So this week got away from me. There will be no installment of Robbing Death, but I will relate a story of life in EMS.
A crew was dispatched to the nursing home for chest pain. They found an elderly woman, who denied chest pain or shortness of breath, her vitals stable, no cardiac history, stating she had epigastric pain, which was relieved by two TUMS.
Staff wanted her to go to the ER fort an evaluation of her lack of chest pain.
Fair enough. The medics listened to the nurse's report, loaded the patient and took her to the ER.
The ER rolled its collective eyes at the report of the stable, pain free patient whose indigestion has been relieved by TUMS, and directed the crew to a bed.
So, all seemed shiny and happy.
Until the nursing home nurse called the ER, foaming indignantly at the mouth.
"What's up?" asked the ER Nurse, or words to that effect.
"We just sent Mrs Smith over, and the ambulance drivers didn't take me seriously."
This is a sore point. We are Paramedics. Highly trained medical professionals who can diagnose, medicate, intubate, cannulate, and defibrillate.. Yes, part of what we do is drive ambulances. Don't call us "ambulance drivers."
Unless you're OK being called an "ass wiper" or "catheter bag emptier" instead of a nurse.
"Ok." said the ER nurse (see, me being respectful) "We have her here. What was the problem?"
"I told them her blood pressure was high and she'd just had a large bowel movement."
"And they didn't do anything."
"Well," said the ER nurse, "they did an EKG before they got here, and her vitals."
"Well, they sure didn't take me seriously," insisted the nurse from the home.
"Was she complaining of chest pain?"
"So...I'm sorry. What's the problem?"
"I told them," came the indignant tone booming from the phone as the ER nurse held the receiver six inches from her blistered ear, "that her pressure was elevated and she'd just had A LARGE BOWEL MOVEMENT."
"Ok. Thanks for calling and letting us know. Buh-bye." The ER Nurse hung up, shaking her head. She looked at the medics with some sympathy, but couldn't violate The Code and tell mere Medics than another Nurse is on crack and they did the right thing.
The nursing home nurse also called the ambulance company to complain about the lousy ambulance drivers. She had the misfortune of talking to the World's Angriest Medic Supervisor, who politely grilled her about the patient's hemodynamic status and EKG changes and where, exactly, did Large Bowel Movements fall in the American Heart Association Guidelines.
So that was cool.
After we saw this play out, we went to the hardware store and got one of those Color Shade samples, where they have like six shades of the same color to check against your walls. Chocolate Brown. We left it for the crew, so they can objectively assess and take seriously nursing home nurses' reports in the future.
"Can you tell us, on this strip, just where this movement seems to fall? How many grams would you say Large is?
"What? We're just trying to take you seriously."
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