The local EMT class lets its students sign up to ride with us after they have made it through a certain part of the course. Over the years I have to say most of the students who ride with us don’t last. The course has a poor passing rate, and many of the students who do pass rarely enter the field. Every now and then, you get a student that you can glimpse real potential in. There is a young man in the current class I feel this way about.
He comes from a lower middle class family, and was a football player on the state high school championship team a few years ago. He observed with us for the first time last week when we did two calls during the hours he rode. He did well with the blood pressures. If he couldn’t hear it, he didn’t lie about it. I helped him reposition his stethescope, then he got it properly. We let him pull the stretcher out with the patient on it, and even work the radio with the local CMED. When I explained to him what I was doing, his eyes were fixed on me. I also like that on his own, he made an effort to see that the patient was comfortable, positioning a pillow or pulling up a blanket.
Today was his second time riding. On the first call, he made conversation with the elderly gentleman who had a possible urinary blockage, took his blood pressure and with coaching, gave the radio report to the hospital.
Our second call was for a woman with back pain. She had a history of bulging disks and when she bent down in her office, then straightened up, she did something to her back that was causing her extreme pain. She was in tears when we got there. We tried to get her to sit on the stretcher, but she couldn’t manage — the pain of moving was too great. I called and got orders for morphine. I pushed it slowly, and the woman found the rush very uncomfortable. I stopped at 2 milligrams — not enough to make a dent in her pain — she weighed 260. Since we still couldn’t get her on the stretcher, I convinced her to let me give her more morphine. I promised to go a little at a time, and very slowly.
The student held her hand while I pushed the medicine through the IV lock. She squeezed his hand tightly. The woman, while in obvious pain, had a great deal of anxiety as well as low tolerance for any procedure — be it the IV or taking her blood pressure again to make certain her pressure was maintaining. Through it all, the young man, tried to reassure her.
While I was pushing the fifth and sixth milligram — still unable to get the pain down enough to get her to swing her legs up onto the stretcher, I noticed the young man start to lean. Like a big tree, he slowly teetered, as his eyes rolled back into his head. Then he slumped to the ground. Out cold.
“It’s okay,” I reassured the patient and the onlookers — two of her fellow employees. “He just fainted. He’ll be okay.”
While my partner attended him, I finished giving the woman the morphine.
The young man was helped to a chair, where he hung his head.
“Don’t worry,” I said, “happens to the best of us.”
My partner helped him off with his jacket and outer shirt, then before I knew it, he had resumed his place holding the woman’s hand.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “I just got a little hot. Are you feeling any better?”
“A little,” she said, “Thank you.”
After ten of morphine and nearly an hour on scene, we finally were on our way to the hospital. The woman, now pain-free, put her hand in his hand. They talked on the way in. At the hospital, he again helped make her comfortable. When he said goodbye, he shook her hand and she wished him well, calling him by his first name.
“Nice job,” I said to him as we walked back to the ambulance.
When we got back to the station after the call, he signed up for another shift next week.
I tell you, he can play on my team anytime.
Scouting Report: The kid can take a hit.