101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Wednesday, December 24

...for the abdominal pain...1:13


Actually call 11, but we'll start with the good stuff.

THE EMERGENCY
A young lady has called complaining of abdominal pain.

THE ACTION
It's early in the morning and we're playing a game I call Holistic Detective where we compile a patient profile, chief complaint and actual complaint, then see who was closest in all 3 categories. I guessed, female 16-30 years old, on the porch, thin build, flat shoes and one of those parka jackets with the fur around the hood and her cell phone on in her left hand. I must be slipping, it was in her right.

I start with my usual "You reported a life or death emergency?"
"Yeah my stomach hurts."
"What did your doctor say?"
"Huh?"
"Surely you called your doctor's office or a clinic earlier today when it began to hurt right?"
"No."
"Then what makes it an emergency now?"
"It hurts. My solaplex hurts. How can you make it feel better?"
"You mean your solar plexus? Well, that's not near where you're touching. Who's car is this?" I ask pointing to the nice sedan parked in the driveway.
"My brother's. He's sleeping, I didn't want to wake him up."
"Well then let's go. If you're willing to wake us up and not him it must really be a life or death emergency. Oh, that reminds me I need your billing information."
"My what...wait why?" She asks sitting back down without even a wince.
"Because we have to bill you for the ambulance ride to the hospital. So let's go."
"I don't have to pay, I have food stamps, I can't pay."
"Regardless of how you eat, the ambulance is not a taxi. If you have an emergency I am more than happy to take you to the waiting room at the hospital of your choice, but there is a fee involved, I won't lie. You're even required to sign a form stating that you are responsible for the charges."
"I'm going to wake up my brother then." Her phone rings and she answers, "I'm on my way but I have to get another ride."
I take a peek at my partner who is standing on the sidewalk in the cold dark and he fumes.
"Want to go?" I ask pointing at the ambulance,
"Thanks for nothin' jerk" she says as she gets back on the phone and walks back inside.
I smiled. She really expected an actual taxi ride to a hospital near a friend's house is my guess. And yes, we actually are required to get that form signed. Nothing gets between you and medical care better than lawyers.

1 comment:

Dantarious said...

One night in a metropolis of your past, we had a similar situation where a repeat offender of the EMS Abuse System, contacted us for one of those same free taxi rides. His ailment was the headache he was suffering from. His request was a warm and free ride across town to his favorite hospital (bear in mind, I work within 1/2 mile of two major hospitals), where he had been witnessed several times leaving more expediently than his own transport crew could. Yes, his girlfriend lived a half a block from that facility, and he was a long way from home. Anyways, back to this particular evening, we recognized him, and proceded to advise him about EMS Abuse, the possibility of his Headache being a nearological emergency needing a DT facility, and the fact that the Ambulance was not going to transport past 3 perfectly acceptable hospitals to trransport him across town. Miraculously his headache got better, but we still advised to seek further medical attention, and because the patient was refusing to get into the ambulance, we proceded to illuminate the path with our spotlight so he could safely walk the short distance all the way to the closest appropriate facility. Nowadays, he recieves a law enforcement ride to another mental health facility, away from his girlfriend's house. I feel your pain Happy Medic, I feel your pain...