EMS Strong: Never knowing what to expect…

IMH Emergency Medical Service (EMS) employs 15 Paramedics, 2 Intermediates, and 11 Basic EMTs. Collectively, they have over 340 years of service, including five individuals with more than 20 years each.

They service Iroquois County with 2 ambulance bays located in Watseka and Gilman. In 2017, IMH EMS responded to 4,517 calls.

While each call is important…some calls are more memorable than others..

As an EMT you never know what you may encounter, especially when the call involves a psychiatric evaluation. This particular call started out ordinary enough. The patient was in his bedroom when EMTs arrived, and as they began talking with the patient, he seemed well. They went over basic questions – Are you feeling ok? Is everything alright? – questions to bring the patient out of his shell. He seemed to be well and answered accordingly. Just as the EMTs were beginning to think the call may have been a false alarm, the patient decided to finally mention what was wrong – the snake in his stomach! Then, proceeded to tell EMTs that it got in there while he was sleeping. Definitely not a false alarm.

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Despite what people may think, EMTs cannot force someone to go to the hospital. They began trying to convince this patient to be taken to the hospital to get checked out, but he was adamant he did not want to go because the doctors would think he was crazy. Thinking quickly on his feet, the EMT agreed and suggested going to the hospital to have the snake removed instead. This seemed to catch the man off-guard and they could tell he was contemplating. Just when they thought the patient was going to agree to go in, the situation took an even stranger turn – hidden beside the bed was a machete! The patient pulled the machete and started saying that he is going to cut the snake out. After what seemed like ages and a ton of coaxing, the EMTs finally convinced the patient to lay down the machete and agree to accompany them to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, an EMT will stay in the back of the ambulance and ride with the patient to ensure their safety. While en route to the hospital, the patient was still very worried about the snake in his stomach. Then, he suggested that the EMT should look into his throat and try to forcibly remove the snake with his hand!  Again, quick thinking and the EMT advised that unfortunately that was a job for animal control and they would be at the hospital. Luckily, the patient went along with the story and made it to the hospital for treatment.

For all the hectic days and wild calls, we thank you EMTs for your service and quick thinking. Happy EMS week from all of us at IMH.

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