Following up on a patient.

A little over a week ago I responded to a call, while I was off shift, of a Vehicle Vs Pedestrian.  I had just finished doing standby for the Homecoming Pep-Rally for the town I run my rescue shifts in.

After I was done with the Pep-Rally, I was at the gas station right around the corner from the station filling up on fuel.  I heard two sets of emergent sirens (there are a few patterns, and you can tell which sound means business) and saw two of my cops turning the corner from the Police department and head North.  I was still pumping my gas and was curious what they were in such a hurry for.  I whipped out my phone and pulled up the active calls.  As it was loading, the fire engine came hauling around the corner with lights and sirens at full “yelp”.  I scanned over the active calls and found the one they were responding too, and read the details of the call.  It was only two blocks from me, so I decided to respond.

I knew one crew was out on a call, and the ambo crew responding only had two people on it, the medic of which, is still pretty wet behind the ears.  He has a tendency of getting overwhelmed and overexcited.  I was getting in my car and approaching the exit of the gas station onto the road when the ambulance was about to pass me.  I inched out and blocked the cars from passing while I waited for the ambo to pass me.  As the rig flew past, I had my hand out of my window signaling for the cars to stay put.  I pulled out and floored the gas to catch up with the ambulance.  We pulled into the intersection, the ambo getting flagged in, and myself getting stopped until the cop recognized me and waved me into the scene.

Myself and my deputy chief were the first to reach the patient.  He had obvious head wounds, agonal breathing with bilateral chest rise and fall, as well as stomach distension and an obvious broken leg.  I took C-spine and my (gloved) hands were immediately washed over with blood.  I looked at my chief and told him that I would run the call in with the crew.  After back-boarding the PT and getting him into the ambulance, we hauled ass to the nearest Level One Trauma Center.  Thank Batman the closest is 25 minutes away.  We notified flight, and then realized he would have better chances of survival if we didn’t wait on them, and just took him by ground.  The whole way in, I assisted his breathing with the Bag Valve Mask.  His oxygen level never dropped lower than 95%.

From his wounds, I wasn’t sure if he would survive.  It was obvious his head injuries were pretty bad seeing as I could feel the crack in his skull with my fingers as I held C-spine…  Sometimes a patient you think has good chance of making it, simply doesn’t because aside from the actual injuries, the body just can’t take the rest of the physical trauma from the resuscitation efforts.

I’m happy to report… That after 10 days later he is still alive.  Unconscious, yes… but alive.  He underwent over 20+ hours of surgery to repair his chest wall and other numerous internal abdominal injuries, as well as brain surgery.  He is in the ICU, recovering in some ways.  The rest is still up in the air.  It sounds cliche, but its up to him and the doctors as to whether he pulls through fully.

Its nice knowing that someone I wasn’t sure would make it through the night, is still alive and fighting 10 days later.  I’ve seen many calls where I thought the patient had good odds, and didn’t survive.  Seeing a patient like him, reminds me of the amazement that is the human body.  I am glad to know that he is still, technically, in this world.  I plan on getting another update in a day or two…

Calls and patients like that are the real reason that I am proud to say I’m an EMT.  Its why I go back to my shifts every weekend… Just for the slight chance to make a difference in a patients outcome.  I’m hoping the best for him, and I’ll be back on that rig tomorrow night.

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