We certainly get our fair share of folks not exactly playing with a full deck.  Whether they were never told there were supposed to be 52, or maybe they just prefer playing a few cards short, when they call 911 it is most likely going to take you longer to write the chart than it is for them to get what they want from the hospital.

One of our new regulars made me smile and laugh.



A woman has called stating she is unconscious from a massive headache.



Ever hear those addresses over the radio and look at your partner asking “weren’t we there this morning?”

Yes, yes you were.

On scene just after the engine company we approach the front steps of the apartment building and find the same person we saw this morning with the same chief complaint: headache.

The headaches often come on for “no reason” she tells us as she lights a Marlboro Light despite my objections.  Not because of the oxygen nearby, but because it’s a disgusting and unhealthy habit, likely magnifying her other poor health conditions.  As she takes the long first drag and pauses to exhale, the engine medic and I share that look of “You got this?” “If I have to” and they leave.

She informs us that in our haste to save her life earlier this morning, from the headache, we took her to a hospital that doesn’t understand the severity of headaches.  She has chosen a new facility to try her luck with and informs us it is her right to get care.  I have my usual talk with her about the proper use of ambulances and hospitals, not to mention that quitting smoking on her own might jsut do the trick, but she counters with the increasingly popular, “don’t you even think about infringing on my first amendment right to smoke.”


I had lost.  Not because she was right, but because I assumed we were playing cards and she was short a full deck.  It appears the game of the day is shuffleboard and I am ill prepared to compete.

Into the ambulance I am reminded of this morning when she not only refused all assessments but threatened me with an assault charge if I even tried to give her oxygen.

A deep sigh on my part drew a disapproving glare and she reached into her purse and took out her phone.

Patients these days like to call their spouse to give them updates about their life threatening conditions, I don’t mind so much if it keeps them calm, but this was about to turn into something I had never seen before.

Punching her extensive medical history into the PCR I can’t help but notice she just dialed 911.

From the back of an ambulance.

“Yes, I’ve been having extreme headaches and need a doctor. I’m at…” she covers the phone and asks where we are.

“Your inside Medic 99 enroute to Saint Closest” I tell her and she almost tells the call taker.

“I’ve had enough of your attitude Mr EMT man, where are we?” And the game has changed again.

“Market and 9th” I tell her glancing out the back window at our last turn before the home stretch to the hospital.

She’s back on the phone and asking for an ambulance.

I take the opportunity to key up my radio and advise them that the headache call at Market and 9th is already in the ambulance. The voice of the supervisor comes on with a confused tone, “99, can you repeat your last?”

“The patient is under my care and we’re already enroute, disregard the call.”

Then she demanded to be released so she could call a different crew.

Well darn it if we made every green light and never had a safe chance to pull over.

As soon as we were parked I let her climb out and make another call.

Her call to 911 was redialed and she went through the entire dispatch system and I was just waiting to hear the call come out.  About 90 seconds later I heard it and walked over to her and keyed open my radio.

“Control this is Medic 99, put us in service and on that last run, we’ve made patient contact. Hi, did you report a life or death emergency?”

Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Why not leave a comment or subscribe to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader?