Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not straightforward

A while back we attended to a lady late at night who was complaining of abdominal pain. She had had an accident earlier in the day, but had adamantly refused treatment and transport by the attending crew.

We arrive at scene, and find an emotional woman sitting in a chair on the front patio. She stands up, tells us about the accident, and describes where the pain is - upper hip bone area, right where the lap section of the  seatbelt goes across.

And then she pulls down her pants to show us the bruising.

Hmm...not what I had expected, but we both look away and ask her if she could please pull her trousers back up, the sooner the better. She doesn't know if she should go to hospital or not, but we encourage her to get checked out.

At hospital, they breathalyze her for a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading - which, you guessed it, comes back as well above the legal limit. Upon being asked about drinking, she replies she had a couple to drink after she got home from the accident. Fair enough; but is that the truth? Was she in fact under the influence of alcohol during the accident? The police did not attend (why I do not know, apparently it happened at a busy intersection), and she refused transport. Possibly she wanted to avoid the authorities.

Conspiracy or not, it opened my eyes to the possibilities, and to get the cops involved if there is any doubt at all. Drink Driving is not something that should be taken lightly. Go harm yourself if you absolutely must (although I would recommend seeking psychiatric help instead), but leave others out of it.

A matter of laugh or death

I swapped a shift the other so I could get a day off in a couple of weeks, in order to go to a wedding. This allowed me to work with a friend and excellent paramedic on the ambulance once again - the fellow who taught me the ropes, who I was teamed up with for the first two months of my on road experience.

And it was excellent.

No whinging about calls, no silence in the cab, always chatting to each other, to patients, to members of the public. A very smooth operator. And great in tricky and time critical situations too. What more would you want?

We had a good shift: Started off slow, which allowed us time for some food, a chat to the staff and a drive around our local area (which I was unfamiliar to). A chest pain then came up on our screen, and on came the lights, down went the accelerator. Chest pains are a fairly standard call for us, this one was a bit difficult due to poor details of patient history (our patient had learning disabilities). But nonetheless a job we mastered - especially since I was shown how to do modified chest leads (9 lead ECG) with our 3 leads monitor. Another skill that is excellent.

A transfer next which stretched my partners communication skills to the max...40 minutes and hundreds of bad jokes, singing competitions, stories of the homeland, anecdotes about past jobs and generally made up fairy tales later we arrived at our destination, with a patient with a bleeding ear and a partner with a bleeding mouth :-)

Next up, we got a call where I don't want to go in to any detail at all, due to the fact that the police are heavily involved, and matters may go to court. No space for stuff like this in a public forum, sorry guys (I know you are reading this now with an intense dislike of yours truly growing bigger by the second..."why does this bastard have to tell us that he won't tell us?" Hahaha, curiosity getting to y'all?)
What I will tell you is that it tied up nicely with one of my current uni subjects. Maybe more to come about that job further down the track.

That job only took about 3 1/2 hours all in all, including police statements, standing in the pouring rain, a bit of medical treatment and trying to kill some time in the early hours of the morning. So we grabbed a sausage roll and some choc milk, had a debrief about what happened, and headed back to station for a kip.

Rounding up the day was another transfer with a sedated patient but a chatty nurse, easy enough. I had to head to uni after shift, so on the way back to the depot from hospital I popped myself in the stretcher, buckled up and caught up on some sleep.

Sweet dreams!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Saturday night, and I am geared up for a big night. I want a big night. I need a big night. No tough jobs to sink my teeth in to means no experience for me. Throw it at me, give me the big stuff while I'm keen and enthusiastic.  Please.

Pretty Please?

