Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trauma and Chest Pain

Online EMT and Paramedic Practice Exams

Chest pain and trauma were the themes for my most recent shift in the ER. I worked in urgent care on my most recent shift. I like working in urgent care because it is very hands on. Our urgent care center is where we send our less serious patients after triage. At our hospital, this is where you go if you come in with the flu, or an injury that won’t require stitches or serious pain medication.

When you are the EMT in urgent care you get to wrap a lot of ankles, knees and wrists. The other benefit to working as the tech in urgent care is that you are on the trauma team. You get alerted and participate whenever there is a trauma alert. I worked on three significant trauma cases. Two of those I met on the helicopter pad.

I participated in the decon of a man who had been burned with sulfuric acid. Luckily his burns were from the knees down and his airway wasn’t compromised. I hosed him down for close to 40 minutes while baking soda was used to neutralize the sulfuric acid. This man had my genuine sympathy. He was in so much pain, even after receiving a horse’s dose of morphine and a dose of dilaudid. He has a significant recovery ahead of him.

I helped an orthopedic surgeon set an open ankle fracture. I never had an opportunity in the field to do that. First of all, it was strange to undo the bandaging and splinting I would have done in the field. After sedating the patient, several of us held traction on the leg while the doctor set the ankle. Then we bandaged the open wound and used a fiberglass splint to secure the ankle until the patient went to surgery.

I spent the second half of my day in the chest pain center. Cardiac care is my favorite thing in the world. If trauma was my favorite, I might just stay an EMT. But I truly love cardiac care. That’s the biggest reason I want to get a paramedic license.

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