Do’s and Don''ts of talking to an ambulance driver or any member of the EMS services, who has come to help you, because you have called an emergency number and initiated emergency medical protocol, because you were of the opinion that an emergency was taking place; that something dangerous or bad was happening to yourself or a loved one.
I can''t say emergency enough, and you’ll soon find out why.
So when I come to your house in under 120 seconds, body sweating, adrenaline rushing, heart pumping, breathe gasping; having run down 4 flights of stairs to get to my bike, sped over at lightning speed, ignored many a traffic law, climbed up four flights of steps, carrying a 15KG bag in my right hand, heavy helmet on my head. And all because I have been told that someone at that address is in the need of emergency help.
Don’t tell me the following;
EMT: What’s wrong?
PATIENT: Two weeks ago…
PAUSE: Actually, two weeks is great. Normally with the kids its two weeks, with the adults it’s more like;
PATIENT: In 1963, I had a triple bypass. In 1969, I had a polyp on my vocal cords. In 1978, I had an ingrown toenail – but that’s not all.
EMT: Oh No?!
PATIENT: No way, it got worse; the nail got infected, spread to my foot, and I almost had to have it amputated.
EMT: “I’m sorry to hear that,” I say whilst taking off my helmet and getting comfortable on the couch.
PATIENT: Let’s fast forward now to 1990 – Which is when I went to my Doctor. He is amazing – do you know Dr. Nadler, he is just the sweetest man. So sorry to hear about his wife. So I called him and he said…
EMT: (Into Radio) “No need for further assistance” – “Patient stable and awaiting basic transport to hospital”.
PATIENT: Stops talking and impatiently awaits my full attention…
Onto pediatric cases, which, never fear; are just as glorious.
Either they hand you the baby as you come into the threshold of the house. Baby is blue or choking or unconscious, or convulsing.
The parents start blabbering, and honestly - I don’t know which is worse.
EMT: What’s wrong with your baby, Madam?
MUM: Well, it all started two weeks ago…
EMT: (I look for a chair.)
MUM: She was coughing so we took her to the Doctor. Do you know Dr. Nadler, he is amazing. Such a gentle man. So sorry to hear about his wife…
EMT: Very sad...
MUM: Anyways, we took her to the doctor and he said he thinks it’s just Viral, so we took her back home. But then two days later she was still coughing, so we took her to the Doctor.
EMT: The same Doctor.
MUM: Yes, of course – I would never go to anyone else.
EMT: (Takes out a chewing gum from breast pocket) Ok – what next?
MUM: Am I boring you?
EMT: No, No, do please, carry on.
MUM: So the Doctor says, go for an X-ray, so we go and the X-ray comes back negative. And then she got a temperature, and he thought it could be an infection, so he starts her on medication. And then we were thinking that we should do the test with the blood, to see the…. You know - the cells…
And we just got back from the blood test a few minutes ago, and I had just put in a load, and then…
REWIND: Back to the Bypass man from ‘63
EMT: Let me just interrupt you for one second to ask;
Why did you call me?
Why am I standing here now, in my Pajamas at 03:00?
Something MUST be bothering you NOW.
I want to know, desperately, in what way, can I assist you?
What lifesaving measures can I initiate NOW to help you?
If you are not going to tell me what the problem is NOW – not what it was then, nor what your problem WILL be soon - then I cannot help you.
PATIENT: Oh – why didn’t you say so – I am having Chest Pain!
EMT: Thank you!! I’ll take your Vitals, put on some Oxygen and do a 12 lead ECG!