Lessons in communication and narcs

I’m responding to a sports injury, paged as a broken arm. Upon arrival we quickly triangulate the patient’s location from the screams.

I assume patient care. The probie who would normally be interfacing with the patient has a sort of glassy look that says. “OMFG a real injured person!” Had I allowed him to begin his assessment, it would have quickly deteriorated into “um…do you have any allergies?” without having even touched the patient. I’ve noticed that new EMT’s have a strong tendency to do this.

I expose the extremity. She has an extra elbow. I need to remove a guard to see if the fracture is open or closed.

NA: “I’m going to cut this off.”

Patient, looking over: “WHAT?! Is it that bad?!”

NA: “Oh, um. I meant this guard type-y thingy.”

Add that one to the “oops list.” Lesson learned about using precise language.

I’m again caught off guard by the strong correlation between dispatch information and the actual call. Twice now? Weird.

The Fire Department arrives to transport the patient to hospital. I’ve completed my assessment, but held off splinting so they could first provide some pain relief. 10mg of morphine later, her screams and grimace have been converted to moans and a sort of glassy-faced grin.

Patient: “My arm feels fine now. Do I still have to go to the hospital?”

Medic, clapping O2 mask on her: “Um, yeah.”

I bite my tongue to stifle my laughter professionally maintain my composure with the Fire Crew (who seems to be having the same challenge) and help lift the patient onto the stretcher.

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Mat Goebel
Resident Physician

My research interests include EMS, EKG, STEMI, cybersecurity, and NLP.