Nothing gives me greater pleasure than gearing up for a building alarm only to have to sit someone down on the running boards and evaluate them for a medical complaint!


The Boys in Blue have requested a full alarm assignment for an odor of natural gas in an apartment.  That they are on scene at. Inside.  Inside the unit with the odor.  Ahem…


Nothing showing on first arrival and we’re packed up and I’ve got the can on my back up towards the second floor.  At the doorway, the Officers are walking out the occupant of the unit, who is rather embarrassed we’re there.  Well, in descending order I’d say he is, intoxicated, high, in trouble, confused, lying, then embarrassed.

On the landing we can smell the gas and I’m told the occupant appears altered from exposure to the gas.  Not seeing any indication of this in the bright lights of the hallway, we head down into the night air outside and the running board of the fire engine.

PD has been kind enough to keep me out of the complicated loop of ordering an ambulance, but I quickly slow them to code 2 when the story begins to take shape.

The story is one I’ve heard thousands of times in as many variations.  A tale about seeking treatment at an ER and being turned away without being able to see a doctor.  Nurses spitting in their faces, ambulances taking them to the bus terminal, all the things that if they did happen, we would surely know about.

No, my new friend is the picture of health except for the alcohol and prescription sleep aids that don’t seem to be doing the trick.

“So why turn on the gas?” I ask as the ambulance rolls up and I confirm another ECG is normal.

“No one will help me so I figured I had to go out and get it myself.”

“You do realize you made us come to you, right?” says the voice over my shoulder and the EMT from the ambulance has got a straight forward BLS transport ahead of him.

So what was the disposition of the call for the official record?  Well, building alarms have no section code for “Psych eval” and the ePCR, while coding for life preservers available but not deployed, has no entry for police overreaction.

Glad it isn’t my report.

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