Friday, January 23, 2009

Disaster Averted

Ok, here's a great example of CYA:

Responded to a 20-I. On scene, NOPD says "I can't believe they called you for this bullshit! This accident happened over 2 hours ago!" He indicated that one of the passengers had said something about back pain. We went to the car, expecting to be cancelled. The grand total of damage to the car? A cracked rear light cover. Inside were two females, one saying her neck hurt, one saying her lower back hurt. The one with neck pain vascillated about going to the hospital with us but eventually said for us to take her. Her friend said she would go too.

Slightly pissed off about the whole obvious bullshit of it all, but I figured they should get the whole "treatment" because this was obviously a sprouting personal injury lawsuit. Brought the stretcher and collar and LSB over to the car, immobilized them properly, blah, blah, blah.

Neck pain on the benchseat, heavy girl on the stretcher. Asked neck pain when her LMP was. "8 months ago." Why? "I'm 8 months pregnant; I'm due next month." Okay, whatever. (Didn't realize she was pregnant; thought she was just "shaped" that way.) Both have rock-stable vitals, no obvious injury.

We're code 77 for like 2 hours before 6239 relieves us at University. No new complaints, the girls are fine. We move on.

Later on that day, 6239 (Katrina) relieves us again. She says that the ultrasound on our pregnant patient revealed the fetus was dead! Holy crap! "From the accident?" I asked. No, apparently it had died earlier and she didn't know it.

Here's how it could have happened in an alternate universe:
NOPD: "Y'all can cancel."
Us: "10-22 per NOPD unit whatever." Or maybe make patient contact and "You don't really need to go with us, you can drive yourself to the hospital if you want." 10-22 or patient refusal dispo.

One month later the woman goes to the hospital to have her baby. It's dead. The fetal demise could easily be attributed to the earlier accident and lack of medical care at the time. Who do you think the first people would be to spring to mind to sue for negligence or something like that? Yep, EMS.

Really, really glad we took her to the hospital. New rear light cover: $50. Ambulance ride to the hospital for bullshit complaint: $700. Two paramedics keeping themselves out of a shitload of trouble for said bullshit complaint: Priceless.


Anonymous said...

The argument is still going to be raised from the patient (likely) that if they had not sat there on scene for 2 hours; that the fetus would have not died in utero. My questions would be:
1. Who said that it appeared that the fetus died "earlier" and how did they come to that conclusion? Believe it or REALLY does matter. Especially when it comes to a classification of cause and manner of death.
2. Was there any evidence of trauma to the abdomen?
3. What is her pregnancy HX?
4. Hx of drug use?
I know that these are somewhat routine...but now being in forensics, I REALLY see things full circle... and have learned so much about how injuries occur, patterns of injuries and much more about the diseases encountered in the field.
Stay in touch and I miss you all !


Anonymous said...

Great job by the way ! Forgot to say that