:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Saturday, May 13, 2006  

Ambulance Call

after almost two years operational, we made our first ambulance call yesterday. a woman entered the clinic barely able to walk, breathing fast, disorganized in her thought, with a heart rate of 140. i didn't know her previously.

i called 911 and spoke with a very annoying, by the book receptionist who kept scolding me for giving her more information than she wanted, out of sequence with her set of questions. we spent more time with her scolding than anything else, but aside from that, i was really impressed with the emergency response. the ambulance crew arrived within 3 minutes. turns out they were local guys from right around the corner.

the team did a great job assessing her while i finished up seeing a patient with gastritis. they were cool. they felt she was stable and thought she could transport herself to the ER. this would save her over $300. after speaking with the patient, i wound up finishing her care in my clinic so she avoided an ER visit altogether. turns out she was hyperventilating and panicking. she was also on herbal weight loss medicines which probably provoked the attack. she got some IV fluids, reasurance and recovered very nicely from the episode. final cost was $50 for the visit, IV fluids and blood sugar test.

i learned recntly that the paramedic school here in albuquerque is starting to train their paramedics in primary health care because so many of their visits are like this one where the person has a basic problem that could resolve with some simple steps in the field, but the person doesn't have insurance, a doctor or clinic to go to. i'm not sure if this is happening in other states. i support it. if the doctors in the health system don't meet the need, then let another trained group of professionals take over the work.

people need the care.


posted by andru | 5/13/2006 01:28:00 PM | |


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