I went recently on a call in the snow. The snow started around 10 pm. We got a trouble breathing call around 1130.
There was just enough snow by then to make things slippery and annoying. We parked at the end of a short but steep driveway.
I still haven’t figured out what is best in these situations: leave the cot, and fetch the patient, or take the cot and risk killing everyone on the way to the ambulance. Or, just give up completely. Either way, these calls are fraught with risk.

Anyway, we pushed the cot to the door, and even carried it into the house. There we found an incredibly sick guy, struggling for oxygen and looking within inches of death. “Oh, good god” I said aloud.
I threw a neb treatment on the guy and had already made the decision to get the hell out of there. “Sir, stand up.” I said firmly to him. He was so starved of oxygen, but he obeyed and we buckled him in.
There was cop on scene, thank God, and he and my partner took the cot and eased it out of the house. I stood at the top of the driveway and watched as they both slid half way down the with the patient on the cot between them. It was horrible to watch, but all made it down in one piece.  I then slid myself down the drive and found the patient was so hypoxic that he was in a panic.  I don't think he even realized that he was nearly dumped in the street.  He fought us as we put CPAP on his face, but after a few minutes he began to calm down and I was exponentially less nervous.
Later, I expressed my horrible feeling as they went down the driveway to my partner.
"I saw my career flash before my eyes, dude, and there was nothing I could do."
“I was sliding, but the cop had it.” he replied confidently.
“No, no he didn’t.  Nobody had it. It was the scariest moment of my life.”

If he had called an hour and a half earlier, life would have been easier for everyone, and there would have been less danger. Given the state of him, he had been feeling bad for at least an hour and a half. In inclement weather, just call! Well, call before the weather comes.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That's so strange to read - I had a virtually identical job over here in the UK a few weeks ago when the snow all came down.

The cops helped us move the patient, it took forever to get to hospital in the snow and without cpap it was touch and go.

We had to drag the trolley through the snow, but fortunately it was flat, I can feel the terror you must have done when you saw the trolley sliding!