How does the? The rescue procedure


Do you know the situation? You are driving in the car, suddenly you hear a siren getting louder and louder. The sight of an ambulance with blue lights gives you a queasy feeling: "I hope he doesn't drive home to me!"

What exactly happens during an operation? How would I fare if I were to find myself in a life-threatening situation??


Rescue procedure

I can find answers about the procedure of an ambulance operation from the Red Cross. Here I learn a lot about the use of ambulances (RTW), emergency medical vehicles (NEF), the first aid at the emergency scene, the interaction of paramedics and the emergency doctor, the help time limit, which states that the rescue service must be at the patient within ten, maximum fifteen minutes after receipt of the emergency call.

After many conversations, I think it all sounds very professional and well organized. But my real question: what is it actually like in the field, how does the patient feel about? – All this remains somehow blurred, not tangible.

Rescue procedure

In this situation, the Red Cross makes a special suggestion: whether I would like to slip into the role of an emergency patient myself. I like this idea – at the same time I feel a slight fluttering in my stomach – and I agree. We decide to simulate a typical emergency for the ambulance service: a suspected heart attack. Everyone gave the green light for our project: the rescue station – where the ambulance is stationed, the emergency doctor and the responsible hospital.

Getting started

Rescue procedure

On a beautiful winter day – blue sky, clear air – I'm sitting at my desk, working. I try to imagine how the day might have gone so far. Maybe I already felt a bit faint in the morning, felt a pulling sensation somewhere there between my ribs, maybe in my arm, put the discomfort aside, have to do my appointments, don't pay attention to the fine signals.

Rescue procedure

Later, at my desk, the pain increases, becomes massive, I am not prepared at all for something like this, panic, can't breathe properly, feel infinitely exposed and helpless and only feel this insane pain behind my sternum. Heart attack patients are scared to death in this situation.


Rescue Procedure

My daughter notices that I am in acute danger. It is the one that has to get help. She calls the ambulance service: 112 and stays near me for reassurance. I get to see how she passes on the necessary information: Address, name; the data about me, the patient, become clearer through the precise inquiries of the control center. My daughter gives information about how long I have been in this condition, whether I am responsive, where and what exactly the complaints are. "Yes, I'll stay with my mother and calm her down; the phone is within my reach."With these words she ends the emergency call.

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Control center

Rescue procedure

I know what is happening now at the control center: Even while the emergency call is being made, the computer searches out the responsible rescue station, i.e. the one closest to me. The employee of the control center sends the message about the emergency call to this place. Through a pager, the "beeper", the rescue station receives the message of only three lines: In addition to the name and address, time and date, an alarm keyword appears on the display, giving the paramedics the appropriate indication of the emergency.

Rescue procedure

This cue also decides whether the control center simultaneously sends the emergency physician, who is located at the hospital with the NEF, to the emergency. In my case, i.e. acute chest pain, the ambulance and the emergency medical vehicle are to be deployed.


Rescue procedure

When the bell rings, I change back into the patient. The two men from the ambulance come straight to me, one carrying a large suitcase. While they are still introducing themselves, they already start with the necessary measures: a cuff is put around my right upper arm to check my blood pressure; the "thimble" is clamped to my right finger, an electronic device to check the saturation level of oxygen in the blood; a "nasal cannula" is put on me to reduce my breathing difficulties. This is a small tube that directs the air directly into the nose – not exactly pleasant, this holder around the head.

Rescue sequence

In general, I notice that all sorts of things are happening to me now that I no longer have any control over. While Mr. Panter – I remembered his name – is talking to me in a calming manner, I can feel all these little pads being stuck on my arm, on my leg, around my heart area. "Aha", I think, this is for the wiring with the ECG. The next time I look up, the emergency physician is standing next to me, next to her another paramedic is kneeling in front of what seems to me to be a huge, opened medicine case.

The emergency doctor

Rescue procedure

The emergency doctor introduces herself and asks how I feel, she wants to reassure, promises that I will feel better in a moment. Explains to me that I'm probably having a heart attack, and she's now going to give me medication for the pain, the anxiety, and for my heart. They will put a venous line in me for this. "Injection," I think, "well, we agreed that we wouldn't insert the needle into the vein during this operation, of course."

First aid

Rescue sequence

Meanwhile, I have long been fully wired, and I see how the "case" has turned into a device, the "Corpuls", which records the ECG. I watch the rashes on the monitor, at the same time the paper strip with the records already slides out of the device.

Rescue procedure

On the left upper arm I notice how a belt is tightened to prepare the access to the vein. Out of the corner of my eye I see on the left side how the paramedic in front of the overwhelming medicine case actually draws up a medicine ampoule with a threatening looking needle. "What is that??"I ask anxiously? "Well, everything should be real – on the photo.", he says with a slight smile. "Do not worry!" After the emergency doctor has "placed" the access to the vein, "given" me an injection and taped the access well in the crook of my arm, my daughter, who stands protectively behind me the whole time, is given the task of holding the dropper bottle nice and vertical. "Because the relatives also have to be looked after, and preferably kept busy. Otherwise, it can happen that we still have a patient.", Mr. Panter explains to me.

