Mechanism’s of Life

CPRDispatch, Code 99 in progress please respond to 1112 Park Street. This was a call for help and I was the man on duty. I was eating breakfast with my wife and kids when the call came out. I jumped up quick from the table and spilled my coffee. The wife looked at me and couldn’t believe that I would not stop for a minute to clean up the coffee.. Hey, I have to get going in a hurry, someone’s life is on the line.

In the heat of the moment the only thing you can think of is responding and trying to beat the clock of time for this patient. I jumped into my truck and reached in my pocket for the keys and realized that I didn’t have them, they were in my street clothes. Argh!  Back into the house to my wife saying what is the matter? I forgot my keys honey. I rushed up the stairs and retrieved my keys and hurried on back to my truck. I turned on my red light and off I go to try and mitigate, or stop the progression of dying. I’m thinking in my head, ok open the airway, check for signs of circulation, if none start compressions and breathing. I had trained for this so many times and when it is real life you still go back to the basic’s. ABC-Airway-Breathing-Circulation.

The patient was lying prone in the living room and some family members were trying their best to hold their emotions and still try to perform CPR-CardiopulmonaryResuscitation . It is a very hyped up scene when responding to a code 99. We  hope that we can respond in time for the patient. The brain will die in about 6 minutes max,  lactic acid will start destroying the vital organs in a short time thereafter. Because the family was at the home and were instructed from the dispatcher to stay calm and start performing CPR this patient had a chance. Blood flow to the brain and body was continuing.

The medic with me hooked up the twelve- lead monitor and determined this patient needed to be shocked back to life. Clear! Everyone cleared the patient and Six-Hundred Joules were induced across the heart of this patient. We checked the monitor and a good sinus rhythm was now shown on the screen. The paramedic put some drugs into the veins of this patient and everything was looking good. We had stopped the line of progression of life or death.

The family was instructed to meet at the local hospital and that the patient was stable at the moment but not out of the woods. Because of the lactic acid the patient could have liver, or kidney failure, it could be a long-haul in the hospital.

We as responders will try to do everything possible to change the outcome for a patient. Our own family members sometimes never turn on the switch. It really is a switch from going from family function’s to rescue mode. Sometimes we feel like Jekyll and Hyde. No not really, but to switch modes on a dime is the comparison. Honey, I will clean up the coffee, Just give me a minute, Ok?

I do not work for an ambulance. I did at one time back in the 80’s. I do medical work at my workplace and respond via local fire department when called upon. ©Bilodeau,D.H.2014

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