Double-ALS-night-shift-overtime. Half good, half bad. I don’t know why I agreed to work a night shift.
It’s going easy enough until around 3 in the morning. Diabetic call at the local premortuary sepsis factory decubitus plant nursing home. Easy enough, right? Throw some dextrose up in there and be done with it, right?
The staff says he must go to the hospital to be evaluated because the doctor says so. To complicate matters, we can’t get a line on this guy, who I swear, must have served in the first World War, and he has a long history of dementia, so who is to say what his normal mental status is, anyway?
Fine. No biggie. Stab him with a bit of Glucagon, move him to the stretcher, and drive him to the hospital. No big deal, right?
It’s my turn to drive. It’s going just fine. I’m listening to George Noory talk about aliens over the Pacific Northwest. It’s an easy drive over two lane roads dappled with houses. When all of a sudden…
“Hey, C, light it up, okay?”
“Turn on the lights and sirens.”
“Let’s go emergency!”
“His mental status isn’t improving.”
Taking a glance at my watch and doing some quick calculations, I realize ten minutes isn’t necessarily enough for Glucagon to work, and this guy has dementia anyway.
“Umm, you want me to get back there and ride this call?” I ask.
“No, I’ve got it. We should just get there faster.”
“I have faith in you. And the next three traffic lights won’t hold us up too much.”
I’ll stop the story here, because the conversation became fraught with animosity. Suffice it to say, I don’t believe in traveling emergency to the hospital, except in extreme circumstances. I won’t judge someone who chooses to use the lights and sirens during some calls, but during a hypoglycemic episode, when there hasn’t been enough time to allow the drug to work, and the vitals are better than mine? No way does that warrant lights and sirens.
Especially not at three in the morning.
Let’s not trick ourselves into thinking we are heroes by running people off the road to get to the hospital.
Maybe services could review the calls in which the medic decided to utilize lights and sirens during transport. I bet there is some interesting information out there.