Sunday, November 23, 2008

That's what she said...

Had a call the other day where there were multiple lacerations, and a lot of blood.
Scrubbed the entire rescue with bleach, a lot of blood, I mean.
Blood is like smoke- it gets everywhere. Places you didn't even know existed until you see that red ooze coming out from under them.

A few days later, back at the station after another call, one of the firefighters asked if anyone had been at the call "where the guy cut his finger."

I had to laugh.
Not at any of the people involved, mind you, but at the discrepancy between how he had interpreted what dispatch said, what dispatch actually said, and what actually happened.

Some of you reading this are likely familiar with how often what dispatch says is happening, and what is actually happening, are two different things. Sometimes, it's because of a misunderstanding. Sometimes, it's the similarity of road or street names that are confusing. Sometimes, the caller doesn't KNOW what is going on, or where they are. And sometimes, the situation has changed by the time you get there.

In the limited time I've been doing this, I've learned to keep an open mind. "Elderly female, fell from standing" might mean that there's no real problem, she just needs help getting back up- or it might mean a cardiac event. "One car MVA, unknown injuries" might mean someone slid into the ditch and is uninjured, or it might mean calling the helicopter- or it might be a car that has been sitting off the road for a week, and someone driving by called it in but "couldn't stop." "Abdominal pain" could be a big lunch, or appendicitis, or trauma that the patient didn't want to tell anyone about. An "alarm activation" might be just that, burned toast... or a working structure fire.

My point here... if I have one... is that everything is like that. Whatever you hear, you don't really know what is going on until/unless you are there. And sometimes, not even then. Whether it's an emergency call, or office gossip, or anything in between. People see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and jump to conclusions. All the time. It's not a vindictive thing, necessarily. It's a human thing.

The human brain excels at making connections.
Sometimes, it makes the wrong ones.

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