Nothing too exciting again, but I can tick the burns bit off the 'to do' list. Our jobs were as following:

  • Hip pain. Pretty bad hip pain actually, this was genuine 9 out of 10 pain on movement, zero on lying still. In went the drugs, and out went the patient...still in a considerate amount of pain, but coping. As soon as we had him on our stretcher, the only remnant of the pain was a dull ache, and that stopped soon after, namely when he fell asleep en route. Drugs worked a treat.
  • Abdominal Pain, together with Nausea and Diarrhoea. Got the patient talking and comfortable, and had a smooth trip to hospital.
  • Legs. We should have an additional set in the van for patients. We have a lot of patients with buggered legs. Why don't we carry replacement legs? Our next patient, for example, could have done with another set, together with another heart I s'pose. Patients legs were just absolutely, most definitely, quite over the top full of fluid (right sided heart failure, or congestive heart/cardiac failure aka CHF/CCF). The legs had ulcers on them too. So, what does big pressure, big water and big sores mean? Leaky Legs, correct! There were water droplets, like sweat, all over the legs. Mild SOB to go with it, but the legs were impressive (close to this prize shot I found on the web). A short explanation scribbled by somebody on her notes gave us a good chuckle: "Patients legs have swallowed today". Ah, no wonder they were so big, they had swallowed a 1.5 litre coke bottle *smirk smirk*.
  • More Legs, this time the elements were in role reversal...from water to fire. A Stove had made unpleasant contact with the back of our next patients leg, burning it deeply. In correct drunken manner, a friend had applied betadine - an antiseptic cream. And hadn't cooled the burn. Ouch. Problem is, cream will trap the heat, and worsen the burn. So off we flushed it with Saline, cooled it with wet bandages, and then applied tea tree oil compresses - Burn Aid dressings (messy, but smell lovely!). Our patient stated he was in 10 out of 10 I considered, and even drew up our strongest pain relief medication. Only to see our patient had fallen asleep. So much for intense pain :-) I continued with our other pain relief instead, and made sure the burn was kept covered and cool.
  • Last but not least to finish our limb-o: RFDS transfer for a patient who had taken a tumble and broken his wrist. It was 3am, so patient caught up on some sleep, while I filled out the paperwork and enjoyed the views outside.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Smiles and Spikes

As the title suggests, it was an easy going day with a slightly interesting case thrown in. We had
  • the 93 year old lady (who looked like 63 and who's mind was even younger) who was feeling unwell, probably due to a mild reaction to some prescription medicine - one of the three medications she was one. And that at 93. Go Girl!
  • an elderly patient collapse, again probably due to some reaction to his medication. He would not stop talking en route, all talk and smiles. Makes monitoring conscious levels easy :-)
  • a transfer - slightly nutty old chap, but genuinely friendly. Started a great 'grumpy ld men' performance once he was back in his nursing home room with his long time roommate. Good laugh.
  • an interesting trauma job: Our patient had tripped and fell out on a field. In the process of falling, as you do, she stuck her hands out to break the fall...unfortunately her hands aimed right to the spot on the ground where a couple of rusty metal spikes happened to be. Said spike then penetrated the top of her hand at wrist level, and came out the other end of the top of the hand, where the fingers are. Ouch. My first penetrating wound, but really not much we could do apart from re-bandage. I was very proud though: I remembered I had my camera with my, and took some pictures for the hospital, one of the wound and one of the metal spike. The nurse seemed appreciative of the added insight.
All in all nothing challenging. I'm sure those jobs will come, they are just unfortunately taking their time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Busy Friday and lazy Sunday

Nothing much out of the ordinary though. Friday produced ten jobs callouts for us. Here they are:

