EMS World

OCT 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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EMSWORLD.com | OCTOBER 2018 47 "I can't believe I'm doing this to my wife!" he cries out. "I know," their friend replies. "Just keep going." His cadence never wavers, but for a fleeting moment Chris acknowledges a brutal truth: that the excruciating pain that had been his wife's daily companion of years would finally be gone. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4… Their daughter arrives with the AED. No shock advised. A firm, steady beat meets his finger tips at her throat. Chris continues to bag her, processing ever y thing as he watches her chest rise and fall. She stirs beneath the mask, tr ying to speak—and the tension wire that's been holding them all together in this ultimate caregiving act finally snaps. Their daughter starts cr ying as Chris sags in relief. Firefighters make their way into the room, and Chris backs out. Time to let them do their job. The entire incident has taken maybe 6–8 minutes, but for the family it was an eternity. The Scarlet Letter Anne's memories of the event are patchy at best, filled with sensory recall. The first thing she remembers is the mask—the plastic mask from the BVM "smelled disgusting." Then there were bright lights, Chris yelling her name, and her daughter squeezing her hand. The highly driven caregiver in her had returned by the time she was being wheeled through her kitchen. She remembers telling a para- medic in back with her to buckle up, as she and Chris had been part of a recent ambulance safety initiative, and it was important to her. The hospital was a series of more bright lights and intense discom- for t. Her chest ached from the compressions, and her chronic pain flared. She was restless and still disoriented, unable to keep still or lie down. Her regimen was ver y specific to timing and dosing, and all of that was now out the window. She struggled with the assessment, the CT scan. Her pain was increasing. The ER staf f worked to establish a timeline regarding what hap- pened. Her pain was religiously regulated, but the Lyrica had been causing memor y loss—was it possible she inadver tently doubled her Lyrica? Her Ox ycontin? Her fentanyl patches were a dif ferent brand from a different pharmacy, leaving her open to fluctuations in absorption. She was in precipitous menopause from recent surger y, her entire chemistr y different. Whatever had happened, for the first time in decades of medically directed pain management, she had overdosed, and it almost killed her. The hospital recommended admitting her. Chris was reluctant but agreed it might be prudent. She was moved to the telemetr y unit for two days. The hospitalist came in for a cursor y inter view. She told Anne, "You don't need all these medications, so we'll just see how it goes today." She then cut Anne's regimen by 75% without any discussion. She took hours to respond back when Anne's symptoms escalated, then told her, "Honey, you can do other forms of pain management too, like hot packs or tea." Anne produced a hot pack from under the blanket and stared back at her. "Like this one?" The hospitalist lef t the room, leaving Anne without relief and a large red A on her medical record—for addict. That A would follow her through the rest of her stay. PROFILES IN EMS > Lightweight and comfortable > Slip resistant rubber/PU sole > CROSSTECH ® - safe against blood and body fl uids > Protection and stability in all weather and across multiple terrains AIRPOWER ® XR1 State of the art Wildland and Station/EMS boot Quality boots for law enforcement, rescue services, fire, military, forest, safety and leisure www.haixusa.com HAIX ® North America Inc. 2320 Fortune Drive, Suite 120 Lexington KY 40509 Toll free 866-344-HAIX (4249) For More Information Circle 41 on Reader Service Card

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