“Someone is yelling for help at the corner” a lady at the station’s front door says.
We walk out of the station bays in a concerned fashion to see there is an elderly man laying on the ground. “What are you doing on the ground?” my partner asks. Laying before us was a mid 60′s male who is taking poor care of him self. “Uh, My legs gave out, I’ve got terrible pain in them.” at this the other ALS crews that had come out with us had now turned around and headed back to the bays to leave the BLS truck to care for this guy. Having him sit up I can hear the audible gargling coming from him when exhaling. Speaking of how he’s feeling he seems to give us a run around, telling us how he was walking from a block away and going a block in the other direction to the bank. We have him stand to see how he feels on his feet, as quickly as we do he is looking for a chair to sit down on claiming his legs again.
He is leaning against the building hands on his knees in a clearly tripoding stance. We get a chair for him and he just as easily makes him self comfortable by leaning back and crossing his legs. Sitting in an office chair in the middle of a busy downtown sidewalk during lunch hour, he makes comments of needing to get to the bank and how we could just push him up the block in the chair to get there. We refuse and keep offering to him to go to the hospital to get checked out. He continues to deny stating his legs hurt, then its his back, or his neck.
He gets us to agree to at least helping him across the busy road so he can be on the block of the Bank. Even with our assistance he is extremely winded once on the other side leaning up against yet another building tripoding and sucking in air. Again we try to convince him to go and yet another excuse but this time it is prefaced with “I know my rights I don’t have to go”. Already realizing that this is worse than he lets on we begin to take a harsher approach to getting him convinced.
“Do you think it is normal to be this out of breath after only walking fifty yards?” I ask “Is walking to the bank that important that you will ignore our medical experience and advise that you need the ER?” Still adamant that he is alright, he begins to walk away from us. Following behind him we wait, we wait for the unfortunate to happen, for the inevitable to occur. Sadly he is completely with it, He is not altered in any way, we physically can not force him to do that which he does not want to do. It is his last right, the right to say no.
We finally got his permission to treat him, his implied consent, when he dropped to his knees and went unresponsive in our arms.