  • Female, late 60's, left sided arm pain, relieved with GTN, recently discharged from hospital...and promptly recharged to hospital (well...admitted is probably the more correct term....but if you can be discharged, don't you get recharged at some point in time?).
  • Stood down, call cancelled. I had an inkling this would happen...the ocation was 20km away, and was a report from someone driving by of a person lying on the ground. Thanks to the police, we got to go back to our beloved depot.
  • Priority one inter facility transfer - from one hospital to another. Interesting case this one actually, our patient had had a minor accident a couple of hours previously. To cut a long story short, the patient was not acting strange after the accident because of the accident, she actually had the accident because of having a body wide infection, with a couple of other things going on. Eventless transport, but some good insight thanks to the nice doc and nurse escort. Also an eye opener: you never know what could have caused an accident or funny behaviour!
  • Kid who had grabbed mums sleeping tablets. Two of them to be precise. Two and a half hours prior to our dispatch. I didn't really clue in why we got sent light and sirens, but I was happy that kiddiewinks was alright. We transported mum and kid to hospital for a checkup. En route, child showed me he had a little bit of tummyache, so I gave him one of our great little vomit bags. He then proceeded to open it up, stick his head in to the bag, and make loud farting noises. Yep, this kid is healthy, and this is a taxi job :-)
  • Male, Post assault in pub. No ordinary party at the pub though. It was flintstones night! I was met by Fred, one of the security fellows, who walked me though the club and introduced me to Barny, our patient. Wilma was on scene too, applying some TLC. And Betty was quite upset about her boyfriend. And the whole situation was quiet comical - literally.
  • Picked up a job on our way back to a fitting octogenarian. Poor fellow didn't know what had happened, but he was compliant and came to hospital with us. His wife was pretty upset about the whole situation, and calming her down was not easy, as she didn't speak english.
  • RFDS transfer for a non STEMI patient.
  • Stood down, picked up a Priority One.
  • Female complaining of migraine. But with associated health issues - so warranted an ambulance if you ask me.
If you were to see my case sheets, you would see a direct correlation between progressing of nighttime, the readability of my handwriting and the amount of information on the sheet. Working at 4am brings out the minimalist in you, treatment wise.

I did an additional Sunday nightshift for a mate who did a dayshift for me the other week. Actually, it was bastard mate who tried to tell me he did two resuscitations in a row.
Well, his dream job is to have a really off-yer-knob psychiatric patient. So I told him just that: We had a really psycho crazy mofo who we had to inject with Midazolam and Haloperidol, or else the police would have had to Tazer him. We also tied him down to the stretcher, and placed the scoop stretcher on top of him (tied down again), as a sort of makeshift cage, in case he arched up again. Wow, what a job, crazy.
Well, of course non of this happened, but revenge is sweet. In reality, it was a very cruisy night:

  • Stood down for a Priority 1
  • 80+ female post collapse, heart and abdo problems, all around not too healthy. Off to hospital.
  • Transfer hospital to mens hostel. Nice fellow, great carers!
  • 80+ female, who tripped whilst going to the telephone. Probably won't be coming back home, she had broken some bones and was aware of the implications it had. I felt sorry, held her hand, but couldn't speak her language. Sad.
  • Stood down, the police took care of our person lying on the pavement.

The shift was good. I worked with another paramedic who I really get on with well. Throughout our jobs, we had monty python blaring on the radio, and we were singing along to such hits as "always look on the bright side of life", "eric the half-a-bee" and "never be rude to an arab". Brilliant.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Ooh, look mummy, I've been featured in the new list of blogs up at!

Check it out here, and go pop by the other blogs too - they're well worth it.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Female, post assault, now short of breath, sweaty, complaining of chest pains.

It's late-night shopping in the 'burbs, Usually at this time of night we can get away with our lights only, but the traffic is flowing yet pretty thick. The siren bounces off the walls of the neighbouring houses, mushing a clean wail in to a warbled song from a dying duck who has just hit puberty.

A couple of minutes later we walk in through the doors of our patients house. Our first impression is to take  the pressure down, everything is going good so far. Turns out there was a fight between mum and daughter, and we have a more emotional rather than physical situation to deal with. Attendant attends to patient, I gather some background info for our paperwork. Apparently the daughter is still in the house.


I turn around. This was a child's voice, a little girl. Was that the offender? Nobody to be seen.


A child's voice, young female, a little scratchy, possibly even a little....


...squawky. Damn bird! 

I had not consciously taken in the massive bird cage next to the front door. Cocky the cockatoo (well, a galah to be precise) was toying with my brain, and only trying to be polite. I walk up to the cage to reciprocate the greeting.

"Hello little bird!" I say.

"MEOW" it replies.

This bird has lost its conkers. Absolutely out of its mind, stark raving mad. Then again, if you are a caged bird surrounded by 6 cats, you would pick up a bit of foreign language here and there. As we leave, the bird looks at us and tells us to "nick off". No manners whatsoever.

