Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Hero Next Door!

This actually happened to me recently and it highlighted a few things in paramedic practice, both as a student and for qualified ambulance staff!

I would start by saying it was a normal day, but it wasn't! I was enjoying a rare mid-week lie in! I may be a uni student but I'm the kind that has to be in practically all day, everyday!

So anyway, I was in bed doing uni work when I heard a kerfuffle across the road! Some guy was shouting and seemed to be slightly distressed! I assumed it was normal, we get people shouting outside occasionally! It wasn't until he started shouting something about a fire that I thought 'ooh! Could be exciting!'

I looked out of the window to see plumes of grey smoke pouring out of the windows and doors of the house opposite! I also saw a lady in the window of the first floor, smoke behind her, desperate to get out! I immediately phoned the fire brigade and told them there was also a person trapped inside!

Meanwhile, I was toying with the idea of going out there! After all, I'm only a student and had no equipment so I didn't think there was much I could do!

After seeing the lady get helped down a ladder by a firefighter I eventually plucked up the courage/sense to go out there and help! I got dressed in record speed (can't treat a patient in my PJs, although I've never actually seen anything that says we can't!) and grabbed my jacket on the way out!

When I got outside I explained to a police officer that I was a student paramedic and went and found the patient! I went to the car I'd seen the lady get put into so she was somewhere safe! She was a bit hysterical and in shock (as you would be!) She was alone so I just sat next to her, put my hand on her back to help reassure her, asked her a few questions and talked! This seemed to calm her down a lot! I had nothing on me, I didn't do anything fancy or medical, just communicated with my patient! When the ambulance came I told them about my patient, they did a quick assessment and told me the next ambulance would treat her!

Next ambulance?! I thought there was only one patient! This is when I realised I had made an error! You see, the rule is, when you're first on scene you don't treat any patients, just have a look at how many and how injured they are (triage) I forgot to do that! Having seen most of the action unfold from my bedroom window, seeing one person trapped and the other occupant outside, I thought there would only be one patient! Especially when the other patient seemed most concerned about their dog "coming out like chicken!" Now I knew there wasn't just one! As the ambulance crew were dealing with him I stayed with my lady until the next ambulance crew came and took over!

Looking back, I realise there are things I should or could have done differently! As a student I'm still learning, but I'm not gonna forget the importance of triaging in a hurry!

This also made me think about two other things, helping while off duty and communication! As far as I know, there are no laws that say you have to stop and help! And there are lots of complaints made about health care professionals attitudes and communication! On this occasion I made the decision to go and help and to talk to my patient!
So, your turn, would you have done anything different? If so, why or why not?


  1. Firstly how did I not know you had a blog?? *subscribed* lol

    And in regards to this, the only thing being a student para gave you was the reason you needed to go out there. I believe you would of gone out there (or at least wanted to) had you not been everyone from first aiders to doctors don’t always need the fancy kit and drugs etc, just their brains and their communication skills.

    You comforted someone who had just been dragged from their burning home it properly had more of an affect than you realise.

    As for the other patients I am sure someone would of mentioned if there was someone else who needed your help more than this lady.

    Oh and keep blogging it’s a great read :D

  2. Well done! You went to help someone in need, that is the important thing. Ive done something similar myself when involved in a bus accident. There are two kinds of people in the world. Spectators and participants, I'm proud to say I'm a participant, and so are you.
    Yes you are in training but you were off duty, and i bet the lady you helped won't forget you in a hurry!

  3. Hey dude its great to see a student para out there doing the business mate. I have been with NWAS for a number of years and had student nurses and para's come through the doors and not always are they ready for the job whilst being accompanied by qualified staff. Yes you mad a school boy error but guess what thats how we learn. Dont worry about it move on and as long as you learn you will have a long an brilliant career dude

    emergency egg
    (come and visit and see what you think)

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