Dispatch: Respond for a 39 year old cancer patient who lost consciousness, fell down stairs, and has head injuries.
I was first to arrive on scene, parked my car on the street. I was greeted by the patient's father - we exchanged names. He began to tell me what happened: The patient has cancer, fell down outside steps, this has never happened before. I notice the father is calm.
I enter the bedroom where the patient is. "Hi - I'm Chris, what's your name?" After the patient tells me their name, I repeat it... since I have a tough time remembering names among other information I need to collect in these first critical minutes (all of which, quite frankly, is more important).
The patient is on the bed, hand to head, and in pain. I ask for the pain to be rated on a scale of 1-10 and the patient says 7 (which aligns with the multiple bruises and blood on the patient's face, nose, mouth). The patient describes, step by step, what happened. I simultaneously listen while getting out my pulse oximeter and notepad to record pertinent info. The two aspects most concerning are: the patient didn't trip but some other medical event was the cause - and the patient lost consciousness. The best part of the story is that the patient said the first thing in memory after the fall was the patient's little dogs licking the patient's face. That was cool because both of them were on the bed at this time, "helping me" assess the patient.
The patient's basic vitals were stable, so that made me feel better -- but even after asking a series of questions, I couldn't come up with a solid hypothesis for why the patient lost consciousness (not blood sugar-related, so maybe related to the patient's cancer treatment?) -- that's not my role but it's helpful if I can... I transferred patient care to the paramedic and was thankful that he was calm and compassionate.
After leaving the scene, a particular moment stuck out in my head, reminding me of the fragility and sometimes sadness of life: As part of patient assessment, I ask if the patient has any major medical history. The patient quietly answered, "You mean other than the stage [X] cancer? ...... No, I was completely healthy before the cancer."
Some identifying information is changed/omitted to protect the patient.