- ~ -

The other jobs of the night weren't anything special, but here is a quick summary:

  • Fellow released from hospital just hours before, still complaining of neck pain. Back to hospital again for reevaluation and pain management.
  • Kid with Asthma, Kid was fine.
  • Old feller with a blocked catheter/haematuria (blood in urine). Nice chap.
  • RFDS transfer with a sedated, intubated and ventilated patient.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Last monday

Been pretty slow at work recently. Some days things go wrong, some days things work out, and some days people just don't hurt themselves. Just like in real life.

I can't remember all the jobs, one of them did stick with me though: We were called to a teenager, not picking up the phone at home, ?OD. Call from mum.
So off we race, expecting anything from a huffy teenager refusing to answer the phone because she's angry at mum, to an unconscious patient not breathing. We pull up at the address, and mum pulls up at the same time, so nobody really knows what they're in for.

Luckily our patient was in more of an emotional than a physical emergency. She grabbed some pills by random and took them, also displaying some superficial cuts to her wrists. This was not a suicide attempt, it was more of a 'my boyfriend broke up with me and everything else in my life isn't going to plan either' get out of this situation attempt. Pathetic? Timewaster? Some may say, but haven't we all felt pretty down at some time in our lives, especially as a teen? I have, I just never had the will (or the guts?) to do something about it.
I had a good chat to her at hospital, asking her what she wants to do after school, about travelling and so forth, and that cleared up her teary eyes and even got a smile on her face. Job done, patient happy (for a short bit anyway), and I can keep on going with a fuzzy feeling and another smile added to my memory.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Surfing the waves of confidence

They sure are waves. Up and down they go. You get a few jobs that go well, and you work self in to a high. Everything around you flies by, all is rosy, you are superman with superpowers, and your patients get better.

Chest pains for example. Mavis has a bit of chest tightness. Sure, can happen at the age of eighty-one. I'm dancing around the scene, flicking tablets in her mouth, squirting aspirin in her throat, The ECG is a diddle to interpret and all the right questions come rolling from my tongue like hot butter would go through a knife :-)

Then, you hit a few jobs on the wrong angle, and you stumble, maybe even tumble. Things don't run so smoothly anymore. You have to think hard about every step you do. You forget things. You work slowly. Some blindingly obvious things pass by your five senses.

Like the other night. Female, gulping for breath, in a nursing home. I see the patient in her bed, not looking too healthy actually. I feel for a carotid (neck) pulse, fearing the worst. It is there, but it is ever so faint. I turn in to grind-click-sand in gearbox mode. Oxygen? Yes, brilliant Idea. Oxygen tubing getting tied in a knot? Bloody hell, this patient needs oxygen. Frantically untying tube. Sticky plastic does not aid this process. Not happy.

My colleague is watching me. And calmly asks me if our patient is breathing.
Hmm, maybe she isn't. Maybe she hasn't been for a while. Maybe I shouldn't bother with the oxygen, maybe she doesn't need it.
We do our checks, and we fill out a 'life extinct' form.

