15 April 2006


I took the Hazmat test this morning. I think I actually did pretty well (third time's a charm :)). I got to work around 1030 at the ambulance company. I had one of the crew members from yesterday hang over until I got there. They hadn't done anything yet.

I wasn't working with my normal partner. She was at a baby shower until 1600. I fell asleep by 1100. I didn't wake up until 1600 when she got to the station. Yep. No calls. We went to our other headquarters to get our stuff set up. We were only there for about an hour or so. We got a call-a return to a nursing home. Nothing special.

We got back to quarters for a few hours and then got another call. Another return from the same ER to a nursing home. The guy was really tall and said he wore a size 18 shoe. He had to bend his knees so that we could close the ambulance doors. A couple minutes before we pulled into the nursing home, dispatch keyed us up to let us know that we had another call holding. It was for a psych that tried to escape the facility needing to be re-evaluated and medically cleared to return.

He was cooperative. We took him to the same ER that we had been taking people out of. All that was left was a bed in the hallway. They were really busy. There was a shooting-2 people shot. One was just shot in the foot, the other had one in the chest and one in the neck. I stood by the nurses station to hear the doctor give report report to the trauma hospital. He said that the patient had a hemo and pneumothorax, a bullet near the spine, and a bullet in his neck that may have lodged in the esophagus. The the doctor proceeds to say that that patient is "stable." I was hoping we wouldn't get the transport. He sure didn't sound stable to me. In the end the doctor at the trauma hospital requested flight for life and we got to go back to quarters.

Right before we left the ER I heard the secretary on the phone. The patient's mother (I don't know which GSW victim it was) called to inform the ER that someone called and left a message on her answering machine that they were coming back to "finish him off" at the hospital. That was my cue to get as far away as possible.

That was our last call. We got back to quarters and slept until 0730. The only thing that woke us up was our stupid pager misfiring. We get news, weather, etc. on the pager on a regular basis. It is sent to a separate inbox that doesn't set off the pager-we can just view it at our convenience. This pager was going pyscho. All these messages were being sent to our regular inbox that sets the pager off. So, starting around 0100 the pager was going off about every half hour with stupid news and entertainment. Grrr. Normally I would just turn it off, but some of the dispatchers choose to page us out and then call like 20 minutes later just to "make sure" that we are en route. Never a good thing, because that makes us late for the call. They limit our response time. It actually gets quite ridiculous.

For example:

2000: They page us for a transport out of the ER.

2008: We are finally en route after using the restroom, etc.

2009: Dispatch rips me a new one because we took too long

2010: We should be on scene by now, but instead I am still waiting in traffic a block away from where I started.

2012: Dispatch calls for our location, and to inform us that we are late.

2015: I hit the on scene button so that we aren't too late ( I am going 70 mph in a 35 to try to be a little less late, and so dispatch has less time to track me and realize I am, in fact, not on scene)

2017: I pull up to the hospital after feeling like I was in a high speed chase, not anywhere near on time

2019: I make it into the hospital and find the nurse to get the paperwork. The nurse isn't ready. She says she wasn't expecting us for at least 15 minutes. I wait.

2045: Still waiting. The nurse is copying the chart

2046: Dispatch calls to ask why we haven't left yet

2055: The patient is ready and I have the paperwork

2100: We're out the door

2103: We get a page informing us of our tardiness

2104: We are told that we have another call holding

2105: They put us en route to the second call before we even arrive at the nursing home to drop off the current patient.

2115: I turn over care to the nursing home staff and get my paperwork.

2116: Dispatch is calling again to inform me, that I am, in fact, late to another call, when I haven't even had a chance to clean my cot and get back in service.

Someday, a little lightbulb will go off in someone's head that this system ISN'T WORKING!!!

We get up and get out to the rig, which usually takes about 7 minutes unless it is an emergency call and we run outside. We are kept locked away on the second floor of an abandoned hospital and it takes a little while to wind down and around the halls and outside to the parking lot. Anyways, they give the hospital a 20 minute eta. We are supposed to be on scene 10 minutes before the given eta, so the page comes in at 2000, which means the pickup should be at 2020. We should be on scene, according to these times at 2010. With the 7 minutes to get outside, that gives us three minutes to get across town. Yeah, like that's going to happen.

Another thing that gets us completely screwed is that, depending on the dispatcher, our times will be different. Some dispatchers put us en route as soon as we tell them that we got the page. Others will wait until we get out to the rig and hit the computer screen in the rig. That is where they get us, because if we don't run down and hit that button and go en route, we are late. We are allotted only 5-7 minutes to get to the rig. This isn't quite enough if you have to use the restroom or button up your shirt (except in emergencies). Then they get you again because, even with the 7 minutes, and we are left with 3 minutes to get to the hospital, we get in trouble for being late. You get written up if you take more than 7 minutes to go en route on the computer, and no matter what we are late to the call at the ER because it is 2.9 miles to the hospital and there is always tons of traffic. Whatever, I can't ever win.

I figure maybe they will realize that it takes more than 3 minutes to get across town. Until they equip my rig with something that can make me fly across town, they will just have to deal with us being late.


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