Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My first ambulance ride

Written by: Maria
Should I feel bad that I took this picture? This man had an enormous brain aneurysm according to the CAT scans and so he was being rushed to the Quito hospital where the neurosurgeon was in surgery so he couldn't help for another hour or so. Doctors in this rural hospital in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, volutneer for $100 to make the trek and stay overnight in the country's capital. I went on this mindboggling jaunt, helping to check for breathing every 5 minutes and that his nasograstric tube didn't slip or that the IV was flowing. Thankfully, he didn't wake up. My first charge was to keep track of the syringe to knock him out again, "the single most imporant item to have on hand." Although we didn't have to use it, I would argue that tape is more important. I was glad to find a shabby few strips of tape in the bottom of the relatively empty cabinets so we could really get some work done: tape the broken cabinet doors shut, tape the oxygen tube together, tape the IV bag so it didn't swing off as we raced west across ecuador. This man made it alive to Quito and I didn't throw up after what was referred to as a "slow passage"... an 8 hour bus trip up the mountains in 5 hours. (I'm told 3.5 is possible). Unfortunately, there is no way to know what happened after we handed him over. He was still breathing the last 5 minutes I was with him so a dios rezco.

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