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St John Siren of 2 September

Mercury Bay | Fri September 05, 2014

If spring isn’t here already it appears that it is making a pretty good effort. August has been a month of fits and starts, plenty of work to keep us busy on some days and very quiet on other days. There have been several days during August where we have attended six call outs and on those days our second ambulance has come in real handy.

We have attended 53 call-outs, 33 medical and 20 trauma, with six of those being transported further by Westpac to Auckland, Thames or Waikato hospitals. Of all those call-outs there was a significant number that were not transported to hospitals. We are working very closely with our local doctors and health providers in establishing alternative care pathways whereby we can look after you in the local area, or we can provide treatment to you at home and make a recommendation that you see your own doctor. In saying that, there are cases where the best place to be is in hospital and that will always be the case. Everyone can be reassured that if it is in your best interests to be left at home or within the local community, we will do that. Calling an ambulance doesn’t automatically mean a trip across the hill.

Now having said all that, we are coming across cases where it is obviously a good idea to call for ambulance assistance. Recently we have had patients transported by private car with fractured legs and arms to a medical facility. Whilst this all sounds good, the getting a patient to care in your car may not be in the patient’s best interests. The pain of transporting a patient with obvious fractures, the possibility of further injury and the inability to properly look after a patient in the back of a car are some of the reasons as to why it is a really good idea to keep the patient where they are, keep them calm, provide first aid and call an ambulance. Besides being able to provide effective pain relief and effective treatment, you will arrive at the best destination for the condition that you may have without unnecessary delay.

So what do you do at home if someone has chest pain? As a general rule of thumb I would say treat all spontaneous chest pain as cardiac unless obviously otherwise, ie blunt trauma to the chest, penetrating injuries, etc. What should you do?

  • If the patient is conscious, help them to a position of comfort, preferably sitting and STAY CALM.
  • If the patient becomes unconscious, start CPR.
  • Call 111 for an ambulance, you may be asked to give the patient some aspirin if you have some available. You may also be asked to administer the patient’s medications if you have not already done so.
  • Avoid giving food or fluids, alcohol or cigarettes as this may cause further stress of the patients heart.
  • Try to keep the patient calm and reassured, again to reduce stress of the heart.
  • Loosen any tight clothing.
  • Stay with the patient until the ambulance arrives. If the patient should collapse prior to ambulance arrival, Dial 111 again to let them know of the change to the patient’s condition and start CPR.

Don’t know how to do CPR? Watch this space and we will show you how to do CPR for free!

An interesting call in the early hours one morning this month, it was easy to find the general location of the property, however it took us a further 30 minutes to locate the actual house, all because there was not number on the letterbox! Very frustrating for us but it would have been even more frustrating for a patient sitting inside with a medical condition or a collapse where a delay of 30 minutes could have made a big difference. So please get those house numbers on your letter boxes.

Take care out there, but remember were here for you 24/7 - DIAL 111 for AMBULANCE.

Mike Burrows

St John Whitianga Station Manager


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