Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emergency Interuptus

This one will be difficult to explain.

Have you seen a movie or TV show where someone is being taken to an Ambulance and another person runs up to the gurney and asks the person on it, "What happened? Are you okay?"

Well, things like this happen a lot in real life. Sometimes they are concerned neighbors, or coworkers. Sometimes it's a family member who arrives just as we're leaving to go to the hospital.

"So what?" you say"? Well, if the person is being taken to an Ambulance AND they are very sick and/or dying, this act of concern is only preventing the transport of your sick and/or dying loved one to the Hospital where their life can be saved.

Make sense? If they need to go now, they need to go NOW! And you are preventing this from happening.

This happened recently, though it did NOT change the outcome for the patient. Whatever happened would have happened anyway.

We responded to a shooting victim just a few blocks from our Station. When we arrived, the patient was lying in the street, his head being cradled in the lap of a woman. We did a quick assessment, and also found out at the same time, that the woman was just a passer-by, a good Samaritan who stopped to comfort the patient. Because she was in the way, I asked her to leave. Twice. The third time I had to tell her to leave NOW!

What was she doing? well, she was comforting the patient telling him how everything would be okay, and that she was going to leave, and that the "Paramedics" were going to help him.

Well, this patient was shot in the chest. The only way he was going to have a chance to live, was if he got to a hospital to have his wounds taken care of by surgeon. No kind words of comfort would do anything for this patient, or save his life.

Harsh? Yes, but the harsh truth. Did it matter in this case? Did that woman help cause the demise of this patient because she was in the way, and we could not load him into our gurney until she moved out of the way? I don't think so. I think he would have died anyway, just from where the bullet entered his body.

But who knows about the next time? Are you one of those "What happened?" stop the gurney type of person? Are you the kind of person who does not get out of the way once the proper authorities arrive to take over?

For the sake of the patient, I hope not.

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