I feel pretty down.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

catchup post, thursday night

  • Male, not communicating. Really, he wasn't talking, moving - nothing. Physically healthy, but had a history of mental health problems. His mother was distressed, understandably. Not much we could do at scene, so transport to hospital for further psychiatric evaluation. Weird, strange, I felt like a sausage talking to him at home. But I gave him all I could, and I hope he could hear and understand me, and I hope I came across in a good manner.
  • Hyperglycaemic patient (high blood sugar). Again, physically fine, but felt thirsty. This is a good sign of high sugar - it makes you sweat, which makes you thirsty, which makes you drink a lot, which makes you wee a lot. Also, the sugar is high in you blood, but not in the rest of your body (it can't reach there). So you eat a lot. In medical terms: Polydipsia, Polyurea & Polyphagia. Another cool bit of info: Back in ancient greece doctors could tell the difference between diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus by...tasting the patients urine. You see, all diabetes is, is a pateint excreting a lot of urine. Insipidus is due to the body having hormonal problems, which lead to increased urine excretion - you are born with this. Mellitus is the body either being resistant to insulin (type II - 99% of the time older onset) or not producing insulin itself (type I - an autoimmune disease, the body destroys its own pancreatic cells, you have this from birth). Anyway, I digress. We took our patient to hospital.
  • RFDS transfer, liver problems.
  • Patient deceased in Nursing Home (see seperate post above).
  • Priority 1 to a cold. Patient very panicky. I managed to calm her down a little, but in the back of my mind the question lingered "you called 000 for a cold? Anyway, I hope my patient treatment did not suffer due to the fact that she had a cold and was panicky. It probably did suffer from lack of sleep though, this job was at 5 am.
  • This time no priority 1 dispatch, but still a cold. Patient walked sheepishly to ambulance, as he didn't call us, his overly concerned neighbours did. Again, why they didn't take him to hospital himself if they were so concerened remains a mystery. I still treated him as a person, not  timewaster.
No sleep that night. Really tired. Slept like a log that day.

catchup post, dayshift just gone by

  • Resus! A bittersweet one: Yes he lives, but it was a suicide attempt. So no real happy ending. I'd love to go in to more detail, but I'd rather not, otherwise I might end up in a not so sweet spot.
  • Female, Vomiting since midnight. Had been feeling unwell for 12 hours. History of same 10 years ago, diagnosis food poisoning. And even 10 years ago they called an ambulance to get our patient to hospital. Some people just don't learn. Patients son was very concerned about mum, and tried to help us as much as possible (read: got in the way). Why he didn't do his mum a favour and take her to hospital himself remains a mystery. Hgrmph.
  • Polypharmaceutical OD (taken too many too different drugs). Patient started off allright, albeit drowsy. Then things went downhill, and we ended up iwth a completely unresponsive patient. Sights and Lirens to hospital. Good Job.
  • Easiest job ever: backup for a lift. Arrived at scene, helped the crew lift heavy patient from chair to stretcher, and left again.
A good day.

catchup post, nightshift a week ago

The shifts were busy. Busy sleeping in between shifts, and then busy camping in my days off -> hence the lack of posts.
More for personal use (so I can look back and remember all my fun little jobs), here is work from a week ago:

  • Male, cut to head, post fall. Turns out he has been regularly taking 3 instead of 2 sleeping tablets. Also, you are supposed to take these when you are already in bed, avoiding all outside stimuli. Well, this feller didn't, and went a bit crazy. Easy enough of a job, just an eye opener what sleeping tablets can do to you.
  • Bicycle vs lamppost, guess who won? ETOH ++ (drunk). Worlds biggest, and worst, pain impersonator. Your claim to pain is not 10/10. I may be still young, keen and a little naive, but you aint foolin' me. Go to acting school, and try again.
  • Female, SOB. More emotional and walking induced than anything else (familky funeral, and she was ~80 yrs old). Lovely old Lady though. Ramped at hospital for 2 hours :-(
  • RFDS transfer, Female poly drug overdose (OD)
  • Head on car collision, female self extricated, but complaining of strong abdominal pain. Car pulled out in front of her, seems like she didn't stand a chance. Lucky for her she was in a relatively modern car with airbags and some good safety standards. 10-15 years ago this prang would have had quite a different outcome...

Run from the Fun!

Imagine yourself wafted away in to the depths of medieval times, 1485 to be precise.

Prince Edmund: They're coming! Run for the hills! 
Baldrick: No, my lord! They're coming from the hills! 

Prince Edmund: Run away from the hills! Run away from the hills! If you see the hills, go the other way! 

- ~ -

Now come back to September 2009, if you wish. It is a Friday night, and poor old diddums here wants some funky action happening in da van (no, not that kind of action, I'm at work, silly).

Priority ones are being sent out to crews north of us, a dime a dozen, and we are on a low priority job. Then again, the familiar silencer, a long beeeeep, gets sent through the radio, telling the crews that a high priority job has just come in, but has not yet been assigned. "This is us, I can feel it" I tell my crewmate...I sense that he is also on the edge of his seat, hoping to get a more exiting job. This job has the potential, I know it.


