By: Kate Pula, Captain, 2013-2014
As EMTs we do not provide official diagnoses for our patients but in EMS care it is important to differentiate between call types. In this spirit, each month I’ll present a short scenario and either ask you to provide a treatment plan or tell me what’s wrong. So, without further ado…
You are dispatched to a residence hall for an 18 year old female with difficulty breathing. When you arrive on scene you find the patient on her bed, breathing with shallow breaths. She reports she had a cold for the past week, but when she went to the gym today her chest started hurting during her workout.
Your patient is allergic to dust and pollen. She takes allergy medication seasonally. She also reports a history of asthma, and has an inhaler prescribed to her. However she has already taken two puffs on the inhaler, and her breathing has not improved. She also reports that this does not feel like an asthma attack. You put the patient on a non-rebreather set at 12 lpm and take your first set of vitals. You get 120/70 bp, 80 bpm, 22 resp/min, patient feels warm to the touch, and during lung sounds you hear crackling sounds in the top of both lungs.
The patient confirms that the oxygen is improving her breathing; however she still has pain in her chest when she breathes. She also mentions that with the pain in her chest, she has also had a deep racking cough today. Patient asks your opinion on whether she should wait to go to Baldwin in the morning, however with all these symptoms adding up, you know this shouldn’t wait.
What is wrong with your patient? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.