Failed in the Field

Some days be just plain strange. Driving off from a residence:


“What the hell was that?” asks DTs.

“I dunno, lemme check. Hey, we gotta huge honkin’ hole in the rear tire!”


Rear tires are “dualies”, a set of two tires together, so we’re drivable. We backroad it to the station, check out and switch over to another bambulance in time to take another call which requires the use of medication pumps. The patient is loaded and DTs plugs all his goodly toys in to use the “wall outlet” power in the box.

“Bee-lop!” says the pump. “Battery low!”

Not a problem, thinks DTs. “Hey driver, hit the inverter switch please.”

“It’s not up here. You got it back there.”

“Um, mine’s not working.” The box has lights but no auxilliary power.

“Bee-lop!” says the pump.

“Shut up,” mutters DTs, and adjusts the drips by hand.

Finished with that call, we again trade units. Our next patient is having chest pains and needs transport to a cath lab.

“Warning, Warning Will Robinson!” The heart monitor is going nuts.

“Wuzzup?” thinks DTs.

“Asystole! Asystole! ohmygodohmygodohmygod! AAAAAaaaaahhhh!” shouts the monitor as it begins pissing a stream of paper onto the bambulance floor. Meanwhile, the rhythm shown is a paced sinus rhythm, 80 bpm; since this patient has a pacemaker from a previous cardiac episode, that seems about normal. A quick check of all the leads shows them each attached to the patient.

“How’re you feeling, ma’am?” asks DTs.

“Just fine!” chirps the patient. “What’s that racket?”

“Uppity paperweight, ma’am,” says DTs, turning it off.

Now, lest you get the wrong idea, I gotta say – of every service in NoVA (and we all see each other at the ambulance bays of facilities, etc.) mine has the very best of everything. EVERY ambulance is brand-new, almost every piece of equipment is brand-new as well as being top-of-the-line.

It was just one of those days, is all.


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