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Instagramedical Emergency

, , , , , | Healthy | CREDIT: AleksFenix96 | September 3, 2021

I work as a paramedic in a small town in northern Germany, thirty kilometers away from the next big city. Sometimes we need to bring patients to the big city.

It is a hot and busy day, we roll the first six hours through the whole city, mostly taking care of small issues that just require transport. After the first real emergency, a car crash that needed transport to the mentioned bigger city, we are putting our stuff back together at the hospital.

Not even one minute after setting our status to “free for calls,” the dispatch has something for us.

Dispatch: “Woman, around twenty years old, feeling unwell, no more information.”

That means it could be anything, from toe pain to cardiac arrest.

After a ten-minute drive with “lights and music,” we arrive and ring at the door. The patient’s boyfriend comes to the door, recording video on his phone.

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Hey, guys, the ambulance came very quick. They even had sirens on!”

My partner and I exchange “What the f***?” looks.

Me: “Good day. We were called to [Patient]. Are we in the right place?”

Patient’s Boyfriend: *Still filming* “Yeah, come in, guys. That’s going to be great.”

Me: *Thinking* “What in the f*** is wrong here?”

We go in to find the young woman lying on the couch. She’s really thin — we can see some of her bones — and unresponsive. While my partner is checking her blood pressure, pulse, etc., and I am getting the monitor (EKG) ready, I ask the boyfriend what the matter is.

Patient’s Boyfriend: *Still filming us* “She was filming her sport tutorial for her Instagram followers and suddenly fainted. She is on a new diet; she just looks too fat.”

Me: “Has she eaten or drunk anything today? And could you please put the phone down?”

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Just a little bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice. No, I don’t need to put it down. These ‘blue light stories’ are epic on Instagram.”

We are interrupted by an alarm sound from the monitor. The patient’s blood pressure is worryingly low. And the rest of her vitals don’t look good, either.

Partner: “We need a doctor here.”

In Germany, we can call doctors to the scene if we need to give special medications or make invasive treatments. I call the doctor.

Me: “Mr. [Patient’s Boyfriend], stop filming. Your girlfriend is in critical condition.”

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Nah, man, this is going to be huge. She will love it to put it on her YouTube.”

Partner: *Sarcastically* “Yeah, the ‘How I Nearly Died’ vlog. Absolutely great idea.”

I prepare to put a needle in the patient’s arm. The boyfriend comes so close that he hits me and I nearly stab myself. That is the boiling point. I am now really pissed.

Me: *Calm but a bit louder and clearer* “If you don’t back off and put the phone down, I will get the police here and they will take care of it. You don’t understand, do you? Your girlfriend is lying here with bad blood pressure, oxygen, and pulse. I’m really worried that we are close to needing CPR. Even our doctor is on the way. So back off and put the phone down or the police will really take care of it.”

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Sorry, I can’t. This is my work.”

My partner and I exchange looks again.

Me: “All right, I’m calling the police.”

A few minutes after that, the doctor arrived. He was annoyed by the boyfriend, too, and told him to go away, but he still didn’t listen.

A few more minutes later, the cops came and made him delete all the footage. They stood with him outside until we went to the hospital.

We managed to get the patient to the ICU. She made it and is now in good hands. Hopefully, she dumped her boyfriend.

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