My first run this morning reminded me of how different things are in other parts of the world. Which is good that I'm reminded of this because I'm trapped here in the "Garden State".
We're dispatched to a local hotel, on the other side of town, for the 55 year old female who fell down seven steps. As we approached the facility, I made a jocular comment to my partner about the hotel sign advertising their "Fall Special". Sorry EMS humor.
I directed the rig to the rear of the building and as I turned the wheel to round the corner, we were greeted by several tour buses and a sea of tourists from the Orient. PD walked over to us and reported that our patient was a male and upstairs. He had apparently fallen, incurring a bump on his forehead and a possibly broken wrist. I said that dispatch informed us we had a female patient. To that the officer just laughed and said, "I don't think so."
Climbing the stairs, we soon walked into the hotel's welcome area that was populated with about the same amount of tourists that were waiting outside. We then found our patient, a 76 year old, sitting in a chair, arm resting on a table propped up by a towel. A small golf ball sized bump was beginning to form on his forehead. As I knelt down, the only member of their party that spoke the King's English approached. He informed me that SHE had fallen, hurting her arm and head. After asking the patient the usual questions, through my newly found translator, I surmised that her wrist would need an x-ray for a complete diagnosis. I offered to split the appendage and then transport her to the ER.
The group then exploded into a sea of chatter, I guess it was a group decision. Rising to my feet as the think tank processed the data that I had just given them, I bumped into a new fellow that was standing way too close to me. As I turned to greet him, he began pointing at his eyes and mumbling "fix, fix."
Having a three year old, I could notice conjunctivitis from a mile away. I turned to the translator and pointed to my new patient. He told me not to worry about him, that he had been complaining about his eyes for the last two days. I explained that he would need to see a doctor before the whole group came down with it. The translator than asked me why I didn't just give him the medication he needed. Taking a second to respond, Mr Pinkeye rubbed his eyes, and walked out of the room.
Turning my attention back the my original male/female patient, the translator informed me that the patient really wanted to go to Washington DC and if we could, set the arm and then splint it. Now once helping an orthopedic doc set a wrist once, I smiled a bit, running through the steps that I remembered. But then remembering my lack of x-rays and knowledge, I informed them that we would splint the wrist and transport the patient to the ER. The group began to shake their heads in a negative fashion and I was informed again that she really wanted to see DC.
Taking a deep breath and explaining one last time that we could only splint and transport because an x-ray would be needed for a proper diagnoses.
"But you don't understand, we are here to see Washington DC."
At this rate, I was ready to note that as her chief complaint. The translator then asked if we could just splint the arm and leave her be. To that I said if we treat we have to transport. By now, we had been joined by a curious by standard, who had begun fashioning a makeshift splint for our patient.
I asked the translator what was going on and he informed me, you guessed it, that she really wanted to go to DC and this guy was some kind of doctor where they were from. He was going to build a splint and get her ready to travel. Shaking my head, my partner began getting the appropriate information so that our patient could sign off on our release for treatment and transport.
I began packing up our equipment when the officer approached. He told me that I was to walk out the door first because I had gloves on and Mr Pinkeye grabbed the handle after rubbing his eyes. Laughing a bit, I pulled out an alcohol prep pad and cleaned the handle down before we all left.
What can I say, you can't make this stuff up.
3 years ago