At about 10am, tones drop… “Rescue 30, Engine 6 Urgent Response, 25 year old female, Difficulty breathing…” within moments we’re racing down the street, lights going and sirens blaring. After looking up the address, I pull up the information we have on the call. Seems a 7 year old boy called 911 and is on the line with dispatchers. “He is advising that his mom is having a severe asthma attack and can’t breathe”, I read aloud. My partner and I both look at each other, raise eyebrows and continue on. Around the corner from the address, we hear Engine 6 arrive on scene. Dang, they beat us. Seems, they were in the area going to get the night’s dinner and were the closest engine to respond. Seconds later, we’re on scene. I jump out of the rescue, “Ears” (stethoscope) in hand, rolling the stretcher up to the door. As I’m walking up, the Engine Lieutenant meets me half way and says they’re carrying her out now, she’s bad. Hearing a veteran Medic tell me the patient “is bad”, immediately sends me into a state of adrenalin. How bad? Why is she bad? The crew carries her out seconds later and lays her almost lifeless body on the stretcher. I immediately recognize she has been struggling to breath for a while and her respiratory drive is about to stop. Without immediate intervention this will send her into respiratory arrest. Yep, she’s bad. Her wheezing is audible without using my “ears”. “Load and Go guys” I say to the Lt. With those words a crew member jumps into the back of the truck with me as they load the patient up. “I need her on High flow O2, pulse oximetry, end-tidal Co2 and an EKG now” I bark to the crew. They already knew what was needed. My partner oversees her being connected to wires, leads, cables and equipment like a champ. Meanwhile, I start a large bore IV in her arm. Seconds later, we’re barreling down the road with an extra rider for manpower. He knows what needs to be done and is like an extension of myself. As we administer medication and continue treatment, I look to my partner. “We’re too close to the hospital to “stay and play”… he knows, and agrees. Although an EMT, his approval of my decision brings me comfort. I call in a brief report to the hospital, “Have Respiratory standing by” I finish my report, “Understood, Room 7 on arrival” is the response. Within only a matter of minutes, we’re at the hospital and I’m transferring patient care over to the awaiting crew. I proceed to advise the Dr and staff waiting in the room of the situation, what we did and her response. I advised the Dr that we were only down the street and chose not to intubate the patient on scene, for delaying the patient transport in this case would have been counter-productive. The Dr tells me good job and I exhale like a dog that just got patted on the head by his master. A short while later the Engine arrives at the hospital to pick up the crew member I took to assist during the transport. They proceed to tell me about the 7 yr old who was on scene, now with a family member, called 911 when he recognized his mother in distress. My partner and I marvel at the calm, calculated demeanor in which acted, which without a doubt saved his mother’s life. “He’s a hero” we all say to family, now arriving at the hospital. I go out to the truck where my partner is already in the process of cleaning and resetting the truck for our next call. “What’s for dinner?” I ask him. “Brat’s and tots” he responds. He doesn’t know what’s for dinner, but he knows I love brats and tots.
We had a chance to meet the patient and her family and show her the equipment was used during her emergency.
Photo Credit: Doug Engle (Star Banner)