It's us, we're closest. We light the night with our darkness piercing strobes and oscillating rotators, and part the traffic with the deafening screech of our siren. The engine roars as my crewmate, who is driving tonight, accelerates with full throttle. Water is everywhere, it's pouring from the heavens above, it's below us, our tyres splashing left and right whilst we crash through huge puddles. 

But hold on, this job is a relatively standard one. Chest pain, although our patient is only in her late 30's. Better than a transfer, and you just never know.

The radio comes to life again. There has been an accident on the freeway, a crew is sent out on a one. Hmm, methinks, I wouldn't mind doing something like that. Then another crash on the freeway, another crew is sent out to investigate. Hmm, methinks again. I want to do freeway prangs. One of those jobs turns out to be big, read about it here. And I get stuck travelling the other direction to a relatively 'standard' job. Enter Blackadder from above. Ah well, the patient had genuine chest pain (cardiac or not I do not know), I did my bit, patient felt better en route, and I managed to insert a few bad jokes on the way, so I kept myself amused as well :-)

The other jobs were nothing out of the ordinary, they were:

  • Mental health transfer. Patient was quiet, and the nurse was also a cycling enthusiast, great talking to him.
  • Regular caller. I had been there before. Patient always claims problems with his heart, and depending on the experience and insight of the calltaker it is either prioritised as chest pain, getting a lights and sirens approach, or as a low priority. This time it was a low priority, so we could finish our dinner. En route I joked to my paramedic that my ECG might even still be hanging on his wall - I printed one off roughly four months ago and stuck it on the wall for other crews to see. And indeed, it was still hanging there. Together with another five print outs. So I added to the collection, patient refused transport, and off we went.
  • Some job, got stood down for next job
  • Chest pain, read above
  • Post assault, brothers fighting. More emotional...well more alcohol than anything else really. Left in care of dad.
  • 0430 in the morning, we drive for 17 minutes to a woman who has severe back pain and cannot get out of bed. Why she wanted to get out of bed at such an ungodly hour eluded me. I shall never find out, because we got stood down and so we headed back in to the depot for some more well needed sleep.
That was my third night shift in a row; I swapped shifts with a fellow student colleague of mine. Right now I am awake, going allright - I have reached the stage of "stuff it, who needs sleep anyway". The previous nights were absolutely crackers, no sleep whatsoever, so last night came as a welcome change.
And if you are reading this MP, thanks for the shift swap, I think you owe me one...or at least four hours of working!

Friday, September 11, 2009

first night

First of the nightshifts in this set of four saw me in the drivers seat again. The weather had been somewhat rainy, resulting in a couple of prangs (car accidents). This is what was flung at us:

