Sunday, 8 November 2009

Placement and explosive situations

As I mentioned in my last entry there is only so much that can be learned in a class room, that is why the structure of the course has a certain number of weeks at university, followed often by six or more weeks out on placement within the ambulance service. Now in a little under two weeks we all start these placements, and that means we have all been split up in to various ambulance stations across the south, in most cases three or four students at each station. I am working in a ambulance as a third person up until christmas, and all my shifts I will be working with my mentor, who I will meet soon.

Now mentors are different to our tutors, mentors are paramedics in the ambulance service, and as well as doing their job they have to look to after us students. This means attending a patient and deciding what we are capable of doing at different calls. This being our first placement, initially it will be observation and then integrating what we have learnt so far in uni, on the road. I will be sure pull my weight back at station however, in one of the most important roles of the student, that of course will be tea making duties!

So hows the best way to prepare for this placement block, yeah, thats right, scenarios, and lots of them. This week we had 2 full days of scenarios, ranging from cardiac arrests, stroke victims, asthma attacks and the big finale scenario to round off the week.

Now this scenario would be described as a Major Incident, it required 5 brave/foolish students to be patients for us to treat. There were also couple of dummies getting in on the action, so quite a few casualties. Now besides this the rest of us had no idea what was in a store, but it didn't disappoint, we were paired up to act as a crew turning up on scene. We were then deployed one crew at a time. Now the scenario was an explosion in a building, the fire service had deemed it safe. My 'crew mate' and I went in as the 5th crew and were directed down stairs. I think this is a good time to mention that there were screams coming from everywhere, and they were really selling it, it was definatly believable. We were directed into what can only be described as a basement/boiler room, that split in two sides, one side was full of various screams, and had crews attending. The other side, and the crew we assisted, their patient was silent....oh crap! Now as bad as it sounds, screaming is sometimes a good sign, it shows the patient is conscious and has an open airway, now the quiet patients, there the ones in real trouble. The first crew were well into CPR and had a defib attached, we took over CPR upon arriving, and the first crew continued to shock the patient every 2 minutes.

It was a tiny little area we were in, under the stairs, and no easy way in or out, you gotta love our tutors, if nothing else they have a good sense of humour. We were also working in near darkness, and we were relying on a mag light to see everything. After examining our patient we discovered he had a serious bleed from the leg, and I promptly applied a tourniquet which seemed to do the trick. (a tourniquet can be used on limbs to cut off circulation to a leg or arm, used when there is a serious injury preventing excessive blood loss)

In total there are 4 of us rotating on CPR and we really needed to get this patient out, however this is when things started going wrong, we had no spinal board, they were being used else where, so in the end we were down there for 20 minutes doing CPR it was hot, dark, and extremely sweaty business. When we got an extra spinal board and got the patient on the spinal board, we had the problem of our exit route, it was extremely narrow and made lifting our patient out very, well entertaining, but finally day light was upon us and our patient was out! We however were a mess, dripping with sweat, covered in dust but it was good experience.

Everyone after the scenario was in a similar state, and all looked, well pretty knackered. I think we all relised at this point just how much there is to learn and prepare for, fortunately we are all still a good 2 years from qualify, so plenty of time for that yet :)

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it's part of the training as there are incidents like that could occur unexpectedly and everyone should be focused and quick on what to do if someone gets seriously hurt.

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