My EMT Ride-alongs
Part of this class requires that I do “Ride-Alongs”, that is, I must spend two 8 hour shifts on the back of an ambulance with other EMT’s to get an idea of what it is like to be an EMT.
Russian River Fire Protection District – Sunday March 8, 2009
My first ridealong was Sunday March 8 at the Russian River Fire Protection District (RRFPD) in Guerneville, CA (the Guerneville firehouse). That day was VERY uneventful. I arrived at 10:00 AM to a clean and orderly firehouse. I spent most of the day in the residence reading.
There was only one call at about 1345 HRS to a house in Oddfellows Park with a stuck flue on a pellet stove. The house was filling with smoke and the residents called for help. The rule at RRFPD is that on any call the entire house, two firefighters and one paramedic, will respond. So we went- one engine with two firemen (Ryan Lantz and Travis Wood), and an ambulance with a paramedic (Glenn Rampone and myself). The call was resolved by Steve Baxman from Monte Rio who made it there before we did.
After we returned from the call Glenn gave me a tour of the ALS rig. He described all the gear he uses and the situations that the gear is used in.
VeriHealth – April 3, 2009
My second ridealong was on Friday April 3 at VeriHealth in Santa Rosa. I worked with Bodhi Canfield and Mike Stevenson, both are EMT/B. We only had two calls but we were busy all day.
I arrived at 7:50 AM and met them as I drove into the parking lot while they were preparing their ambulance for the day. Our first task was a trip to Airgas on Piner Road to get new oxygen bottles, which took about 30 minutes. After that we went to the self serve car wash on Santa Rosa Avenue and washed the ambulance, also about 30 minutes. It was about 0920 HRS and we had a call scheduled for 1015 HRS so we took a break back at the VeriHealth headquarters.
Call: Transport CHF Patient.
We had our first call at 1000 HRS to transport a 90 year old man from Memorial Hospital to Summerfield Convalescent center. We arrived at Memorial at about 1015 HRS. There was some confusion as to the BSI precautions to take. This patient had been in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and came in suffering from chest pain.
Our initial information from VeriHealth was that the patient had MRSA bacterial infection and we needed to take special care and don a full body suit before entering the room. When we arrived the nurse said that the MRSA had subsided and was only present in the nares (nasal hairs) so full protection was not required. She gave us a full report on the patient that included the vital signs and general condition of the patient. After the patient was packaged on the gurney and prepared to move to the ambulance we learned from the doctor that she would have preferred for us to have full MRSA protection.
After the Patient was loaded into the ambulance, Bodhi asked me to do an initial assessment, take vitals, and get SAMPLE history. Basically, the first two pages of the medical patient assessment skills sheet we use in the EMT class. We delivered the patient to his destination then prepared for our next call.
Call: Transport Bariatric Patient
Our second call was to transport a bariatric patient (morbidly obese person) from St. Helena Hospital to Queen of the Valley Medical Center (QVMC) in Napa. For this call we had to stop by the headquarters at 200 Montgomery St. in Santa Rosa and swap out our standard gurney for a bariatric gurney. We hit the road at about 1130 HRS and were due in St Helena at 1200 HRS. It is a long drive so we didn’t arrive until 1215 HRS.
When we arrived Stephannie, the nurse on duty, gave us a report including vital signs and blood sugar level. The patient was diabetic and had received dialysis the day before. The patient was very difficult to package because of her size. She was very big, about 6 feet tall and over 400 pounds! It was fortunate that she could “skooch” herself to the edge of the bed so we could slide her on to the gurney.
Once we loaded her onto the ambulance Bodhi drove and Mike took SAMPLE while we were en route. I was impressed how Mike kept the patient engaged in conversation during the trip.
I had a great time on this ride along and learned a lot. It was entirely due to the professsionalism of the Verihealth staff, Mike and Bodhi. I experienced first hand what it was like to work as an EMT on a BLS rig. I hope that I can see both of these people in the future. In fact, Mike is joining the Sonoma SAR team. He is finishing his background check and I should be working with him by the start of summer 2009.