Car vs tree: 
  • If you drive a ute, chances are that you are young, male, and don't like slow cars in front of you.
  • If you are a ute, chances are that you don't have much weight on the back wheels.
  • If you are a wet road, chances are you won't offer an accelerating rear wheeled drive ute much traction, thus causing said vehicle to spin 180 degrees and land in a tree, backwards.
  • If you are the driver of the above mentioned car, chances also are that you will be embarrassed by your mother turning up at the scene and picking you up.
  • If you happen to be the nice ambulance people that turn up, chances are they don't want to play in the pouring rain, and are more than happy to oblige to your decline of any emergency treatment. Next job please!
Car vs pedestrian:
  • According to witnesses (we never really got to see the offending person), someone was running in and out of traffic, and got hit by a car. Someone called 000 for an ambulance. By the time we arrive, he has waddled off. Area search, no trace. Next job please!
Altered state of mind, incontinent
  • Yum, fecal incontinence. A first for me, and hooray to the heavens above that I was not attending that night. Gave patient a quick shower, I practiced the art of mouth breathing, and a fresh pateint emerged and was loaded in to our ambulance. Easy.
Altered conscious state, post collapse
  • Female possibly, most likely having a stroke. Patient not overly responsive, so we weren't overly fussed about red lights on the way to hospital, and turned on our funky disco-get out of jail free-get out of my way lights.
Female, 70's, pain to elbow and hip post fall
  • possibly fractured femur. Ouch. Lots of pain relief, some splinting, a gentle transport to hospital and were off. No more jobs please, it's 1 am and I would like a nap.
Female, mid twenties, contractions 4 mins apart
  • Here we go again...I am getting too many of these jobs. This one had its own flavour though, she was suffering from a strong bout of tachysaviourism, a quite vocal condition where the patient repeatedly and loudly starts praying to our apparent saviour Mr J. Christ. Anyway, our patient walked on to the ambulance. Because we didn't want to stay and play, and would rather have a midwife or two helping out in such a scenario, we did a runner to hospital, and left her in the capable hands of the maternity ward. No more jobs please.
Some kind of job, can't remember
  • You know when you are at a traffic intersection in your own car, waiting at a red light, and an ambulance pulls up beside you? and then after 10 seconds, said vehicle apparently can't be bothered waiting for another few minutes for the lights to change? Well, that was us, getting a priority one, hitting the sights and lirens and leaving our poor onlookers to stay stuck in traffic...
Car vs Car
  • Last job of the day, and a near perfect circle. Ute, wet roads, young male driver. This time with some added spice, such as alcohol and hitting another car, whose driver turned out to be our patient. I won't go on about road rules, but allowing young drivers to drive seriously unbalanced (remember, no weight on the back wheels) high powered cars (360 horsepower) is just plain wrong and dangerous.

We got to the accident scene all right due to our funky blue red and white lights, but getting to hospital took ages in peak hour traffic. We ended up back at station two hours after official knock off time. And started 15 mins early. Which makes for a 16 1/4 hour shift.

Last night (post coming soon) we didn't get any sleep. Doing an extra night shift tonight, and it's friday night. Expect some teabags under my eyes. Earl Grey or English Breakfast, the choice is yours.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Death by Ambo?

Nonagenarian patient. Partner asks him if he has ever had any loss of consciousness.

Partner: "Have you ever been knocked out before?"

Patient: "Yes. By Ambulance Drivers"

Loss of consciousness, no loss of humour :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

May I introduce to you...

I wanted to write a catchup post on my last nights shifts, but I can't remember the jobs, and the scribblings i kept are at the we'll have to wait for that one.

Instead (well not instead, this post was planned as well), I shall introduce you to two of my colleagues:

Under the Red and Blues


Vollie Ambo

Both of the boys are from country depots, and a volunteer ambulance officers. I'm feeling a little hazy at the moment, and therefore will not get in to the depth of how our system works, and anyway, that would warrant a post of its own.

Anyway, pop over to see what country WA is like, and if you have some spare time, come down for a holiday. Especially now, when the wildflowers are out!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Only a loser would believe that, the day he stays away from the depot, the depot gets two resuscitation jobs in a row. Luckily I still had my doubts...

Yeah, so my highscore in the below mentioned game is 5. Thise two dodged one from yesterday don't count, I got carried away.

BUT, and yes, there is a but, I have to start counting from scratch today. Because I had my first resus.

And he lives.

Which makes for an excellent statistic. If you keel over and die, I'm your man. All my CPR patients have survived my poundings.

Just don't give me another one. That would ruin it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Extreme Resus Dodging!

Y'all been having fun out there?


Things getting boring? Need to try something new? That little extra that will tickle the last bit of adrenaline from your ad renal glands? Then look no further, try...



- ~ -

The rules of combat are easy. You have to attend as many jobs as possible that have a strong hint of "resus" in the air, or even better, "CPR in progress" written in the job description. Then, turn up to the job, all psyched up for some pumpy pumpy action, and do absolutely nothing...because there is...nothing to do. Do this as often as possible; the first person to actually come across resuscitation efforts loses, and the winner is the ambo with the "most dodged resus jobs".

My count so far (in 5 months): Dodged resus jobs: 7, real resus jobs: ZERO. Zilch. Nichts.

