Monday, March 30

Still Alarm Medical Aid

A 17 year old boy presents to the front door of the firehouse with quite the anterior dislocated shoulder and deformity to his clavicle. FROM YESTERDAY. He needs us, but his mother has other priorities.


While wrestling with his uncles, our patient was tackled and his shoulder has been in pain since last night.


We get radio to put us out and issue a number while my partner slides down the pole to help out. That startled our patient who apparently assumed the brass pole was for something else entirely.
He's hurt, no doubt about it. One of the guys is calling his mom who informs us she's only a few blocks away and will come and "get him."

I assumed, and I'm sure you did too, that she would arrive in some sort of conveyance, perhaps a car or light SUV. But since you're reading this and saw my quotes around "get him" you know she is on foot. How is he supposed to get home I wonder? And where was she when he decided to come here, and, and, oh forget it.

Their hospital of choice, Saint Closest, is diverting ambulance traffic so we're on the way to Saint Farthest when Mom asks if there is a fee for the ambulance.
"Yes there is," I tell her, trying to make the ride smooth for our injured new friend.
"How much, like, a lot?" She asks and I judge she was not much older than our patient when she became his mother.
"We'll worry about the fees when the Physicians make his shoulder better, OK?"

She pondered this for a few minutes and, out of nowhere asked the following:
"Can you drive us real close to the ER, then let us out without a bill."
I had to blink. I usually have a smart ass answer for most questions in the front seat, but this one took the cheese.
"Oh, of course!" I said, "We'll just give you a ride most of the way and pretend nothing happened."

I have been told on more than one occasion that my subtle sarcasm often goes unnoticed and is taken as fact.

She smiled and I realized that was again the case.

"Of course not, we have to take him to the hospital. Vans that take people most of the way to the ER are called taxis and are remarkably less expensive."

We got him into the ER at St Farthest with Mom in tow without any other mind blowing questions. As we were leaving my partner asked, "Did she really ask you to drop them off near St Closest?"

"Yup, and I reeeeealy wanted to."


AdCy said...

Love it. What can be more of a priority then your kids dislocated shoulder? Poor guy! And you still use fire poles??? So jealous...

Anonymous said...

I was on my way to bed (honestly) after a long night of too many phone calls and emails with my Chief, training officer, and Chief Goldfeder on unrelated issues, when I was minding my own business and scrolling through my mandatory web checks when I got to this one. I briefly thought "I'll read this one in the morning" when I caught the words 'obviosly displaced' or whatever you said and thought I should read it through now rahter than in the morning. Boggles the mind every time, don't it?
"How much will this cost?" I hear this all the time. But as a volunteer agency, we don't charge. If we need ALS assist, then there's a charge, and "yes M'am, this is necessary to keep your husband alive for the next 20 minutes until he can get some intervention at the Hospital, so we'll worry about the bill later, shall we?"
It tears your heart out on the one side, and makes you want to scream on the other. In this kids case, you probably wanted to slap the Mom. "well ma'am, we could drop you off here and you could hitch a ride home. But keep in mind your son may be disfigured for life and not get too much use out of that there arm ever again."
Good God I love my job. Good God I hate my job.
Capt. Tom