“I hope that table is strong…”
The stand-out job of yesterday was an epileptic man who had a fit and had hurt his neck. Normally this isn't a problem, but in this case it was a lot of hard work.
The patient weighed 18st, and had fallen face-down in a very narrow hallway, not only did he have epilepsy, but he also had a history of spinal cord injuries, and had a shunt inserted in his neck.. Because of his potential for a serious neck injury we couldn't just sit him up and walk him out – instead we would have to immobilise his neck and find some way to carry him out.
The narrowness of the hallway, and his positioning in it made it difficult to get past him – and where we would normally roll someone onto a scoop stretcher, in this case it was impossible. I hate having to step over a patient, it makes them feel really uncomfortable – but in this case we had no other option.
So we called for another crew to come and help us (did I mention that this job was outside our normal cover area?). After much scratching of heads and throwing out of suggestions we decided on a course of action.
We managed to slide a spinal board under him, then manhandle this (with the help of some of his friends) onto the kitchen table, which was thankfully very solid. We then strapped another board onto his back, essentially sandwiching him between the two boards before rolling him over, removing the first board, and securing him tightly. We now had the patient 'packaged' in a more normal manner.
We then had to lift him out of the house, by manhandling him over the banister of the stairs, out into the street, and finally onto our stretcher.
Did I mention that he kept going unconscious as he suffered one after another minor fit?
Or that he is allergic to the drug that we use to bring people out of fits?
Or that he warned us that sometimes, when he has fits he can get very agitated and violent, and that it would be a good idea if we tied his hands down?
At the hospital, I joked that I would never work with this crewmate again, because his presence was obviously a jinx. But we were just glad that we managed to get the patient out of the house without (a) paralysing him, and (b) without dropping him on his head.