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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rookies and Flag Downs

Towards the end of shift. Sitting on a half-empty street with another one of our units, passing time as we keep the engines running for the mediocre air conditioning and music in 100+ degree heat. Taking bets as to whether we'll have another call before we get off.

The van pulls up to the curb in front of us. The driver hops out, frantically waving to us.

You don't just jump out of your bus for a crazy person in a van. It's late at night in New York City, and the general public thinks all ambulances carry narcotics.

"Our friend is having a seizure!"

My rookie partner is at the patient's side in the time it takes me to flag down the other unit for backup. Rookie partner looks like a deer in headlights.

The teenage patient is actively seizing, sprawled on a bench seat in the van.

Two more passengers have joined the driver on the sidewalk. They know a name and age, and that this is the patient's third migraine induced seizure in two weeks. The patient said they felt sick and began vomiting prior to seizing.

The stretcher lines up with the bench seat, we slide the patient on, and the tech from the other unit catches my eye and gives a nod towards my rookie partner reaching to put the stretcher in Trendelenburg rather than positioning for aspiration precautions. I intervene, and look towards the tech. This is technically rookie partner's patient, and so far they're looking as though they should be the one on the stretcher. I can't drive Code 1 and babysit from the driver's seat.

The tech winks and grabs their BP cuff from their bus, hopping into my bus with rookie partner.

In the 2 minutes I take to go 1.7 miles, I find the time to call a notification.

But we have no paperwork on arrival despite two techs in the back.

"It's rookie partner's call," the other tech informs me with an evil grin, before stepping outside for a cigarette.

First order of business: Get rookie partner a coffee. Second order of business: Walk through how Patient Care Reports are essentially the same for a flagdown. Third order of business: Show rookie partner that our patient in the trauma room is now sitting up and talking coherently.

The relief on rookie partner's face? Priceless.

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