We’re at the hospital with another crew, and we’re both doing paperwork. It’s a pretty cool crew; we work similar times and days, and we try to meet up a lot.
Up to the ambulance entrance drives this car with an old couple in it. It stops in an ambulance parking space. The old lady who was driving gets out, walks towards us and politely asks if there is a wheelchair she can put her husband in. We usually don’t help people who drive up to ambulance entrances because they’re usually full of shit, but they do get points for taking a car instead of calling us. However, we do help old people. Almost always.
“Ma’am, we’ll get a wheelchair and we’ll get your husband out of the car.”
The husband is in the passenger seat. He says he’s weak. We carry him out of the car and into the wheelchair. We wheel him into the ED. M takes a pulse, while I walk off to find a blood pressure machine.
“Your pulse is really slow,” I hear as I return.
I promptly put the blood pressure cuff on, and walk towards the nursing station about 20 feet away. And here’s how being familiar with each other helps a lot – you listen to each other.
“Hey S, this gentleman is complaining of weakness and has a pulse of 30.”
Without any hesitation, she directs us towards the room usually used for serious patients.
A few minutes later, a 12-lead shows 3° AV block. For the non-medical people reading this, that’s about one or two rhythms from death.
“How long have you been feeling weak?”
“Oh, 3, 4 days.”
“Why didn’t you call us?”
“Well, I didn’t want to bother you guys.”
“Look, people call us for all kinds of stupid stuff, so we’re more than happy to come get people like you. PLEASE call us next time you feel like this, OK?”