The Gear (Oops)

I wrote recently about screwups with the gear.

Equipment(Brain) Malfunction

This just proves there is always a new chapter.

I checked out my monitor the other day, doing a quick eyeball, BP cuff, monitor leads before checking the battery, doing the user test, and then opening up the back and top compartments for check for electrodes, 12-lead connections, capnography filters, spare paper and defib pads. Everything looks good.

Then later on a chest pain call, I asked my partner to put the patient on the monitor.

Small problem, she said.

Seems we were missing part of the cable. (We had the leads, but not the connection that attaches to the monitor. Someone had pulled these two pieces, which are rarely detached from each other, apart, and then misplaced the cable connection piece.)

I ended up having to put the defib pads on the patient to get a strip.

“Don’t be concerned by these pads I’m putting on your chest,” I told the patient. “Strictly routine, strictly routine.”

He didn’t look convinced.


  • Rogue Medic says:

    And I’m sure that the staff at the hospital were subtle in their appreciation of the “bariatric” electrodes. Sometimes the simplicity of the LP 5 is appreciated. Of course, I have never, ever, ever, ever done this. Oops, now I have to visit the plastic surgeon about that nose growth, again.

  • TOTWTYTR says:

    I never have this problem because generally the crew I’m relieving leaves the cables looking like a bowl of spaghetti. Or is it a snake orgy? Either way, I have to pull every cable out of the cleverly designed LP12 case and recoil it neatly. Other than that, yes this has happened to most everyone. We used to have one wag that would, in the LP5 days, leave us TWO electrodes in the pouch. Funny guy. TOTWTYTR

  • VA FireMedic says:

    i’m still trying to figure this one out…in any event this one has never happened to me, but i’ve defiantly been without electrodes, etc. like totwtytr, the crew before me usually leaves them jumbled and not neat as you found them, so i have to untangle them, thus checking them in the process 🙂

  • Adam says:

    I always recoil my leads. That way I know when I get them out they won’t be tangled up.

  • brendan says:

    Most of the people I work with cram the entire cable/leads in to approximately a 2 inch by 2 inch ball, and stuff it back into the pocket. Having to unwind and recoil them EVERY FREAKING DAY lends itself absolute verification that everything is in order.That said, I can definitely see myself getting hung by my toenails if I used a $60 set of pads to get a rhythm strip. But I’ve never left a 12-lead adapter at a hospital, attached to a patient’s chest. Ever. Did you know that a 12-lead adapter is about $250? I didn’t.

  • Gertrude says:

    I have totally done that. I swear sometimes we are so used to seeing what looks normal that if it s there we just assume its ok. See what assuming gets me? LOL

  • TOTWTYTR says:

    Brendan, you guys are obviously paying MSRP for those cables. The mark up on that stuff is tremendous. Our supply manager considers cables as disposable items and stocks plenty of spares. We don’t lose that many, but we do seem to have a lot of breakage. Seems that balling the cables up and stuffing them into the smallest space possible is universal for the preceding shift where ever you go. 🙂

  • Medicmarch. says:

    Heh. We did our inventory to find we didn’t the trunk cable either, and of course our first call was a chest pain. The patient was feeling very weak and was resting as we did our assessment. The daughter, a nurse, didn’t hear us tell the patient that the pads were just to take a little peak at her heart, and FREAKED OUT when she walked through the door to find my partner and I staring at monitor while her mom was not moving and had her eyes closed.Fun stuff.-MM

  • Rogue Medic says:

    She codes, then you realize there are only pediatric defib pads in the bag. Do you peel the adult pads off the mother and apply them to the daughter, use the pedi pads, or move on to plan C?

  • Witness says:

    RM, Plan C better be “get out your second set of defib pads”! Or, alternatively, “grab the set of pads from the nearest BLS crew’s shock box”!

  • Rogue Medic says:

    Plan C leaves a lot of room for improvisation. If you only have pedi defib pads left, using a second set of adult pads is not possible. Since this post was about not having equipment, there would be no reason to assume that everything that should be there is there. Waiting around for a BLS crew might work (depends how close they are), but the flexibility to adapt to the unexpected is essential in EMS – at least on the street.

  • PC says:

    Thanks for all the comments.PC

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