Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Reminder

It's finally starting to get pretty cold here in the Big City, and with the falling temperatures comes a reminder about home safety.

I had an EMT student following me around the other night, and as the hours went on I kept hoping something interesting would come in to show him.  (I remembered my ED observation time from EMT class, where the most exciting thing I saw was an old guy falling off a step ladder.)  Just before he was set to leave, we received a patch for an incoming code.  I brought him into the trauma room and had him help me lay out the body bag, hang a couple liters of LR, and make sure the defibrillator was at the bedside.  He seemed pretty excited when I told him he could do compressions.

Unfortunately, the patient barely made it off the ambulance stretcher before he was pronounced.  No electrical activity on the monitor, ultrasound showed no cardiac movement, and he had been down for at least 45 minutes.  EMS said he had been found unresponsive on the basement couch by the wife shortly after she returned home.  He was only in his early 50s.  

Read in the news the next morning that the death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty home furnace.  Scary how easily that can happen, and tragic that he died so young.  Now that people are starting to turn on their heat, it would be a good idea to buy some CO detectors.

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