Paramedic’s Corner: New Year’s resolutions we’d like people to make
By: Ambulance Director Gary Carmack
Posted: Saturday, January 2, 2010 5:09 pm
Ambulance Director Gary Carmack
It’s that time of year again when we all start thinking of changes we want to make, or improvements that we usually refer to as New Year Resolutions.
If we at the Pulaski County Ambulance District (PCAD) could make some resolutions, many might go like this: We do not want any of our citizens to die from heroin overdoses this year. We hope no person even uses heroin.
Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the great trauma killer and the highest cause of disability and death from trauma causes in our nation. People are disfigured and maimed by ragged pieces of metal and lacerated by glass. Our resolution: If people would just slow down, wear their safety devices, and pay attention when driving. Alas ... I fear we will work many this year.
Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of all in the United States. If we could, we would like to see people make their own resolutions to keep their blood pressure checked, blood sugar checked, exercise on a regular basis.
Another resolution we’d like to see is that people would learn the following early warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack and phone 9-1-1:
• Discomfort in the center of the chest described as pressure, fullness, squeezing, heaviness, or pain.
• Pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach, often described as ache, heartburn, indigestion, or even back pain.
• Feeling lightheaded, short of breath, or nauseated
• Fainting or cold sweats.
Many people will not admit they may be having a heart attack. If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, YOU take charge. Tell the person to sit quietly, then phone 9-1-1 at once.
Strokes are the great disability-causer. We’d like to see people make resolutions to learn early warning signs and symptoms of possible stroke and call 9-1-1 and get the person to a stroke center hospital fast to avoid permanent disability.
Following are early warning symptoms of stroke issued by the American Heart Association:
• Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion
• Trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking
• Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Make a resolution to identify these signs and symptoms and to activate the Emergency Medical System immediately by phoning 9-1-1 and get paramedics enroute. The critical time with a stroke is three hours, during which victims need to receive fibrinolytics and be admitted to a monitored bed in the hospital. This could become the most critical 180 minutes in your life.
OK, time for my personal resolutions: 1) serve God better, 2) visit family and friends more, 3) walk more, 4) ride my horse more often, 5) get my column in to my editor on time.