Questioning

I could hardly believe it, the first job of my shift was to the 45+ Stone patient who was my last job on my last shift.
It only took 45 minutes to get him out of his flat this time, which just goes to prove that practice does indeed make perfect.

I promised answers to some of the questions asked in my comments area, so here goes…

Do you deal with a lot of hoax calls personally?

In my own personal experience, I have found that hoax calls tend to be fairly rare these days. The youths these days tend not to make hoax calls – instead they set objects on fire and wait for the Fire Service to turn up. Just a few nights ago, the target of these pyromaniacs was my block of flats. One of our crews was on the way to a job, and as they passed my flats saw flames leaping out of a window. One of the refuse chutes had been set on fire, along with a couple of waste bins.

So, no. We don't get many hoax calls, we just get people causing trouble.

When people are having epileptic fits, is there any medicine you can give them

Paramedics carry Diazepam in rectal and intravenous forms, which can be used to bring people out of fits. Unfortunately EMTs are not permitted to carry or administer these drugs – in my eyes I think it would make a lot of sense for us to carry these drugs, as seizures can be a life-threatening condition.

Do you have to do any paperwork after a job

Yes, I do, I have to fill in a 'Patient Report Form', which contains the patient's details, what is wrong with them, their 'vital signs', the times that I get to the job, and finish the job, how far I have travelled and space to 'code out' the patients problem.

I also have a 'Running' form, where I fill in the times to the job (again), the miles I've done (again), Where I went to (again) and the serial number of the patient report form.

Then there is a special RRU form, where I fill in the times (yet again), the mileage (yet again), where the job was (yet again) and do some maths to work out if I got to the job in less than eight minutes.

Luckily I don't have to fill in HIPAA forms or anything like that – but it does seem that most of the time I'm filling in paperwork rather than actually seeing patients.

What do you give for a heart attack

In London we give Asprin, which reduces the mortality of a heart attack by 25%, and GTN (nitroglycerine) which 'opens up' blood vessels, hopefully allowing more blood to got to the heart so that the damage done by the heart attack is minimised. In some parts of the country ambulance paramedics can give anti-thrombolytic drugs. These 'clot busters' break up the blood clot causing the heart attack – but because of the risks of serious side effects and the nearness of hospitals we don't yet have these drugs in London.

You didn't like 'Constantine', what was the last film you liked?

I went to see 'Robots' last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Laughed out loud at the fart jokes, the Britney Spears pastiche and the ever funny Robin Williams. There are lots of interesting films coming out in the next couple of months, so I'm considering getting a Season ticket.

I think that's all the questions, many apologies if I've missed yours. If you want to ask me anything then please do feel free to leave a comment, or drop me an email.

9 thoughts on “Questioning”

  1. Thanks for the answers!! Here in the US we have diazepam for seizures, and aspirin, nitroglycerine, and morphine for heart attacks. EMT's don't carry any of that, only paramedics.-MS

  2. out here in english rural countryside our paramedics Thrombolise on scene then convey to a cardiac unit Because here it isnt possible to get to Angioplasty which is far more availible in London. , they also have large stocks of morphine. again only paramedics.Another Question:- do you in LAS take a patient to a hospital with angioplasty capabilityes when ecg indicates MI?

  3. Tom, whats involved in up skilling from EMT to paramedic? Downunder, after 3 years of work and study you qualify as an ALS paramedic (there are very few BLS paramedics in urban areas now). After 2 more years experience you can apply to up-skill even further as an intensive care paramedic which involves 12 mths of intensive study. cheers, Andrew (PS Start work/training in 10 days!)

  4. We do get a fair number of hoax calls in control. Most of them can be spotted a mile off, however, and consist of someone under the age of 16 requesting police, fire and ambulance for some unfeasible event. They usually hang up when you read them back the address they are calling from, or, if they are in a call box (which they usually are) tell them to “look up at the 'security camera' in the box so I can see your face” or “the doors of the phone box will now lock automatically – the police are on their way to catch you for making NAUGHTY HOAX CALLS”. Obviously, you have to be 100% sure that it is a hoax before you do this, otherwise someone will die and then you will get the sack.I also spend a fair deal of time when working on the dispatch desks calling back suspected hoaxes from call boxes until a member of the public answers and confirms there are no dying individuals lying around that we ought to be attending to.

    One or two do slip through the net, though. There was an almighty ruckus when some really “funny” people decided to tell us that someone had fallen down the stairs and then given birth to her sixth baby on the spot. A whole fleet of ambulances and midwives turned up to find a bunch of sniggering teenagers on the doorstep and no sign of any woman or baby. They didn't even have the sense to give a false address. One of the midwives rang up and shouted at me for half an hour.

  5. I wouldn't like to try getting an IV line into a casualty having an epileptic fit! Mind you, I don't think I'd really like shoving a suppository up their bum either.Excellent blog, been reading it for a while now.

  6. It really burns me that as an EMT-B in Maryland, check this out, WE CAN'T GIVE ASPIRIN FOR A HEART ATTACK. Aspirin. Now, granted, where I'm at, a medic's probably another two, three minutes out, but things go wrong, people show up at the wrong address, etc., and you feel like such a tool….I think it'd be even worse in more rural areas of the state. What am I going to do, give somebody Reye's Syndrome? Grr.

  7. Yep, with a confirmed MI (via 12 lead ECG) we can bypass A&E departments to take the patient to one of the three hospitals in London to do emergency Angioplasty.Otherwise, you go to the local A&E for Thrombolysis.

    (I think it's three hospitals, I'm not too sure on the number but it's something like that).

  8. You need two years experience as an EMT out of training school – then you apply for a course that takes 20 weeks (I think, something like that) , where you learn more anatomy and physiology, more medications, and spend time in hospitals cannulating and intubating patients.And that is basically that, with the exception of Emergency Care Paramedics who are taught to deal with minor injuries and wound care (in order to cover for out of hours GPs).

  9. GASP!So you aren't allowed to give an over the counter medicine (well it is over here in the UK) which will let you cut mortality by 25%

    That, is frankly shocking.

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