wow, i have not posted for a while! so i thought it is about time to update you on my meager life.
As my gap year drives to a close i have been volunteering on the back of an ambulance service in Tel Aviv, Israel. One of the countries busiest, never sleeping cities. I am only volunteering for 5 weeks (plus one week of training) and am currently in my last week and a half =[. Whilst on the training course we learnt about CPR's, Births, and traumas. Along with some other issues but these are the big three that every volunteer from abroad wants. On the Ambulance in actual fact you receive mostly a lot of old people who fall over and need to be lifted back up, homeless men, more old people who are just old and frail, and other such mundane calls that lead you to quietly whisper to your fellow first responder, wouldn't it have been more worthwhile to call a taxi.
However from time to time an interesting call does crop up. Over the past 5 weeks my friends have had suicide attempts, miscarriages, stabbings and more with the occasional CPR (mostly unsuccessful but sometimes successful), trauma and as of yet only one birth. My luck has lead my most interesting calls to be a homeless man who made a sexual advance at me, a 14 year old girl who fainted because she couldn't shit and a psychiatric patient who told me she was going to be the queen of the new world and only ordered the ambulance because she felt like going to hospital even though she was feeling perfectly fine. However today i finally had an interesting call!
I was with my friend, a soldier who was training to be a first aider for the army and one of my favourite drivers. It was a good shift in general, we had an old man who fell into glass, he was not badly injured luckily, just a few scrapes which we cleaned and bandaged. Then i saw a lot of my friends on other ambulances and another of my favourite drivers who i had not seen in a while. We had a couple more calls about fainting (in this heat they are also quite common) It was a fun but usual day of taking vital signs and transporting to hospital. Then we get a call for an 92 year old unconscious patient. Now immediately this sounds good to who does not know. However i have had a number of calls for unconscious patients and when we arrive the patient is fully concious. But on this occasion they told us it was urgent! so lights flashing, siren blaring we drive through traffic jams to the patients house. We arrive to a find a man who looks about 150 years old lying on the floor with another man giving him compressions, my friend and i almost jump for joy as we finally have a CPR case! i know this sounds insensitive considering someone is dying but to put a positive spin on it we want to feel like we are saving peoples lives! the man giving compressions has already attached a difribulator but a shock has not been advised. For those of you who do not know compressions are extreamly tiring! and in pairs we are told to switch every two minuets at most! i have no idea how long this man was doing compressions but it definatly took us longer than two minuets to arrive! We begin to take out the equipment and attach the oxygen when the mobile ICU arrives as they have more advance equipment we stop assembling our own and allow them to take over, at this point i am handed a cardiopump and told to take over from the man and give compressions. My friend and i switch on and off given compressions for 10 minuets while the man recovers and the MICU parametics intubate and give adreniline. At this point my driver gets bored and decides to leave, despite our protests he insists that we leave claiming that there were too many people in the room and that we could be tending to another patient in need. So bitterly we leave. it is now around 1 30 and we have been on shift since 6:45/7:00 and have not eaten anything so the soldier and i go to find pizza while my friend and the driver wait for us. it takes a while and when we get back the others tell us that two minuets after we left the MICU team came down and took the man to hospital he had regained pulse! Thereby classifying it as a successful CPR. Since we knew one of the paramedics on the MICU and had already had a shift with her we were able to speak to her at the station and she told us that they were able to see the CPR had worked becuase the man had a blood pressure, the MICU has a big monitor that reads these things atumoatically, which therefore meant he must have a pulse! she also told us that he made it to the hospital withought loosing the pulse which happens quite regularly! so we were very happy and felt as though we had really made a difference. To put it into perspective, CPR calls on the regular ambulance are rare in themselves - as you may have gathered. But even then most are unsuccessful, for instance my friend in jerusalem had a CPR on a 68 year old woman, significantly younger than our patient, and the woman unfortuantly did not make it. And as mentioned above even when pulse is regained, it is not often sustained.
So that is pretty much my exciting news for now! sorry for such a long entry, im just still on a bit of a high!