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What goes on in an ambulance?

I want to be a paramedic and i'm wondering what goes on when you pick up a patient. #healthcare

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Cynthia’s Answer

First we get to the patient. We treat what we can on scene, and in most patients we can get a good sense of what is going on and what will need to be done, as well as completing an assessment and physical exam and sometimes treating. It used to be that paramedics scooped up the patient and left to the hospital- this is no longer true since there are many things we can stabilize on scene. On the ambulance, we do any patient care we weren't able to do on scene. This includes reassessments, detailed exams, and sometimes starting IVs/ getting a 12 lead/ giving medications/ continuing treatments. We also call in to the hospital we would like to go to so that they know we're coming. Most patients are not critically ill- in these cases, we spend a good part of the transport just talking. Unfortunately many patients don't have the opportunity to talk with people much aside from hospital visits. Sometimes talking about the problem they've called for, sometimes we just chat. For me when time permits I do med counts and other interventions to ensure that patients understand how to take their medication, that they don't have any problems (like lack of access to food) that would make social service intervention beneficial, etc. Least exciting is the paperwork- unfortunately there's quite a bit of it. When a patient is critically ill, most of our time is spent stabilizing them and preventing further decline. This can include medications, defibrillating, and airway interventions. In these situations we (ideally) have a few people in the patient compartment to ensure quality care. If you're interested, you can call your local ambulance services and ask to ride out- it may or may not be allowed, but is a fun experience if you get the chance.
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David’s Answer

Alonso, sometimes the patient becomes frightened and runs out. That’s why the police run with you a lot. Sometimes the patients are the police. So you have to be a take charge kind of person. I’ve been, spit at, bitten, thrown across the ambulance and the list goes on. You have restraints on the stretcher and sedative medications to help you with this. I do not want to paint a pretty pricture for you, because it’s rarley pretty. That ambulance ride can be nauseating, and that’s for people who are already often nauseated. At the risk of sounding old fashion, you’re two best friends in an ambulance, are oxygen and that gas pedal. If you have any more questions about this, feel free to ask me. David George (Retired Paramedic)

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