101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Friday, January 16

...for the transfer... 7:13


One of my favorite calls is to the local dialysis clinic. These folks are having their blood removed, filtered, and put back in, all while sitting in a giant chair either watching TV, knitting or sleeping. But what happens when they don't want to wake up?

THE EMERGENCY
The RN at the dialysis clinic has called stating the MD on the other line, wants a person transported.

THE ACTION
We're familiar with the facility and the staff and most of the customers are familiar. Today's customer is sitting in the chair, asleep.
"Have you filtered her yet?" I ask the technician, getting the standard answer: "I don't know."
She's standing there, in her paper gown, gloves, mask and goggles, but has to retrieve the file to see if she's been filtered yet.
"How long has she been here?"
"Not long, maybe 15 minutes." she tells me flipping through the file.
"So is it safe to assume she has not been filtered yet?" I ask, getting no response. "So what's the emergency?"
"She won't wake up."
I reach down and gently shake her arm calling her name no louder than I've been speaking to the nurse. Her eyes open and she looks at me, confused.
"Is it time?" and she begins to remove her jacket.
"Won't wake up? Did you even try to wake her?"
"I am not permitted to do anything but connect her."
"So you can stick the needles in her shunt, but not shake her to wake her?"
"No."
"Get me your RN supervisor now." I point to the nurse's station where she retrieved the file. A clearly overworked nurse walked over with the weight of folks above who ask too much and folks below that do too little.
"I didn't even know she called you guys again. I'll handle this."
We made sure the woman in the chair didn't want or need us and we left. I've been back since and the nurse is gone, but the technicians still call us to wake the sick early in the morning. Hopefully that RN has moved on to greener pastures.

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