Something really nice happened today.
I was in the supply closet, putting away our latest shipment, when my partner came in and said someone was here to see me.
I walked out through the bay and into the main area and there was a man and a woman in maybe their late forties. The woman held what looked like cookies wrapped up as a gift with a card on it.
It took me but a moment to recognize them.
A week ago we were traveling lights and sirens to the hospital. The man lay on my stretcher, the woman sat up in front. I was on the phone with med control calling in an STEMI alert.
I remember thinking how young the man was and what great shape he looked to be in — he was in fact in his middle fifties. No medical history or ever a prior episode of chest pain. Now he was clutching at his chest, and the ST elevations on the monitor were not subtle.
He told me today he had a 100% occlusion of the LAD (known as the Widow maker)and a 90% occlusion of another vessel. The doctor said because he called 911 so quickly (after just ten minutes of pain) and he got to the cath lab so quickly, there was minimal damage.
We had a nice talk and shook hands several times.
I think all this new emphasis on cath labs and paramedic activation is the best thing to happen for patients in a long time. For so many years we emphasized trauma and poured resources into it, but it is hard to see the results as clearly as in a case of an MI. Someone crunches a tree with the car, the injuries are done, but with a STEMI, you get the patient to the hospital quickly and the blockage gets cleared, why just six days later, they are out walking on a cold winter day like today when the sky is a gorgeous blue and seems to rise up forever.