04 February 2010

Charlie Foxtrot

Just when I thought that I had obtained some sort of immunity to stupidity and it's uncertain effects, a new strain emerges. I seriously can not figure what in the world people are smoking these days that has disengaged their brains from their mouths.

Yes, I know I'm in rare form here lately. The mild mannered medic in me has been pushed to the side by the balls-to-the-wall guy who's overdosed on stupidity. I've tried to ration and reason why things are unfolding like they are; karma, complacency, overexposure or burnout. Call it what you may but two times in one day is enough.

We start out this morning right after getting home from my three mile walk around the mall. I'm tired. Not that we had a busy night or anything, but just staying awake all night is enough to make you want to sleep. I've got my pager off and in the charger, however my wife has her radio on unbeknownst to me and this starts a chain of events.

A call comes out in a neighboring jurisdiction for a subject who has fallen in the driveway and is not moving. The alerted station only has a driver and requests an EMT. No response. I'm really not feeling it this morning and have no intention of getting my uniform back on and hauling it out for this. Just ain't gonna do it. There is a fail safe in our system that dispatches a private service in the event the volunteers can't cover a call, and I'm o.k. with this because I happen to work for the service and know what's going on behind the scenes.

The call is dispatched again two minutes later for mutual aid...only this time the call has been upgraded to a code blue (cardiac arrest). I'm still not really worried because I know that right now there is a medic truck from the private service getting enroute to the scene and they are just waiting to be notified by the dispatch center to respond before marking up on the county EMS channel.

Too smooth to be true isn't it. After all, this is my world we're talking about.

All hopes for a good outcome are dashed when a volunteer EMT from my station marks up and says he'll be enroute to assist the neighboring station and wants them to go ahead and respond the truck. Now what this has done at this point is this; that EMT just put a stop to an ALS response. The volunteers in our county have first priority to cover a call, regardless of the type of call. Crazy, I know. While others are planning for EMS 2.0, we're stuck on EMS .25.

Realizing this and and having heard the call, I am compelled by my gut conscious to get out of bed, get my clothes on and get to this call. I am at best only five minutes or so from the scene and dispatch is now advising that there is a firefighter on scene and CPR is in progress. Damn; why couldn't the friggin idiot realized that by the time he or anyone else could get there, a medic truck would have either already been there or just about there.

I back out of my driveway and advise dispatch that "I'll be enroute to participate in this Charlie Foxtrot also." This is exactly what this over-zealous EMT had created by wanting to play the hero instead of letting the call go to the career providers. For those of you who are clueless, we're talking about a genuine cluster f^@*. I've become a little more vocal here lately in calling it as I see it in hopes of making my point. I know it may not be the wisest thing to do...but anyway.

My wife is with me and we're on scene in about five minutes. CPR is in progress as stated, however it is an unwitnessed arrest. I asses, verify pulslessness and apnea and apply the quick patches; asystole. I leave my wife to oversee the preporation for and movement of the patient to the truck while I go to get my lines and meds set up. I am so thankful when I hear another medic signing on scene to help out. It turns out he heard the same thing I did and diverted from his plans to come help out.

Somewhere about the time they were starting to load the patient, EMT Hero shows up...now ten minutes later. He beebops up to the truck grinning and says, "What d'ya say there brother...I got here quick as I could".

"What do I say?", I retorted. "What do I say?...I say you're a completely ignorant dumb ass. You stop an ALS response just so you can run your little red lights and make five dollars for helping cover a call! You are absolutely clueless!!" is pretty much what I said. All this while preparing to intubate the patient. The other medic was just as mad as I was but instead concentrated on establishing IV and IO access and left the berating to me.

After the whole code is over, one of the members from my station comes over to me at the ER to let me know that EMT Hero called him and said he was going to "write me up" for disrespecting him on scene. Somehow he thinks his appointment to the position of fleet officer entitles him to a certain level of stature and prestige and sets boundaries that can not be tread upon.

I'm not sure, but I think I had an emotional moment right then when I heard that.

Part Two: To follow

I'm sitting at work doing what I do at work....um,you know...work (reading blogs). We've got two trucks out of town.....

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