Cricket, with Added Excitement
It is quite possible that I am still buzzing after my last duty. In fact, it’s almost certain.
It was a cricket match. That in itself isn’t too exciting (I don’t follow sport of any kind). This seemed destined to be a boring duty, and the only possible relief was that it had the potential of finishing early.
At first, I wasn’t wrong. We had one patient, a lovely little boy who seemed to have caught a stomach bug off of his brother. He seemed to have been quite keen to watch the game. Instead, before the match started, he vomited his ice cream on to the ground and spent half an hour in our tent, being monitored by myself and HistStudent (a student from the other local Uni who is a leader at my cadet unit). He was very nice, and, considering his day was basically ruined, very co-operative. We even had a brief lesson on pulses, before we advised his dad to take him home to rest.
It began to look like he would be our only patient. 18:00 came around, and the other two members on duty had to go. Someone then came to take our tent away, as well as the ambulance car. This was an irritating development, as we had two hours of the event left, and they wanted to take away everything except my and HistStudent’s response bags (the standard First Aid kits we wonder around with). I managed to persuade them to leave me the gases and AED from the car, so at least I had almost all the equipment I am allowed to use.
Just as we began to pack the tent up, we got grabbed by a marshal. There was an old lady by one of the stands who felt extremely hot and breathless. Grabbing the oxygen set, the AED (I’m not getting caught out on that one!) and HistStudent, we set off to the far side of the pitch (typical!).
A kind marshal had taken our patient in to the shade before we got there, but she was still really warm to the touch (I’m not qualified to use a thermometer, so I can only really use a hand on the forehead). Oh, and she was breathing 50 times a minute…
We consider anything from 10 to 30 breaths a minute okay (though in most cases we hope for about 10 to 20). Everything either side is a problem. 50 is rather a lot! Could be hyperventilation or a panic attack, but also a symptom of heat-stroke. On goes the pulse-oximeter, SpO2 is 88%. We aim for 95-98%. Hyperventilation causes high SpO2, so it’s probably not that. On goes the oxygen, and out goes a 999 call. I’m now pretty sure we have heat-stroke here, and that’s an emergency.
The ambulance arrives and the paramedics quickly get her in to the air-conditioned cool of their shiny yellow truck. HistStudent and I are left to gather up the equipment and detritus. The cricket finished while we were busy, so all we had to do was pack up the tent, arrange for its collection, and head home.
I’m halfway home before it twigs. I had never given oxygen before, not in my own right. Sure, I’ve put a mask on someone’s face in training, and once after a paramedic handed it to me, but that’s always been someone else’s decision. This was my own, based on my own observations and knowledge of protocol. And it worked. Our patients resps dropped down to 34 a minute and SpO2 came up to 96%. While that’s not perfect, it’s a marked improvement.
Was I buzzing just a little after that? Oh yes. Am I now? Definitely!