Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rescue 5 and Engine 7, Respond to 1721 Westminister Street, apartment 1107 for a Medic Alert sounding…

Michael Morse
This is a guest post by Michael Morse. Check out his full blog at rescuingprovidence.com

The blood had dried onto the tile floor where he fell, a pool formed under his head and a stream on his right side. I placed the board on his left side and with help from the guys on Engine Co. 7 loaded him onto the stretcher. A search of his apartment turned up his ID as well as medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. Our patient was a Reverend, we learned, sixty-two years old with blunt force trauma to the back of his head and an injury to his left elbow.

Was he assaulted? Did he fall because of his low blood sugar level, or was his sugar low because he had been on the ground for an unknown period of time? Was his combativeness due to the head injury or hypoglycemia? Could I get through this call without wearing the numerous bodily fluids floating around?

His glucose level was 32. I gave him some glucagon IM; an IV was nearly impossible at that point, he was delirious, fighting us with all he had, which at six feet and at least 250 lbs was a lot. We managed to get our patient secured to the stretcher, and out of his apartment. Bill from Engine 7 drove us toward Rhode Island Hospital while me and Mike stayed in back of the truck wrestling with the Reverend. Mike tried to get some oral glucose into him but failed. For some reason people with low blood sugar fight the very treatment that can get them back to normal. Drool and snot mixed with the blood on the man’s face, smearing his glasses which had somehow managed to stay on the bridge of his nose. Knowing how annoying that can be I wiped the glass clean and put them back on his face.

Somehow his arm broke free of my hold. Before I could grab it he re-opened the wound on his elbow and smeared fresh blood on the wall next to the stretcher. Mike had his hand full holding the legs down, the patient was kicking up a storm. I saw a good vein on his right arm and tried for an IV, knowing that a dose of D-50 was just what we needed at this point. I missed the moving target, the fight continued until we backed into the rescue bay.

City Life Book Medical Alert Michael MorseThe back of the rescue was littered with debris; blood and mucus dripped from the walls. We restrained the patient the best we could and wheeled him in. Security was called, four of us held him down, Joanne started an IV and administered the D-50. A few minutes later he was alert and conscious. I stayed in his room until the doctor on call showed up. The Reverend looked me in the eye, glanced at my bloody uniform, put two and two together then looked away as tears pooled in his eyes.

“You’re pretty spry for big guy,” I said, trying to make light of the situation.

“I’m sorry for your troubles,” he said. “I have no recollection after pushing the medic alert button. I’ve been told I get a little crazy when my sugar drops too low.”

“Just a little,” I said, extending my hand to grasp the one he offered. We shook, he closed his eyes and rested.

Michael Morse worked as an EMT and firefighter in Providence, RI before retiring this year. His latest book, City Life is a poignant look at the lives of the people who need 911, and those who respond. Read more about it at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016QVDCU6.