Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Kyle had to share his ride-a-long experience for a mini paper for paramedic school. I don't have his permission, but I just want to share with everyone his cool experience he had last weekend. Inbetween paramedic school full time, working full time and volunteering at the Rainbow Fire Department, Kyle also does a 24 hour ride-a-longs with local paramedics in San Diego. I love his stories and I am so proud of him, so I wanted to share his first life saving experience with all of you!
After a long day of running standard BLS calls with a busy unit in San Diego, one of the medics asked me if I was going to take off or stay the night for the rest of the shift. The tired laziness in me was screaming at me to go home and call it a day, but the wanna be medic in me helped me muster up enough will power to stay. “After all, I might get lucky and get a good call tonight,” I thought. A few minutes later I hopped in my sleeping bag and drifted off to sleep.
What seemed like only a second went by when I heard the phone ring and the beepers go off. I shot out of bed, put on my boots and rushed out to the ambulance. As I was climbing in the bucket seat in the back of the ambulance, I heard dispatch on the radio describe the call. “Patient in cardiac arrest. CPR in progress.”
After a few tense minutes we arrived on the scene to a older, lower middle class neighborhood. It was still dark outside and a fire engine has just arrived on scene 2 minutes before us. We pulled the stretcher and equipment out of the ambulance and entered the home. I knew that what I was about to experience would change my life. I had been thinking and wondering, for the past 6 months now, how I would react to a real emergency like this; now I was going to see if I could keep it together. I took a deep breath and followed the medics in to the patient’s room.
As I walked in the room I heard a thump thump thump thump. I thought, “What on earth is that loud noise?” I felt like I was walking in to a haunted house on Halloween. I will never forget what I saw when I laid eyes on the source of the sound. There was a man laying on a king size bed that looked to be in his mid 60’s, strapped to a machine on his chest that was doing CPR compressions. I had heard of these machines before, but had no idea how powerful and graphic the reality of it was. Each time the machine did a compression there was a very loud thump thump and the patient’s lower torso rose off the bed about a foot or two. I took a deep breath and told myself to stay calm, no big deal, you got this. The medic handed me an oral airway and I placed it in the man’s mouth. It went in with no gag reflex. They then handed me the bag valve mask and I began to ventilate. “Wait till the machine stops to let you ventilate,” yelled a firefighter. “Do you want to burst his lung!” The machine would stop every 30 seconds and I would ventilate twice. This continued while the other medic was getting his intubation equipment ready. When he was ready, they turned off the machine to check the monitor and I watched the medic intubate this man. The monitor read what the medics told me was asystole with agonal beats. I hooked the BVM up to the tube along with the end title CO2 and began to ventilate every 5-6 seconds. I was paying close attention not to ventilate to fast because I have heard that first time ventilators can get a little to excited. Once we got the ETCO2 working, I saw I was being a little too calm and relaxed because his CO2# was 69. I sped up my ventilations and watched the number drop. It was exhilarating to see something that I had studied so much about happen in real life, right before my eyes. After about 1 minute the monitor started to show something and our systolic BP was up to 90. After another minute the BP went up to 130. No meds were used, just straight BLS CPR and an intubation.
I ventilated all the way to the hospital. After we dropped the man off at the hospital. I heard one of the medics say, “ We might have actually saved that guys life.” I would get up at 4 am every day to do a call like that. I felt privileged to have assisted these 2 great medics on that call and appreciate so much what I learned and experienced. But most of all, I did not freak out, which was my biggest worry. May be I am cut out for this stuff after all.