An interesting aspect of WVAC’s operations is the actual workings of a call from the time when somebody dials 911 to request an ambulance to the patient’s arrival at the emergency department. One of WVAC’s most common calls is difficulty breathing. Here is how it might play out:
EMT John Smith and EMT Jane Doe have just gotten on their Saturday evening shift at six o’clock. They both arrived fifteen minutes early to check their primary ambulance. After finding the ambulance to be in great shape and with its equipment fully stocked, Jane and John head back up to headquarters and have dinner with the paramedic up at the Wilton EMS House. Jane is assigned to the Driver position for the shift, which means she will be driving the ambulance to the call, using the radios, helping John and the paramedic in patient care, and driving the ambulance to the hospital. John is assigned to the Crew Chief position, which means he will be primarily involved in patient care on scene, and will help the paramedic in the back of the patient compartment. If a serious call comes in and the paramedic needs to go to the hospital with the patient, John will drive Medic 500, the paramedic flycar, to the hospital. Otherwise, he will be in the back with the patient.
At 7:30 pm, a tone goes off on the crew’s pagers alerting them that they are needed for a call. The call is at 22 Ambulance Lane for a person having difficulty breathing. The paramedic responds in Medic 500 while John and Jane respond in 511, the primary ambulance for that week. Jane drives the ambulance, operating the lights, sirens, and radios and John helps as needed. The ambulance arrives on scene shortly after Medic 500, Jane backs the ambulance into the driveway and lets dispatch know that the ambulance has arrived on scene.
John and Jane follow the paramedic into the house with the stretcher, and an oxygen bag. They find Clark Adams, a 36 year old man having having notable difficulty breathing. The police department and fire department are already on scene because they are designated first responders, which means they are dispatched to serious ambulance calls in addition to WVAC and begin lifesaving patient care. In this case, the first responders have already put Clark on oxygen via a mask. John and Jane introduce themselves to Clark. John asks Clark some questions about his difficulty breathing while Jane checks Clark’s vital signs including his pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
Meanwhile, the paramedic begins setting up an albuterol breathing treatment and IV equipment for Clark. Shortly, the EMS, Police, and Fire personnel get Clark on the ambulance stretcher and wheel him out the ambulance.
In the ambulance, the paramedic listens to Clark’s lung sounds while John switches Clark’s oxygen from the portable oxygen tank to the ambulance’s onboard oxygen and Jane helps the paramedic put Clark on the heart monitor. Based on John’s questions, Jane’s assessment findings when monitoring Clark’s vital signs, and Clark’s lung sounds, the paramedic determines that Clark, who has a history of asthma, is having an asthma attack. The paramedic administers an albuterol breathing treatment and starts an IV in Clark’s arm. Clark says he feels better with the oxygen and breathing treatment and his respiratory rate slows down. The paramedic will stay with Clark to monitor him in case the trouble breathing returns.
Jane hops up front in the ambulance and begins to drive to Norwalk Hospital while John follows in the paramedic’s vehicle. En-route to the hospital, the paramedic calls the hospital via the radio and lets them know that they are coming in with Clark who had trouble breathing. The paramedic relays Clark’s history and the assessment findings. The hospital acknowledges and assigns Clark room number two in the Emergency Department when WVAC arrives with the patient. Jane pulls the ambulance into the hospital Emergency Department ambulance parking area while John parks Medic 500. Jane and the paramedic unload the stretcher from the ambulance and take Clark into the Emergency Department where John meets them. Once they arrive at room two, the team gives a more detailed report of Clark’s condition to the Emergency Department staff and bid farewell to Clark, who seems to be feeling better.
Jane replaces the stretcher linens, loads the stretcher back into the ambulance, and cleans/disinfects the patient compartment. John, Jane and the paramedic return to WVAC headquarters where John and the paramedic both write up their patient care reports, on average, around an hour after the initial call was dispatched. Each document Clark’s vital signs throughout the trip, pertinent exam findings, and the treatment and patient care they provided. With both reports finished and filed, John, Jane, prepare for another call.