Code 3 for the unknown.

A car is stopped with 2 police cars behind it, just off the freeway. The engine company is there as well. Apparently the male passenger had a seizure in the car on the freeway, and his son exited and called for help. He’s still in the passenger seat, seatbelted in.

A police officer meets us after we park in front of all the vehicles. He’s a bit amped. I’ve run with him before; not my favorite officer. The other officers on scene don’t feel compelled to bother and nag us. In fact, our agency and this department get along great.

“You need your gurney and straps. This guy had a seizure and he’s getting combative.”

(Before I continue, I have to state here that I am a near-fanatic supporter of police officers, no matter what they do.)

I hate being told to bring the gurney. It’s like me telling him to bring his gun. The gurney is never immediately needed anyway. There’s always something else to be done first; a blood pressure, some gauze, a bunch of assessment questions, something besides the gurney.

“Well if he’s getting combative, why don’t you just close his door?” Makes perfect sense to me.

Many people are confused after a seizure and some become combative; it’s just part of the package, the postictal phase. Some bite their tongues, others pee their pants. They chill out after a couple of minutes. Patience is a virtue. I honestly hope this officer wasn’t planning on wrestling this guy out of the car and to the ground. Not exactly a good PR move – “Officer Handcuffs Seizure Patient. Patient Urinates on Self.”

“What if he doesn’t calm down?” Now the officer is simply hoping I’m wrong because I subtly pointed out that he’s an idiot. He’s not new and this can’t possibly be the first seizure he’s seen. I hope he handles more critical situations with a little bit more discretion and much improved judgement.

“He will.”

A few minutes later, the patient is calmly resting on the gurney in the ambulance as we do our work. My partner points out that the officer is still standing near the back of the ambulance watching us, as if he wants something. Maybe he’s still waiting for the patient to jump up off the gurney and fight us.

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