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Alvin and the Chipmunks. "Bad day"

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Went for a duty eariler.

Whole duty was quite boring, in the beginning. One swimmer got a cut, while one swimmer complained that his gf got gastric pain.

Things turn out to be different in the end. Very different. And very bad. Started when the competition to hold the breath underwater started. The last competitor was trying to set a new Singapore book of records.

I was subconsiously counting the time, by heart, when he went under the water. I counted up to 4 minutes, and by then, when he did not surface for air, i was starting to get worried. We got the equipment ready way before that competition was held.

Started to see the competitor starting to struggle. But still, he did not surface for air. I was totally keyed up, and started to move closer to the water edge ( I was standing on the spectators stand with DT, Rafi, Asiah, KS, Venod).

I finally make a move to the pool side, and that's when i saw the competitor stopped struggling. Thats when the lifeguards pulled him up from the water. He was limp. That's when i chiong down, together with Venod and the rest behind us.

The life-guard has started mouth to mouth resustitation in the water. They had given one blow, when we reached the poolside. We pulled the casualty out of the water, and i removed his goggles, and saw that the eye was dilated.

I maintained the airway, and Rafi immediately check for pulse.

"I did not detect any pulse" were the words from Rafi, and it struck a chill into my heart. The casualty's heart had stopped beating. "Oh shit, oh fucking shit" was the first words that i can think of. I placed my fingers on the throat of the casualty, and to my dismay, i really did not detect a pulse.

I told KS to get the air viva ready, connected to the oxygen tank. Meanwhile, Rafi proceed to CPR. All these actually took place in less than 10 seconds, even though as i was typing now, it seems that a long time was used.

All Rafi need to do was just to give 10 compression (need to double confirm with Rafi). That one magic compression. The ten compression that changed everything. (Rafi, in his incident report, mentiones about 10 compression done)

The casualty started vomitting water. I turn the head to one side in order to drain the water away. Meanwhile, Asiah and DT was preparing the suction unit to suck the water away.

That's when Rafi did another pulse check.

And that's when i heard the most reassuaring words of the world...

"I detected a pulse."

I immediately put my finger onto the casualty throat to double check for pulse. All this while, Asiah was working with the suction unit to suck away all the water that the casualty vomitted from his oral cavity. (The casualty kept vomitting water).

"I did not detect any pulse" I informed Rafi. Its true. I could not detect any pulse at that point.

My finger remained at the point. Then i could feel it... the pulse came back. It grew stronger and becoming more regular. (Initially, it was still too weak to feel it).

"Okie, i detected a pulse. Strong and regular". I informed the rest. I looked into the casualty's eyes. The pupils had become constricted, and the casualty was starting to cough. He is regaining consious.

The trolley cot came. I went over to prepare the trolley cot. Loaded the casualty onto the trolleycot, and into the ambulance and soon, the ambulance was blasting away to the nearest hospital.

This whole thing (from pulling the casualty out of the water to loading into the ambulance" had took less than 5 minutes. But to me, it seems a long long time. The casualty had came very close to death. Very Very close. Too close for comfort. I had heard from some professional medic that if a person needs CPR to be done, he/she has only about 7% chance of survival (just CPR alone), unless the chain of survival is observed and the casuslty needs CPR done immediately, and early defrib, and early hospital care.

What went in our favor was that we immediately gave CPR. All the equipment was on standby, checked and double checked by me before we set out. The suction unit was critical in this case.

By the time the casualty reached the hospital, he had regain consious, and was alert. Last i heard of, he can be discharged tomorrow afternoon.

We all had saved a life today. Technically, he was already dead, but we managed to resuscitate him back to life.

Later, back in HQ, DT asked me this question, which i had thought of, on our way back to HQ.

"How would you feel if the casualty does not pull through?"

I replied this...

"If the casualty survived, that means your skills are good. But if the casualty dies, as what Rafi says, its an act of god, why worry?"

But deep inside me, i know that if the casualty dies, i will be affected. Tormented. Tormented that we cannot bring him back, despite the preparation, the skills of us, the equipment that i had prepared. And worst still, i have to live with the fact that someone had died under our care.

Well, thank god that we managed to make him pull through. All went well.

One good thing that happened. During that short 5 minutes, the 4 of us, DT, Rafi, Asiah and me, managed to work together as a team. There was no shouting of instructions, no shouting of what to do next. We worked together, and each of us know our role well, as well as the other's role. We don't get in the way of each other.

That's what i call a team.

I don't think i will ever forget this incident. True that i had helped out in numerous RTAs, Injuries, evacuations, etc etc, but i had never done any resuscitation before. This is my first. This is the first time. And a successful one.

By the way, the casualty had spend 5 minutes 03 seconds under the water, holding his breath, until the lifeguard pulled him up.

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