Code 3 for an ankle injury. On the freeway. It’s close to midnight. The cops are on scene requesting medical.
An officer comes up to the window as we stop.
“This rocket scientist ran out of gas and broke his leg jumping over a fence trying to get gas.”
A man in his late 20s is hobbling around his car that is stopped on the shoulder, just ahead of the cop car.
“Dude, if your leg is broken, why don’t you sit down?”
He’s clearly not very bright.
He sits sideways on the front passenger seat. His right ankle is obviously broken, with the lateral side buckling under the light pressure of my fingers, and it’s twice the size of his left ankle.
The cops tell us that another officer actually made contact with this guy about an hour before this current event when they found him out of gas but healthy. That officer even offered to either call a tow truck for him or drive him to the gas station and back to his car, but he declined, for reasons that no one can figure out. After the first officer left, the guy struck out on foot to go get gas, but when he jumped over a chain-link fence, he injured his ankle when he landed.
“What hospital do you want to go to?”
“I have to pick up my dad from the airport.”
“Don’t be silly – how are you going to get to the airport with no gas and a broken ankle you use to control the accelerator and brakes? Tell him to take a cab.”
He actually insists a few more times that instead of the ED he needs to get to the airport, as if his father can’t manage a cab ride after navigating airport security, tolerating groin checks and body cavity searches, locating his assigned seat, finding space for his carry-on in the overhead compartment which was probably stuffed full of inconsiderate assholes’ coats and shopping bags, figuring out the seat belt and the tray table and just surviving a plane ride full of grumpy passengers and overbearing flight attendants.
“We’re not leaving you here on the side of the freeway without gas in the dark with a broken ankle. It’s just not going to happen.”
I thought this guy was dumb. But then the ambulance crew shows up with an intern.
Third question in, the intern goes, “Sir, do you want to go the hospital?”
What the fuck?
“THAT’S your third question?”
“Well, he’s A&Ox4, and if he doesn’t want to go…”
First of all, if a basic assessment of one’s level of consciousness has a minimum of 4 questions (and that whole thing is an entirely separate post – don’t get me started), how did he determine that this guy was “alert and oriented times 4” with less than 4 questions?
Besides, asking if someone wants to go to the hospital before conducting his own assessment should be sufficient grounds to have his internship terminated on the spot.
Usually, when I ask if someone “want[s] to go to the hospital,” it’s code for “this call is really stupid and I’m politely hinting that you don’t need to go to the hospital.”
Anyway, I digress…
If we don’t take him to the hospital, then who the fuck are we taking to the hospital?
If we don’t see it as our jobs to strongly persuade force this guy to park his butt on the gurney, then what are we doing here? Why even have EMS? Is this guy a health insurance company intern or a paramedic intern?
Again: no gas, really broken ankle, dark, cold, freeway shoulder, oh, and a big storm in the forecast. And he’s already demonstrated that he apparently can’t walk from here to there without breaking a bone or two.
“So we’re going to leave him here? Are you fucking new? Or just stupid?”
This guy’s going to be an excellent medic. Yup.