r By Ken Wright
“Help me [us] help you” – Jerry Maguire
Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is a team sport. The line-up includes the person who first discovers a problem and calls 911. Outstanding 911 dispatchers gather information from a sometimes frantic/hysterical caller and throw the ball to EMS ambulance crews who respond and ensure any life-threatening issues are addressed so patients make it to the next hand-off at an emergency room. There, miracle-working technicians, nurses and doctors do their magic.
The patient and the patient’s family are also part of the team. They can directly contribute to a win. Information and assistance they provided enable responding EMTs to continue the play and get info to the ER ahead of time so they can start preparing to receive the ball.
Of course, sometimes a patient is in no condition to provide any help at all. BUT, when POSSIBLE, here are a few things that would help us help you achieve a win:r
- Have someone outside to flag us down and direct us to the entry that will provide the easiest access to the patient.
- If you tend to collect “stuff”, prepare to arrange for a path through the “stuff”, furniture, etc., that three of us with a gurney and equipment can traverse to get to you.
- Have a list of medications prepared ahead of time, especially if you have more than you can count on one hand. Dosages and conditions they treat and medical conditions would also be great.
- If everyone you know, from family to home/visiting teachers to your former seminary teacher to the bishop needs to be there to oversee treatment, please prepare an area for them so we have room to work, spread out our equipment, and maneuver. These folks might help with #1 and #2 before we get there.
- Know our “dumb questions” may not be dumb. If we ask what your pain feels like, “It feels painful, you idiot,” won’t help us. There’s a world of difference between “stabbing”, “tearing”, and “crushing” chest pain, maybe the difference between this world and the next.
- Be honest with us. If you are taking erectile dysfunction drugs, our dose of nitroglycerine to alleviate that chest pain could be a bad thing. (They are also prescribed to females for several conditions, including pulmonary hypertension, so don’t think we’re being silly if we ask.) If you, or your teenaged daughter, are on birth control, we need to know. Personal information like this might be another good reason to move your entourage, posse, crew, peeps to another room (see #4 above). P.S. Don’t worry, it’s illegal for us to tell the bishop, or anyone else, anything about your call.
- Don’t hesitate to call us if you think there could be a problem. More than a few, who didn’t want to bother anyone, let a stroke or heart attack do much more damage than was necessary.
rIf there’s something we should know about ahead of time, let us know- firstname.lastname@example.org