Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It started out promising...

Less people need ambulances at night (exceptions are Fridays and Saturdays -> partygoers). Generally the public are tucked away in bed, out of trouble. People who are asleep don't trip on the pavement, they don't start fights, and they don't drive (well, some do, but that's another can of worms). But - the number of ambulances out on the road is nearly halved at night, plus there aren't any (non emergency) patient transport crews out at night. So it is generally busy.

So, last night the job numbers picked up from the day, six or seven if I remember correctly. It started off with two genuine priority ones:

  • A patient who had overdosed, we later found out they were TriCyclic Antidepressants (TCAs). Luckily the police pulled up the same time as us, as our patient was behind a locked internal door that needed kicking in, plus the boys and girls in blue are great for getting background info from family/bystanders and are always handy and willing to help with a lift. And for those in the know: apparently our patient had taken 2.5 grams (!) of TCAs.
  • A twenty-something year old complaining of chest pain. A message like this always arouses suspicion; young hearts don't often have many problems, more often than not calls like these turn out to be abdominal pains, or of musculo-skeletal background (heavy lifting anyone?). Anyhoo, we still treat it as genuine until proven otherwise, so we flick the lights and sirens on and whizz off. Upon arriving, we see our patient in bed, visibly upset. Chest pain not as such, but a 'funny feeling'. My partner takes a radial pulse, but can't count fast enough. The SpO2 probe goes on, and so does the ECG. We diagnose Supra Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT). Essentially a fast heartbeat. And this one was fast, we clocked her at 260+ beats per minute.
After those two eye opening, slap-in-the-face wake up callouts, the night just bumbled along, with nothing special to report. Actually, I lie. Our last patients next of kin was not only very easy on the eye, no she also filled our Patient Detail Form out in...Detail! Name, phone number, date of birth is standard, meds is always a plus, but recent blood gas results? Wow!
Off to bed now, and do it all again tonight, this time I get to snooze on the way back to the depot, as I don't have to drive. Yeah :-)