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Ambulance: Where To Look

Written by RSS Poster StorytellERdoc
"Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal."

I walked into Room 30 to find two eager sets of eyes awaiting me. One set belonged to a young man, late-twenties, muscular and imposing, sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. His eyes were hazel brown, big and inviting, relieved at seeing my entry into their sheltered world. The other set of eyes, darker brown and magnified by her gold-stemmed glasses, belonged to my patient, a woman in her early-sixties. She sat  upright in her treatment cot, knees drawn up to her chest and covered by the thin hospital-issued bed sheet.

Clearly, I had interrupted a conversation between them. Upon my entrance into their treatment room, they gave me the respect and gift of silence, a pause in which I would be able to introduce myself. As many of my fellow coworkers would confirm, this does not often happen. Rather, it is not unusual for us providers to walk into a treatment room only to wait for a patient to finish a cell phone conversation (while holding up an index finger...

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Ambulance: Uptick

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

One the COVID ACT map, Connecticut is still yellow.  It had turned orange briefly, but that was due to a statistical abnormality where old cases that had been recorded on paper back in May were added to the state totals.  

COVID ACT NOW Connecticut

The hospital where I work this week had its first COVID Free Day where no one in the hospital had COVID.  Additionally in a recent study over 600 asymptomatic employees were tested and not a single one tested positive for COVID.  

But trouble is working nearby.  To the North in Springfield, Massachusetts, at Baystate hospital, 20 staff members and 13 patients tested positive for COVID after reportedly being infected by an employee who had traveled to a hot spot and returned to work without guaranteeing or telling anyone.

Another COVID-19 cluster identified: 13 patients, 23 employees at Baystate Medical Center

  To the south in Greenwich, Connecticut on the New york border, there were 41 new cases in a week with half between 10 and 19.  And just yesterday after the state had dropped to its lowest...

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Ambulance: Dragon Breath

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

“Rebound!  Get under the boards!  Use your butt! And rebound!”

I am next to the father of a girl on the team playing my daughter’s team.  He is wearing a mask, but it is under his chin and as he shouts at his poor daughter, I can see the spittle flying from his mouth.  The man next to him is also weaning a mask, but he pulls it down every time he yells at the ref.  “Travel!  That’s a travel!”

All the other members of the team’s fan contingent sitting in the stands nearby are wearing masks, but many of those masks are also on their chins or if they are over their mouths, they don’t cover their noses, and the parents pull them down to yell at their daughters or the refs.

I feel bad for the guy’s daughter.  She is the tallest and heaviest person on the court and she is doing her best, but only when she scores does she draw praise.

I am sure her father loves her, and loves watching her play, but I worry that he doesn’t recognize the seriousness of what is happening in the world.  Why wouldn’t he follow the rules...

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Ambulance: American Summer

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

I originally posted this in August of 2006.

It’s been over ten years I’ve been working in the city. Driving around in the ambulance, you can see the changes. None of the book stores I used to stop at are still in business. The barbeque place in the north end where they sold cornbread muffins for twenty-five cents is gone. The Lion’s Den – the Jamaican vegetarian restaurant — where you could smell the marijuana smoke coming from the backroom when you went in to buy soy patties – burned to the ground and was demolished. One of the city hospitals closed. The nursing homes all have new names. People still shoot each other and do heroin and call the ambulance for dumb things. There are still a lot of drunks, but none of the old ones are left. We don’t respond in the south end anymore – another company does. The fire department is a first responder now instead of the police who rarely ever came in the first place. Instead of navy blue uniforms we wear light blue shirts. There are more medics on the road these days where...

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Ambulance: Home Test

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

I participated in a research project this week, testing a home COVID antibody test. I had to do it while being watched via a zoom link by a study monitor, as well as answering a series of questions about the test.

Here’s how it went. The package came in the mail. After opening it, I placed all the components out on a prepared sheet. I ran my hands under warm water to get the blood circulating, then wiped my nondominant ring finger with an alcohol swab, and pricked myself with a lancet just like the ones we use to test a diabetic’s blood sugar. I hadn’t pricked myself in a long time. When we tell the patient it is like a little bee sting, that is a good description. I still feel it. They give me a little tube to collect the blood. More is needed than what you get to do a blood sugar. I had to milk my finger repeatedly to get enough blood to fill the tube. Next I held the tube over the test kit and dropped the blood into the specified collection hole. Then I added two drops of a buffer solution and waited 12 minutes. Just like a...

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Ambulance: Hidden Bias

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

I don’t like having too many choices.  A few years ago, I wanted to get a bigger TV.  I just wanted to go into the store and come out with something in the 50-60 inch size.  I went into the store fully intending to buy a TV, yet I walked out of there with nothing.  Why? Because there were too many choices.  I could have made an easy choice if it was size alone, but the choices weren’t about size.  They were about features and gizmos and catch phrases for technology that I mostly didn’t understand.  This one had this and that one had that, and it was all too much for me to decide.  I ended up just giving my daughters my credit card and a price limit  and telling them to bring home something nice.

