Hit And Run

There has been a bit of bad news, in that my new crewmate won’t be returning to work until much later in the year.  I’m thinking of putting some plans in motion to get me a temporary crewmate.  Obviously I’ll let you know here how it all works out.

I did three jobs last night and all of them are ‘blogworthy’, here is the first of them.

It was actually the second job of the night – we were sent out of our area for a ‘Pedestrian Vs Car’.  Often these are ‘nothing’ jobs, the person isn’t badly injured simply because there are very few roads where a car can get up the sort of speed to cause serious injury.  Then I had a look on our mapping terminal and which road it was.

“Bugger”, I said to my crewmate, “could be a nasty one…”.

We got there quickly and found an FRU already on scene along with some police, one of the officers was holding the patient’s neck as still as possible.  The patient was writhing around the floor in a mixture of fear and agony.  The FRU paramedic looked rather relieved to see us.

As I jumped out of the ambulance he came over and told me that it was a hit and run, that she’d been thrown some distance and that she had an open fracture of her arm.

An ‘open fracture’ is where a bone has been broken and is sticking out of the skin.  There is always a worry about infection in these sorts of injuries, we also worry about nerve and blood vessel damage – it is a serious injury.

My first concern however was to protect her from any other injuries – specifically any neck or back injuries, and then to get her off the cold dark road and into the warm and well lit ambulance.  Then we would ‘scoop and run’ to the hospital which was less than three minutes down the road.

First things first – I told my crewmate to get our scoop stretcher and trolley bed off the back of the ambulance, then I grabbed a cervical collar and, taking control of the patient’s head, placed it around her neck.  It is here that I’m glad of my hospital experience, as she was wearing a necklace that I took off before putting on the collar – you can’t x-ray a neck that has a necklace on it, and once the collar is on then any necklace is that much harder to remove.

While I was doing this the paramedic was putting a temporary dressing on the patient’s fracture, so while I was holding the patient’s head I started to talk to her.  She didn’t remember anything about the accident, and she kept repeating herself.  While this can be normal after a traumatic event, it always makes me consider that she may have received a brain injury as a result of either hitting the car, or hitting the floor.

I was certain that we weren’t going to ‘stay and play’ at all.

We strapped her to our scoop, lifted her onto the trolley and then put the trolley in the back of the ambulance.  We could have put needles into her, filled her with fluid, given her pain relief – but with the closeness of the hospital I thought that the best thing for her would be out of my ambulance as quickly as possible.

In her confused state the patient kept wanting to poke at her broken arm, so the journey to hospital was mainly taken up by my holding her (working) hand while standing over her so I could talk to her in a vain effort to try and keep her calm.

Soon we were relaxing at the hospital having handed the patient over to the resus team.  Speaking to the FRU paramedic, he had been returning to his station after an equipment failure when someone had jumped out at him and shouted that the patient had been hit by a car.  As he put it, “four months on the FRU and the most interesting job I get is the one I get waved down for when I have no kit in the motor”.

My crewmate asked me later if I missed A&E nursing.  While generally I don’t (because, like this job 80% of it is ‘crap’, but it’s crap that is hard work), I do miss a ‘nice’ trauma sometimes – because my first thought is to get the patient into hospital I don’t often get the chance to use my trauma nursing skills.

But then again – I do now get to drive the wrong way down the road.

15 thoughts on “Hit And Run”

  1. I think the undertakers in the area I came from originally are a bit overworked at the moment – one of my uncles died Monday last week (well, he was 78 and had been given three months to live four years ago, so I suppose he did quite well, all told), and the undertakers were fully booked until this Monday. Well, we could have had a late afternoon slot on Thursday, but that wasn't convenient for the rest of the family…Talking about undertakers – I was one of the bearers, and my uncle was the first occupant of what seems to be intended to be a grave for four (uncle, aunt, and two unmarried kids). Six feet under? It was more like twelve feet under and we were all rather concerned that the ropes would run out before the coffin reached the bottom, I was leaning over with my hand quite near the ground before he finally reached the end of his final journey!

  2. When you say you 'can't xray a neck with a necklace', is that because of a resultant ambiguity in interpreting any xray with big lumps of foreign metal in it, or is it something more fundamental. I know what xrays are etc so I can't imagine what fundamental reason there'd be for not being able to xray when a necklace is in place…but it wouldn't surprise me, nevertheless.

  3. May I?Imagine there is a small but important fracture right where the metal of the necklace is. But you can't see it because the metal is obscuring it on the x-ray.

    Man, I want to drive the wrong way down a one way street too. Not much call for the in the operating room, either.

  4. Glad that you had a 'nasty'/good one (or three) to get you started back at work. Hope the poor victim will recover OK. What's more, I hope they catch the nasty so-and-so that ran.Bet you are glad that you are now in a BWT and no longer have the frustrations that the FRU you relieved had!

    Good luck with the temporary partner hunt! Otherwise you may end up back on the FRU!!

  5. please tell me you saved it…when paramedics strapped me to a backboard, they just threw it on the grass. my boyfriend (from where he was talking to the officer) heard me yell to him to get my purse and necklace off the lawn. I know that concern for the patient is most important, but concern for their belongings is also important to the patient.

  6. It always seems strange to me that you lot seem to enjoy or get more pleasure/satisfaction from when someone is seriously hurt.Surely you would have the best shift possible if no-one at all was hurt anywhere.


  7. that's not going to happen though, is it?If you had trained several years to be a chef, you'd be frustrated if nine out of ten customers wanted you to prepare them a pot noodle.

    If you'd worked hard doing exams to be passed as an electrician, you'd get narked if you were only called upon to help change people's lightbulbs.

    Similarly, Reynolds has done all his medical training and worked at it, and yet he still gets called out time and again to people who really need the services of (a) a taxi driver or (b) their mum. Jobs like this one, however, are the jobs that make the training and wacky shift patterns worthwhile.

    I think. Oops. I'm being talkative today.

  8. Oh definately – I stuck it in my pocket and handed it over at the hospital. I'd hate to be thought of as stealing/losing someone's property.

  9. And Batsgirl wins award #2 for correctly answering a query before I can get to it.I don't like to see people getting hurt – but it just makes such a change to do something *worthwhile* that it comes across as a 'good' job.

    Strange I know…

  10. yea, thats like as i play hockey goalie, the best match for me is when i do most work, but for the team when i dont!

  11. I think batsgirl had a pointIf you are an undertaker you might even want people die otherwise you'd be unemployed.. I know it's kind of absurd but imagine there is a period where nobody dies and you think (or pray 🙂 “c'mon, gimme a job, mate”

  12. I won an award! I do believe I'll eat a celebratory late-night biscuit. Everybody else should have one too. Share the joy.

  13. Tom, it sounds like you were calling the shots there. Is there a hierarchy between the two of you in an ambulance? Are there different grades / types of people in there, or are you both equally qualified?Steve.

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