My Patch

Nothing for eight hours, then we get a call for an unresponsive. When we arrive, a man meets us at the door and he says, “They are not certain if she is breathing.” We enter the house and I see an officer standing in a bedroom doorway. I can hear the mechanical voice, “No shock advised.” I step into the room and see a woman on the bed, who looks like a corpse. I am surprised when I touch her that she is warm. Because of the kifosis of her spine, her head hangs suspended in the air. We get her down on the carpet. She is asystole. My preceptee has trouble with the tube, and after two tries gives me the blade. I look in and can only see the epiglottis. It is a difficult tube, but I have been anticipating this. I have been thinking what I would do when I encountered this situation again. I take a moment and collect myself, then extend my arm more and turn my wrist . The bottom of the chords are in view and I pass the tube. While the preceptee gets a line and start pushing drugs, I am already saying this is going to be twenty minutes and out, but we soon have some activity on the monitor. I am thinking it is just the epi and she will soon brady down, but the rate picks up. Soon she is cranking away at 170. On the capnography, my reading has gone from a 5 up to a 32.

At the hospital, the doctor asks why we have worked this person – this is futile. She seems to me more upset with the situation than with us. I don’t disagree with her — it is futile to hope that we can bring this woman back to any kind of cognizant life — but we have our protocols. The lady may be fixed and dilated, but she now has a heartbeat. My patch says the same thing it does everyday PARAMEDIC. It doesn’t say GOD. We had to bring her in.

I feel bad my preceptee didn’t get the tube – I explain it was a hard one – but I will admit to feeling good I got it. I had been frustrated lately. Even older paramedics can have confidence problems. The woman is still alive when we leave.


  • scruffymedic says:

    Hi Peter, this is Joan fr Singapore. Going to take my ambulance evaluation in a few weeks time. As much as i do hope to get my very own patch too and trade up my red cross for the star of life.. sometimes i wonder too how i would feel about my first AED protocol alone. I guess we just try to do our best because we love the job.

  • PC says:

    Hi Joan-Good luck. I’m sure you’ll do fine. I am enjoying your blog!best,PC

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