101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Thursday, February 19

You Make the Call...Dog Walker

I'm assigned to an ALS ambulance in the business district. We are sent code 2 to the eval and arrive on a warm summer day to a local tourist area. We find people who have witnessed what they describe as a seizure.
The patient is a middle aged man who speaks little english and a language no one around seems to understand or even recognize.
His vitals are a little elevated, but he certainly fits my model for an ER evaluation.

Here's the trouble spot. He's a professional dog walker and has with him, on an elaborate leash system, half a dozen dogs. He has no car keys, so there is no chance of finding a car for the dogs to hide in for a short while.
He has no ID and no business cards for himself or an agency.

It's not an emergency situation, but we can't take six dogs in the ambulance let alone the ER.
I tried checking the dog's tags for owner phone numbers but each number goes to the home, not the cell phone and we're only leaving messages to call my cell phone.

He needs to be evaluated, I need to get rid of these dogs. The ETA for animal control is 2-3 hours.

What should I try next? You make the call.

6 comments:

the Angry Captain said...

Had this type of call before where we took the dog back to the station till it could be picked up. But never had 6 to deal with. How about getting PD to deal with them?

Jean said...

Call dispatch and ask them to send a district chief to "handle a delicate situation that I can't talk about on the radio and my cell phone isn't working right". When chief arrives, take him / her over to the crowd and quietly explain that you think a riot could be brewing, that the crowd, as passive as they look now, could suddenly turn into a killing lynch mob. Meanwhile, the other crew members move the dogs into the chief's vehicle and quietly get into the ambulance. When the chief tells me I'm wacked and very close to a suspension, I throw up my hands, quickly jump in ambulance and leave Code 3 (emergent) for the hospital. I may still get that suspension.

My dh said that with a tongue in cheek. I would think of trying to quickly find someone responsible to come right over to 'critter sit' until their fate could be decided while you are taking patient in.

The Happy Medic said...

Jean, I love the enthusiasm, but those dogs would later be found in my locker if I called a Battalion Chief and marooned them with the dogs. :)

I did try the same thing with my Paramedic Supervisor though. He told me there was no continuity of care issue on dogs, gave me a few suggestions and drove away, giggling.

Anonymous said...

Get PD to assume custody of the dogs - the backs of the cruisers are (relatively) biohazard-resistant. Or better yet, a roving EMS or Fire officer. Heck, even the department courier could do that. Any of the above stuck with that assignment would probably do whatever was necessary to find and meet animal control halfway. Putting the dogs with PD or any Fire officer would certainly expedite the handover, in any case. You need to go to the hospital, someone else will have to deal with the dogs.

- F4

Chris said...

"I did try the same thing with my Paramedic Supervisor though. He told me there was no continuity of care issue on dogs, gave me a few suggestions and drove away, giggling."

Were the 'few suggestions' along the lines of "f__k off HM"?

thebonnetts said...

i like pie