A teacher collapsed while addressing his English as a Second Language class. We are met at the doorway of the classroom by a number of folks, few of whom are able to communicate with us at all.
We do our job assessing and treating while trying to gather information from the class. They’re unable to understand my questions and I can’t understand their questions to me. I decide to grab a dry erase pen and try to describe in pictures my questions when I see what they’re trying to tell me. The instructor’s writing on the board is incomplete. The last word written ends in a small scribble and trails off down to where our patient is on the ground. Based on that and our assessment, these students witnessed a massive stroke and IMMEDIATELY called 911.
There was no hesitation, no confusion and no drama on what they needed to do. Most of the folks in the room not only spoke no English but likely have never had access to advanced EMS services.
Because of their quick reactions we were able to get this man to the stroke center, and into the scanner in under 30 minutes from the onset of symptoms. If only every emergency could go this smoothly.
I don’t know the outcome, but this center is renowned for their teaching stroke center. If only HIPPA laws allowed me to follow up on his condition.