“Fixed it”

Slimm and I are taking some poor lady to the local rehab hospital. This poor hapless soul made the mistake of slipping on ice, and banging her head on the pavement. Now she has a tracheostomy and needs a ventilator.

Unlucky for her, she is now here.

We make our way to the room after the obligatory signing in of the patient at the front desk. Which makes no sense to me, but I’m just an ambulance driver transporter paramedic, and not a policy maker.

We hear the alarm before we make it to the room.

Slimm makes it to the door first and I can hear his eyes roll from the other end of the cot.

Inside the room is an obviously exasperated respiratory therapist, fumbling with the hospital ventilator. Obviously, something is not like it should be.

“I can’t get it to work! Something is wrong!” she says very excitedly. “I’ve never heard it do this before!”

Slimm catches my eye, and his eyes glance at the wheels of the hospital bed, and back up to mine, and I get it. Three years of silent communication are good for a partnership.

Meanwhile, the RT has reached the end of her wits. She looks like she is about to quit.

She pulls out her phone and punches the numbers violently. “SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE VENT IN FOUR EIGHTEEN AND I NEED ANOTHER ONE AND THERE IS A PATIENT HERE ON A VENT WITH AN AMBULANCE AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS VENT AND I KEEP HITTING ‘SILENCE’ BUT IT WON’T GO OFF AND SOMETHING IS WRONG.” she says, to someone who might have more experience in these matters.

She turns to us: “I’m going to have to go get the vent from across the hall” she says as she walks out.

Slimm’s face doesn’t move, and his eyes don’t turn. His right foot makes an almost imperceptible movement to the foot of the bed, and activates the bed’s lock.

The alarm stops. Like we both knew it would.

Our patient continues to be unconscious and unresponsive on our cot.

The respiratory therapist reappears at the door, less exasperated and more perplexed.

“What happened?” she asks.

“I fixed it.” Slimm replies. “It’s cool now.”

 

Comments

  1. As an EMT student who reads your blog, I’m afraid I still don’t see the connection. Are the bed and ventilator “networked” so that the ventilator sounds an alarm if the bed wheels aren’t locked? What should I know?

    Please educate me…

    Thanks,

    Marc

    • No.

      The bed was unlocked and making an alarm. The RT thought it was coming from the vent.

      • Oh God…

        thanks

      • I’ll fess up that I didn’t get it either… Never run into a hospital bed that alarms.

        • That’s interesting. I’ve never run into one in a hospital that doesn’t alarm when not locked.

          • I wouldn’t know because I never touch hospital beds! :)

            One of my aunts slipped and hit her head in her apartment. She too ended up trached and in a rehab. It was a sad way for her to end.

            My mother was in a different rehab and her room mate had a bad that alarmed when she got off of it without permission. The damned thing alarmed in the middle of the night and scared the crap out of my mother more than once.

            We finally got the rehab to move the patient to another room.

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