101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Tuesday, September 1

Your sister is not my Medical Director

Each time I sit down and try to share this tale, I sigh and tell myself to calm down and try again another time. Being able to calm myself down is truly a fantastic sanity maintenance device. The young lady I met this night needs to learn it. Fast.

THE EMERGENCY

Two vehicles have collided in an intersection, PD states one occupant seems to be "panicing."

THE ACTION

We're sent code 2, or no lights no sirens to the nearby intersection where PD has already been able to close the intersection, set flares and even one wrecker has already arrived.
The passenger of one of the cars is in full hysteria mode, not unlike my three year old when you ask her to go wash her hands. She is crying, mumbling about making it to work in 2 days with no car and reaching out grabbing onto anyone who walks by.
Noting no injury and little mechanism from the crash to indicate such a thing, I move into dealing with hysterical clients.
"Hi there, I'm Happy and I'm here to see if you need some help. Are you hurt in anyway?"
She breaks down and just screams and cries. The boyfriend, who was driving and is also uninjured, tells me she started crying when the first police car arrived. She has trouble calming down he tells me.

Really?

I pretended she was my daughter and coached her through taking some deep breaths and trying to get her to laugh. Laughter is kind of like the synchronized cardioversion of emotional responses. You can go from balling your guts out, have a giggle and go back to normal in seconds. Works almost every time.

She calms after my patented one armed fisherman joke and agrees to climb into my office for a quick once over, but mainly to remove her from the stressful situation and into more of a comfortable space.

Now calm and settled, she has only a vague discomfort to her sternum below where the seatbelt kept her safely in her seat. I explain that is not unusual and everything else looks just fine. We offer her a ride to the ER, which she declines, the boyfriend will keep an eye on her and call an MD should anything change. After the usual legal disclaimer and autograph, we're back in service and heading back to dinner.

Suddenly the radio blows up with tones.
"Engine 99, Medic 99, Captain 99 and Rescue Squad 1 for the chest pain following MVA, possibly trapped..." to the same intersection we were just at. We told dispatch to hold the cavalry and turn around.

We pull up to the same two cars, same police cars, same everything except one officer shaking his head and looking down.
"I tried to tell her, but she won't listen" he tells me as I get out and there, on the side of the road in full hysterics, is the woman I just left calm and collected.
I open the side door and motion for her to get in. "I know I told you you could call us back for any reason, what changed?"
"I...called..." and the water works continue.
I gave the "WTF" look to the boyfriend who told me, "Her sister wants her to get checked out."

"What do you think I just did? I did check her out, she's fine. Do you want a ride to the hospital?" I ask her and she nods.

No treatment is indicated so I simply modify the report I had yet to complete on the way to the hospital. I spoke by telephone to the patient's mother explaining that I had performed a complete physical examination finding nothing of concern.
"Does she have whiplash? Her sister thinks she has whiplash. She should get checked out." I just handed the phone back.
"Is your sister a doctor?" I ask her to which she shakes her head, "She doesn't have a job right now."

"When you get the bill for this," I tell my uninsured friend, "Send it to your sister. All of this was her idea, let her pay for it."

8 comments:

Triple Beeper said...

How y'all keep this job for years without smacking these people is beyond me. At least on the phone I can roll my eyes.

Capt. Schmoe said...

Larry H. Parker got me six point one million dollars!

Michael Morse said...

I was just thinking about the absurdity of low speed mva's and our response then this magically appeared. Must be kharma!

I've been a bit swamped lately, sounds like you were on a rescue, (ambulance)

I'l be back to read down some posts, I've got a lot of catching up to do!

brendan said...

WTF. The fact that they even dispatched that assignment without checking with you first just reeks of fail.

TOTWTYTR said...

Typical dispatcher logic to send you back to the call you just cleared, BUT buff it up to a full ALS response. Morons.

Speaking of which, I expect that the sister will soon be on a two way radio channel near you. :)

No doubt the waiting room chair at the ED will have magical healing properties.

Triple Beeper said...

Hey, now. Talk about damned if we do, damned if we don't. You guys want to rail on dispatch for sending out an assignment, and a full ALS assignment at that, but you don't know what happened when whoever called to have medical re-respond. It all depends on what that person said. We have guidelines and have to cover our asses just like everyone else. Also remember that guess who probably set up those guidelines? Your white shirts... I'm not saying that makes it right. I'm saying take it up with them.

Ckemtp said...

Simply awesome. I'd love to hear your one-armed fisherman joke. I used the last one you left on my blog like 150 times or so, just enough for my poor partners to *threaten* to kill me, but not to actually kill me when I told it again.

FireCritic said...

I take it she wasn't worth going straight to E and skipping ABCD on your trip back?

Just Kidding....kinda....unless she was worth it.......maybe.....ok I am kidding...