Flight 027

Dispatched at about 18:45 for an MVC south east of us about 20-30 miles. Arrive on scene and hop into the ambulance. 50ish year old guy with oxygen on his face, no blood. Medic sitting calmly at the side of the rig. He begins his presentation. “Mr Smith began experience chest pain this evening around…”

Hold on a second. We were dispatched for a motor vehicle crash. Is this the right patient?

Yes, it wasn’t a car accident, it was chest pain.

Medic continues his presentation. I give the patient some aspirin, which should have been the first thing he got, even before an IV site. We were getting even more irritated at this particular medic.

We unload the patient and the medic hands me the EKG (a 12 lead) that they obtained in the field. He tells me, “Mr. Smith wanted us to take him to PotHole Hospital, but when I saw this EKG, I knew you guys would be seeing him sooner or later, so I figured I’d just call the helicopter.”

I took the EKG from him. Normal sinus rhythm. No ST elevations. No depressions. No t-wave inversions. Normal rate, normal axis. The EKG has a printout at the top that reads “Anterior Infarct, age undetermined.” He had short R waves in V1 & 2, and the remainder were normal. Essentially, it was a normal EKG with a suggestion that he may have had a small heart attack in the past.

I was livid…too livid to say anything to the medic.

This patient should have been driven to the closest ER for oxygen, nitroglycerin and lopressor and admitted (or observed) for serial cardiac enzymes. He should NOT have been flown to a cath center by helicopter with absolutely no indication that he was even having any reduced blood flow to his heart. Furthermore, the medics have protocol that outlines appropriate pre-hosptial treatment, including aspirin, which he didn’t recieve until I got there.

This medic, while he probably thought he was doing something good for the patient, was poorly trained, didn’t know his protocols and as a result, put 5 lives in danger by dispatching the helicopter unneccesarily. Everyone knows I love to fly, but not for BS calls. Not to mention the HUGE bill his insurance company will get for the flight.

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