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Showing posts from May, 2005

Motorbikes, cycles, and copters, oh my!

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We started today with a nice chat with the senior clinical advisor (or, assistant medical director, if you will). He was quite fascinated with the intricate idiocy that American EMS can sometimes resemble. He had a hard time getting his head around the fact that there is no national system, only national curricula. Their system is so simplistic (and smart) here now, (it became really organized in 2000) that it’s hard to believe that the US doesn’t operate in the same way. It was nice to have an opportunity to talk to him and further learn about their system. Their national registry is called the British Paramedic Association and the Health Professions Council is who registers qualified paramedics. Once you have an HPC number, you can take it anywhere in the UK and get a job as a paramedic. We also learned that it would be almost ridiculously easy to transfer national registry to here. (probably easier than transferring to Virginia (but don’t tell my parents)).
I’ve also learned that I …

999 where are you?

Today we hung out at the central ambulance control (CAC) or dispatch and listened in on 999 calls. Some pretty cool stuff, a cardiac arrest, a lightning strike, lots of little trauma, and various medical calls, all not requiring real care. They're dispatch system is very similar to ours. We met a doctor who runs with the physician response unit. This is a very clever idea where a doc responds to lower priority calls and diagnoses and treats people without the need for ambulance. My Briticism of the day is the phrase 'went wobbly' which means fainted.
We also hung out the HEMS or helicopter EMS desk and figured out how they decide which calls they go on. That consists of a paramedic and doc who respond to trauma only, land in places like Piccadilly Circus, and render care like thoracostomy tubes and chest cracking (apparently with good outcomes). That would be cool to witness. The helicopter says Virgin on it, but that is mostly for advertising purposes. They pay £450,000 pe…

Yay, more free updating!

Here's another micro update. I'm here at Waterloo, the LAS HQ. I've been riding another rapid response unit tonight, mostly north of the river in the heart of London. We've had some good calls: a cardiac arrest, a stabbing, and various other drunk-related incidents. I learned that English AEDs speak to you in British accents (useless fact).
I know I look quite fetching in my LAS ballistic vest (stab vest) and I feel pretty damn cool too (haha). Some of the most fun of the night has been racing past Buckingham Palace (waking up the Queen), Trafalgar square, and St. Paul's, hanging out in Soho, and watching the sun rise over Waterloo Bridge. The sun rises quite early here, by 4:00 it is already bright. I also got to go fetch a patient off of the top floor of a double decker bus (first time on one of the busses here). I also got to go in an exclusive London club near Piccadilly Circus (a guy had been assaulted and cut in the face) so, another life goal fulfilled. (I ho…

English coffee, English tea, English soda = wheee!

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Two posts in one day; well, sort of. It still counts as the same day if you never go to bed, right? This update is free. I'm here at the Oval Ambulance Station utilizing their computer. I've been doing a night shift with a 'Rapid Response Unit.' I'm with a paramedic and we respond to category 'A' calls or priority '1' as we say in the states. It's been awesome and I feel great even though it's almost 6 am here. I'm all hyped up on caffeine at the moment. Maybe I'll go straight to Portobello road from here. We've had a lot of calls, (17) and I got to draw up 'Daizamuls' aka Diazepam. Pretty cool. I've learned a lot about LAS and England in general. All different, but the same. Just with British accents and phrases like 'When did the poly start?' 'Shock box' and 'Sharp Scratch.' The people here are awesome, I can still barely believe it. They were worried I'd be bored because we've mostly…

50 p for 15 minutes!

Welcome to the most expensive and fast blog update ever! I'm here in London with Jon, things are going great! Living at a hostel is a new experience for me, but this one is really nice (as are our roommates). We arrived on Wednesday around 10, checked in, and found the closest pub for a pint. Expensive here, but Jon has learned that Guinness from the tap rocks his world.
Yesterday we visited a station of the London Fire Brigade. We saw all of their equipment, and it was so cool, even my squirrel tail went up! Then, we found our way to LAS headquarters and met with the kind people who have planned this for us. There is much in store, and just thinking of it makes me giggle. Tonight we are doing a night shift until 7am. That should be interesting. The LAS people have treated us extremely well, gave us a nice LAS pen, disposable camera, and other goodies. They also drove us around to see the sights in one of their haz-mat units. Being on the 'wrong' side made me a little nervo…

All study and no play make Ellie go something...something...

I'm convinced that the NREMT exams are designed not to test your knowledge of paramedicine, but you're overall mental health. If you can survive taking a 180 question/3 hour exam then, two days later survive going through about 10 practical stations in rapid succession lasting God knows how long, you should earn a stamp on your forehead that reads: “Sane.”
I love the practical critical fail points (meaning if you do or don’t do this thing, you fail the station) such as: “Did not indicate the need for transport.” Of course you’re transporting, that’s the job!
I’m really looking forward to what I believe will be the most torturous and uncomfortable 30 seconds of my life. During the ventilatory management station, you ventilate the ‘patient’ for 30 seconds while; I assume the evaluator watches you for mistakes. I think it’s designed to see how long you can go before cracking. I’ll be thinking: “The evaluator is still watching me, boy, this is uncomfortable. 1,2,3,4 breath…What if …

Let the happy dancing commence!

All the IV flashes in the world could not yield the volume of happy dancing that I would like to do now.My classmate Jon and I have successfully coordinated a visit to London to ride with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) for two weeks.We’re also going to visit their university, helicopter EMS, communications center, and boat team, among other things.I am currently reading the indemnity form I have to fill out.My favorite part so far states that I cannot offer treatment to a patient unless asked to do so by the crew members:“Sure, I’ll drop that tube, no problem.” hehehe!
I’ve known for a bit, but because of my mild superstition I had to wait for the plane tickets to be purchased and the hostel booked to make it “official” (because blogging makes everything official.)
I am beyond excited about this, I can barely describe it.I try not to think about it too much or I may break out into song and dance at inappropriate times (at church, during NREMT exams, in class, etc.)
As a self-professe…

Back into focus

Nothing cures the soul better than kayaking down a scenic river with one of your best friends. For me, at least. This weekend I went home briefly, went kayaking twice, visited my niece and nephews, and ate pizza…it was nice.

I love to kayak, and found a new place to go near my house. It’s my first river (about class ½) and it has taught me a bit about the logistics of parking one car at the end, and one car at the beginning, instead of carrying the kayaks back to the first car.
Or, you can drive both cars to the end then leave one, drive to the beginning, drop the kayaks off, drive back while someone watches the kayaks, get a sandwich, stop at the first car, change shoes, drive half way back, do a dance, drive the rest of the way, eat a sandwich, drive back to find a trash can, then drive to the kayaks, throw on a PFD, and get in the water. By then the sun is almost down. When you’re done you realize you can only put one kayak in the car at the end, so, you drive one kayak back to the s…