In no particular order, they were:

  • Male, unconscious, CPR in progress: Turns out to be a nonagenarian who had a syncope (faint)
  • Male, unconsious, post submersion, CPR in progress: Bloke who thought he could swim underwater for longer than his friends. He could...luckily his friends fished him from the pool and performed CPR until said friend woke up and spewed water in their face.
  • Female, not responsive, caller unable to do CPR: DOA.
  • Male, suicide, CO2 poisoning, apparently resus in progress: All that, minus the resus.
  • Male, post fall. On arrival, our patient was white as a sheet and had extreme bradycardia (slow heartbeat). 10 minutes later in hospital, he arrested.
  • Plus various little other jobs where a hint of CPR could be smelled, but did not turn out to be (don't really count.)
Today takes the cake though. I did a shift swap with a fellow student, so I could have the day off for a nice long weekend. He did two resuscitations, in a row. Back to Back. Wow.

Normal day to day operations will return tomorrow at my station, I'm sure. Until then, I will be happily dodging my way through the resus jungle....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

farking autosave

OK, just lost 40 minutes of writing about my last two night shifts. Fuck.

Auto save is great. Except if you acidentally delete all the text to write something else, then autosave kicks in and saves....well, blank. How to revert to old autosaves? Nein, das gibt es hier nicht.

Oh crap. I am heading back to bed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Office

I have deprived you, dear reader, from seeing my office environment. So you don't have to go out and hurt yourself to see where I work, I will (virtually) invite you to my workplace:

A few details:
Van: Mercedes Sprinter 315
Emergency warning systems: AWS 1500 Series (I think) plus additional Code 3 LEDs
Some equipment:
  • Zoll M Series 3 lead ECG Monitor
  • Stifnek Cervical Collars (adult only)
  • Zoll Soft Collars (adult + paeds)
  • Carry Canvas
  • Ferno 50/50E stretchers
  • Sandbags
  • Cardboard Splints
  • Manual BP cuffs
  • Bags: Meds/Trauma/Airway/Oxygen.
The two seats on the left actually swivel and fold down, and thus can be used as an extra bed for lying people down (complete with harness). Good for country use with limited resources and mass casualty incidents. In the eastern states they have a little working table instead of the middle seat - probably a better idea.

These new vans are quickly outphasing the older Mark V vans - and so they should in my opinion. The new ones have a few good safety features (LED Lighting, day glo yellow livery, ESP, 6 airbags), and some thought has been put in to the back (more and bigger handrails to hold on to, more cupboards, all seats with 3-point seatbelts). The interior lighting is far superior. Plus there is a handy little table in the back in case you feel like a game of cards.

Best of all, I get to drive a mercedes for work.

second is first

Went Paintballing on Sunday. I was supposed to be working that day, and, to be honest, I was hoping I would not get the day off; I am a big wuss at times, and the thought of little speedy pellets filled with paint hurtling towards my delicate skin with breakneck speed did not sounds like a walk in the park. But it also sounded like heaps of fun, so I did go, and blimey is was good. I had a ball (yes, pun intended).

Back to topic: Arriving at work back for my first day, but the second day of the set of four. As I mentioned before, I like to drive on my first day back, and I erroneously put all my gear on the drivers seat, until my crewmate rocked up, and moved it to the 'hot seat' (hot seat: the attendants seat). Of course, my turn in the back today, duh!

Not much happened that tested me, here is what we did (wait a second whilst I just grab my notepad...Damn, left it at work. Go Go Gadget MEMORY!).

  • Check van
  • Read email.
  • Watch first 20 minutes of reservoir dogs.
  • First Call: Patient with lump in groin, relatives could not get patient in to car, so we got patient in to our car.
  • Transfer from LittleHospital to BigHospital. Child with respiratory distress. Hospital gave appropriate meds, and kiddiewinks slept throughout transport. Easy.
  • Something
  • Something else
  • Watch last 20 minutes of reservoir dogs.
  • Patient collapsed in dentists chair. Patients humour still intact, he states he fainted when he saw the bill.
  • Realise I have splitting headache, take panadol
  • Back to station, lie down for twenty minutes.
  • Night crew arrives to take over. Pack my stuff and leave.
  • Home, eat, sleep.