I needed a new dermatologist.  My aunt died of melanoma many years ago, so I am supposed to get an annual mole check.  I was going to one doctor for many years, but then he unexpectedly closed his practice, and I never got a new one.  The other day I noticed a new mole on my arm that wasn’t there before.  While it looked pretty...

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Ambulance: Not Lost

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

Connecticut continues to have low rates of COVID-19.  Our state only has 56 patients in the entire state hospitalized with COVID, we are averaging only 2.2 new cases of COVID per day per 100,000 people.  Our testing rate is 0.8 % positive for a rolling ten day average, 0.6% over the last three days.  Our infection rate is 0.82.  (Anything less than 1 means the epidemic is dying). Our governor has put 32 states on our quarantine list, which requires those arriving from any of those “high risk” states to either produce a negative test result or quarantine for two weeks at home or risk a $2,000 fine.

To combat surging COVID-19 cases elsewhere, Connecticut requiring quarantine for travelers from 31 states

COVID ACT NOW Connecticut

Mask wearing is close to universal.  Here people scowl at those who wear masks improperly — keeping the nose exposed.  Distancing is largely maintained.  This isn’t to say there aren’t violations or occasional large gatherings, but for the most part everyone here is with the program.  I have heard...

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Ambulance: A Love Story

Written by RSS Poster StorytellERdoc
The little things?
The little moments?
They aren't little...

I noticed the two of them shortly after I arrived for my shift. I was standing at the counter, immersed in a chart, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw them walk out of their treatment room. Together.

Slowly, they walked into the hallway, looking first to their left and then to their right, wondering which way to go. One of them pointed down the hallway, grabbed the other's pale hand, and they began to walk toward their destination.

They were obviously in-sync and comfortable with one another, leaning into one another with each step. They continued to hold each other's hand as they approached me, and my eyes locked onto their steadfast grip. As they neared where I was standing, I smiled at the both of them and was rewarded with a return smile from each, doubling my investment.

"Can I help either of you?" I asked, studying their faces as they gave me their attention. Faces etched with contentment.

"No, thank you." It was said in unison. "We're just heading to the bathroom,"...

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Ambulance: The Witness

Written by RSS Poster StorytellERdoc
A picture is worth a thousand words...

The patient arrived in cardiac arrest. He had been brought to our emergency department in the middle of the night. Although he had a significant cardiac history, including bypass surgery, he was only in his late-forties. His transport from his house to our department had been less than ten minutes and the pre-hospital team had done an excellent job of intubating this patient and establishing an IV to begin resuscitation efforts.

His wife was with him. Less than fifteen short minutes before their arrival, her life had been altered forever when her husband had woken her from her deep sleep to complain that he had intense chest pain. Mere seconds later, she witnessed him pass out and become completely unresponsive.

On arrival to our ER, we found this patient to be in pulseless ventricular tachycardia--a malignant, life-threatening electrical rhythm of the heart. Following ACLS protocol, we hurriedly shocked this patient several times, performed CPR and administered multiple doses of medications to...

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Ambulance: Inadequate

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

70,980 dead of drug overdoses in the United States in 2019.

This is according to provisional data newly released from the CDC.

The number represents both a record high and a 4.8 percent increase over 2018.

Connecticut’s death rate rose 17 percent during the same time period.

You can read the CDC report here:

Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts

Connecticut’s fatal OD data for the first six months of 2020 should be available by the end of August.  Based on data I saw recently* about the first four months of 2020, Connecticut’s OD rate was up 24% over the same time period in 2019.

This upsurge (its way more than a tick) is not due to COVID because deaths were up 23% in January-February, while COVID didn’t hit until March.

Why the upsurge?

It could be the continued increase of fentanyl (present in 92.1 percent of deaths in February 2020 versus 79.7 in 2019), the addition of other adulterants such as xylazine (which was found in 40 deaths in the first four months versus only 10 in the same time period of 2019), or just the steady...

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Ambulance Blog List

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (806)
Medic Scribe (277)
InsomniacMedic (219)
Trying My Patients (193)
Trauma Queen (178)
Street Watch: Notes of a Paramedic (158)
Garth Marenghi (128)
Medic Scribe » Medic Scribe (96)
Xf (92)
StorytellERdoc (75)
Minimedic's Blog (71)
A Life In The Day Of A Basics Doc (57)
Brian Kellett (dot) Net (49)
Medic ScribeMedic Scribe (46)
Jerome Mowat (26)
BrianKellett.net (22)
Emergency Egg (19)
ambcontrol999 (17)
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (14)
Purpleplus (11)
Minimedic's Musings (11)
NursaMedic (10)
Random Acts Of Reality (6)

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Emergency Shorts:
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