That Heart Pounding Ambulance Run!

new born baby

I recalled so vividly in my mind about what happened yesterday.

I had just returned from two succeeding ambulance runs back and forth Al Hada main hospital. I took a fast lunch break with our EMS head, Ate Pillar, and then reached for the ringing telephone. Labor&Delivery is requesting an immediate transfer of their 30wk primigravida in labor to the main hospital because we don’t have a NICU to admit her baby after birth. We rushed to prepare everything only to find out that the baby was already delivered in that said department. We still anticipated for the transfer of the baby alone. We pulled out our transport incubator with built-in ventilator machine since we were updated that the baby was intubated. When we arrived at the Nursery, we saw the poor baby reintubated because she was desaturating. After 15 more minutes from the doctor and the respiratory therapist who stabilized the baby inside the ventilator, and the nurses who finalized the papers and endorsements, we headed for the ambulance that was waiting outside. Ate Pilar asked Allen, my senior nurse, to accompany me because it’s my first time to transport a ventilated baby. By protocol, the RT and resident doctor should come along.

new born baby

Inside that narrow patient compartment of the ambulance were us four people and one big incubator stretcher housing that pale baby on 85-92% O2 sat at 100%FiO2. Every five minutes, the patient desaturated. The RT would manipulate the VR set up, bag the baby, suction her. We were there monitoring and assisting him all the way. The greatest challenge during that long ride was the decreasing supply of oxygen in our two tanks underneath the stretcher. We had spare tanks. Allen unscrewed the almost empty tank on the accessible side of the stretcher and tried to replace it hurriedly. He put on two sets of gloves and managed to exchange the tank within that crowded space we had there. He caught a few mild electric shocks because of the power switch and the metal cylinders he was manipulating. After five minutes of that heart pounding, breathtaking rescue, we were all vigilant again with the patient. It had already been 30 minutes, and it was like we just climbed in. On second thought, it was like a very long trip already, seeing the baby in need immediately of a more stable location. A few more minutes of distress led us into the Al Hada ER entrance. We wheeled our patient to the third floor so carefully, so hurriedly.

We successfully arrived in NICU. We were led to the reserved bed of our patient. She was seen by the physicians there, the nurses, and another RT. She was carefully assessed and assisted in all her contraptions and machine set ups. I gave all the necessary information and documents to the nurse in-charge. In all those overwhelming events I’ve witnessed as a neophyte EMS, I managed to make sure I gave the complete and accurate details of my endorsements. It was fortunately a spontaneous one. The nurse was attentive and she had no further questions. And we headed out.

The next scenario when we stepped up on that ambulance was a complete opposite of what happened 15 minutes ago. Now we see each other slumped on our seats, not uttering any word, not much of tired… so silent, so lifeless.. It was a great opportunity to rest, to recharge our energies, to let go of the stress.. and it was a longer journey back… while we all slept.

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