101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Tuesday, February 3

...for the fall...


We were told she had fallen. What was left out was the dog, the nurse and the car ride home. Stop me if you've heard this one.

THE EMERGENCY
An elderly woman has called stating her "Hip has popped out."

THE ACTION
Not sure what to make of the information provided, we're surprised to see a woman standing in the front doorway, in a robe, clearly favoring her right leg.
We helped her the way every EMS crew should and noted no trauma, did the eval thing and found little. It was the response to my last question that got a whole new line of questions started.
"Would you like to go to the hospital today?" I asked.
"Yes, I want to go back. You see the nurse gave me a ride home and said to call an ambulance in the morning."

Stop the presses. He said WHAT?!

I shook my head and asked her to repeat what she had just told me and she did, every word the same.

Enroute to St Farthest Hospital she fills me in on the details of her last 24 hours:
She was having lunch with a friend, reached over to get a fallen napkin and her hip "popped out." Not being one to bother the local Firemen, she had her elderly friend help her to the car and off to the hospital.
After an evaluation, the physician ordered tests and scans and x-rays and then told her she would need to stay the night until they discover the cause of her pain.
She insisted on arranging boarding for her dog at home. Her friend had long since left and lives out of town. So the Doc did what any doctor with an elderly patient who can't walk would do. Got a nurse to drive her home.
She was given instructions to find a boarder for the dog, then call 911 to "arrange a ride" back to the ER for admittance.

I was dumbfounded. We were literally being used as a car service. Back to the ER we go when the staff doesn't recognize her at all. Shift change. So we have to explain, the patient and I, the entire situation and they seem not to notice the blaring misuse of ambulance resources and questionable practice of sending elderly fall victims home with an RN escort.

In the end she got the care she needed and got the dog taken care of, but what a horrible night she must have had trying to sleep on what could have been a badly injured hip.

On a side note, I was apparently a little too heavy on the conversation on this one. From time to time I can get chatty when I get frustrated. As we left the ER I asked my driver where he wanted to go for coffee, he said, "Anywhere you like Eddie Haskel." I smiled.

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