happen soon, because our elected officials will no doubt think that a citizenry well trained in CPR needs less ambulances.