Rescue Breaths or Compressions in Overdose?

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  Should unresponsive overdose victims receive rescue breaths or chest compressions from lay bystanders? If a person is apneic but not in cardiac arrest, failing to give rescue breaths may lead this person to fall into cardiac arrest. But, if the person is apneic and in cardiac arrest, failure to do quality chest compressions, will […]

Follow Up

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Overdose on Babcock Street. In an alley behind a building. Fire is there before us. A familiar scene. As I approach I can see them hunched over the patient, the bag valve mask out. They have already given her four of narcan. I stand over them looking at the patient. I can’t see her face […]

Undetermined

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Opioid deaths are generally classified as accidental overdoses. In 2017 Massachusetts began reporting opioid deaths as “All Intents” where they previously reported them as “Unintentional/Undetermined.” They point out that adding suicide deaths only marginally adds to the count. By their statistics only 2 percent of the total opioid deaths were confirmed as suicides. Massachusetts Opioid […]

INSIDE LOOK AT LIFE AS AN EMT

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I recently participated in a project to describe the daily routine of an EMT to help people considering a career in EMS.  The final product was published this week on the website below. INSIDE LOOK AT LIFE AS AN EMT Here is an excerpt: 5:30 AM: I punch in and checkout my equipment, my house bag […]

Connecticut Overdose Deaths Plateau

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Overdose deaths are declining in some states, and they appear to be plateauing in Connecticut. Overdose Deaths Fall in 14 States In data released by the CDC, covering the time period July 2016-June 2017, 14 states showed a decline in overdose deaths, while nationwide deaths rose 14 percent. The data showed an 15.9% increase in […]

Mother and Son

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She curls on the couch sobbing. She found her son not breathing when she came home from her midnight shift. He is on the floor now.  The fire department first responders do compressions on his bare chest. The man is lean and muscled with jailhouse tattoos on his arms, chest, and neck. It isn’t a […]

Dancer

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  I first picked Veronica up on Hungerford Street one afternoon two years ago. We had been called for an unresponsive, but instead, we found a small woman with a club foot staggering along the street.  She was half on the nod and covered with leaves. I asked her if she was okay, as we […]

Happy New Year

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On a private employees’ group Facebook page, an EMT posts a video of a man standing on a street corner, clearly on the nod, asleep on his feet. Another man sneaks up on the nodding man.  He reaches back and then slaps the heroin user hard across the face with an open fist. The victim […]

Angry Snowman: Naloxone Refusals

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An older man with a cell phone meets us at the door to the apartment lobby. His hands shake. He motions for us to follow toward the stairs. “What’s going on?” I ask. “I just went out for ten minutes and I came back and found him.” “Is he breathing?” I ask. But he does […]

Chest Wall Rigidity

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You are called for a seizure in the men’s room at McDonald’s. You arrive to find an approximately thirty-year old man stiff and purple, gurgling. “Versed?” Your paramedic student says as you break out an ambu-bag. “Check his pupils.” “Pinpoint.” You hand him Naloxone. “Give him 1.2 IM,” you say. He looks at you like […]

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