I’ve been rather apathetic about my blogging recently, sorry about that. I had a pretty busy week last week, including a search for a misper in Mountain Ash on Thursday which left me exhausted for Friday. Friday night was on shift with the first responders right through until Saturday night and what a busy shift that turned out to be – 11 calls in total according to my notes. At least I had a bit of a lie in on Saturday.

Tonight was agaKin out with the ambulance service – something I’m really enjoying though it is frustrating at times. It’s frustrating because the knowledge that I have in terms of diagnosing and treating some conditions through mountain rescue could be applied here – giving Hypostop to diabetic patients having a hypo; giving Entonox to patients suffering from painful trauma; giving aspirin to a patient suffering from a possible heart attack – just three examples where we could make even more of a difference to the community.

Take the last few calls for example. We had a two hour battle with a lovely old guy who was having a very bad hypo – only the second of his life and he’d had diabetes for some 20 years. When we turned up, the wife was able to take a blood glucose measurement for us and between us we managed to get him to take some sugar and some jam. We can’t perform blood glucose measurements ourselves and we don’t carry Hypostop (actually I do for mountain rescue but can’t use it for ambulance service calls). I’ve had a call to an elderly lady who fell – a “nan down”. She’d broken her femur, that much was obvious from the swelling and deformity, but she might also have done some damage to her knee. I had no analgesia – we don’t carry Entonox – and so I could do nothing for her other than monitor her and keep her company. The last 20 minutes of the hour-and-a-bit I spent with here were very worrying – she was starting to deteriorate and I had nothing I could do or give her to treat her. If the crew hadn’t arrived as I was getting my phone out, I would have been on the phone to control to ask for an RRV to back me up – I was concerned at that point about her slipping into hypovolaemic shock. Finally, a few weeks ago, I saw a gent who was complaining of classic heart attack symptoms, and all we could do was watch and wait. I did call for an RRV on that one because I was worried, possibly not necessary, but I’d rather be dragging an ambulance officer out of bed to come and slap on a 12-lead ECG for nothing than having my patient die.

So a frustrating time at the moment. If the ambulance service insist on sending us to these calls where we are currently achieving nothing but stopping the clock, then at least give us that tiny bit more in terms of skills and equipment that could make such a huge difference to someone’s life.

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One Response to “Apathy and frustration”

  1. James says:

    We’ve been allowed to dispense aspirin for about six months now, although I don’t think they’re consistently distributing it to all the responders. I know one responder who’s a paramedic, and another an ambulance technician, and both get frustrated with their limits when they’ve got their responder hats on.

    Personally I’m not sure I’d want to do much more as a volunteer with the ambulance service.