Patient transport

Rescue procedure

Suddenly I see the stretcher in front of me. "What do I have to do now?"I ask. "You are not allowed to do anything."I get as an answer. " You are now taken care of, we have stabilized your condition and can now transport you to the hospital."

Four people stand around me, eight hands embrace me and lift me from the chair onto the stretcher. "One, two, three!"I'm lying on top of her, I'm covered up, I get the dropper bottle in my hand; the oxygen bottle is on my legs. One of the paramedics, Mr. Hartwich, – in the meantime I have noticed the small name tags on the jackets – carries the orange, supposed case, the corpus; because I am still connected to the device. In general, I have the feeling of being surrounded by a sea of red-orange: everyone is wearing red-orange jackets and pants. I feel two tight straps around my neck and shoulders, it makes "click". "Am I going to be strapped down??, I ask. "No, but fasten your seat belt. You know: seat belts are compulsory in the car, and that goes for the ambulance too."

Necessary documents

Rescue procedure

"The papers!", reminds my daughter, "Here is your insurance card from the health insurance company". That's right, I don't just have to be treated in the hospital, I have to be managed as well. There are the identity card and the passport. the insurance card necessary.

In the ambulance

Rescue procedure

I notice that the front door has been opened by the cool air flowing around me. I can already see a bit of sky, but not much; the ambulance is really right outside the front door, in the front yard so to speak. The stretcher is lifted into the car with the help of a small lift and locked in place. The last blue is locked out with the slamming of the doors. Now everything is white around me, clinically white. And all of a sudden I really do feel abandoned and almost helpless, lying there, locked in and strapped down, with the drip bottle suspended above me, and equipment on my left and right that I don't even want to know what it's for any more. There is a slight hum in the air "So that's what it's like when you're lying there."I realize.

The paramedic tells

Rescue procedure

A door opens and closes. From the driver's compartment something red-orange pushes its way toward me. "Maybe it's not a bad idea, this choice of color in the midst of the cool white," I think. Mr. Panter sits down next to me. "So, I'll stay with you now.", he says. "That's what I'm here for. My job is to build a trusting relationship with you in the midst of all the hustle and bustle so that they don't get more upset and realize that you are not left alone. I'm practically the one who would go down with you if the car over there were to crash into the canal. The others could save themselves, but my place would always be here with the patient!" "How reassuring," I think and can suddenly imagine that he actually establishes this trust between himself and the patient.

At first, Mr. Panter did not correspond at all to my idea of a paramedic. But what an idea I actually had? In any case, none with a razzle-dazzle beard. "Rasputin", as I secretly call Mr. Panter because of this beard (I hope he'll forgive me),tells me that they have an average of five missions a day together with the emergency doctor. However it would come nevertheless frequently to false employments. The reason for this is the misinterpretation of the emergency call. A decisive role is played by the question of responsiveness. If the patient is said to be unresponsive, ambulances and emergency vehicles have to be dispatched.

"But how does such a misjudgement come about??" I ask. "Well, if, now exaggerated, people say: `Come quickly, our grandpa is not well.` `Is he then still responsive?`, the next question from the control center would be. If it says then: `No, not at all more!`, we drive off. And what do we find? An old gentleman, agitated but fully conscious. When we ask, we hear: "Of course I am responsive! But I have arguments with the children. I haven't spoken a word to them in three years!`"


Rescue procedure

The ambulance starts. Doctor Lubasch, the emergency doctor, sits down with me, Mr. Panter slides one seat over, both of them fasten their seat belts. The doctor fills out the rescue service protocol. "Here I record how we found you, and what we did with you.", she explains. Whether she always changes to the ambulance, I ask. Yes, that's how this rendezvous system works. "We arrive at the scene of the accident, coming from different directions, then work together as a team and drive together to the hospital. One of my tasks is to look after the patient on the way there. So the NEF goes back without me."

When I ask her what her work as an emergency doctor is like, she answers: "I've been doing it for a while now. And at the moment I can't imagine anything better than this work in this team!"


Rescue procedure

The vehicle takes a big right turn; we reach the hospital. It's getting darker as we go under the roof and the car stops. Doors open, I look directly into the first aid station of the hospital. "Of course, I registered someone like you with a heart attack directly by cell phone in the intensive care unit. You are about to enter the `shock room`. We are already expected.", the doctor informs me. Already I slide out of the trolley in the familiar inclined position, hear the wheels of the stretcher making noises while I am being rolled through the reception. In the elevator we go to the intensive care unit; around me the ambulance team. Very gently and slowly the elevator moves upwards. "He's so gentle because of the trauma patients," one of them tells me.

Intensive Care Unit

Rescue procedure

Once upstairs they wheel me into the "shock room", a lot of medical-technical equipment is set up and hung around the stretcher waiting there. They drive me in. "We are now turning you over to the care of the hospital," the doctor explains, passing the paperwork to the nurse.

"Now could be the end after all!", I wish. But there comes again the practiced common hand grip and I find myself on the hospital couch. Above me hangs a huge swivel arm with a number of lamps. "In case of emergency, a lot of people would take care of you now. But you, you can get up now!"


With these words, everyone releases me from their care, and I, I am allowed to stand up again, loosen and remove all cords, cables, adhesive pads, and stand on my own two feet: I am no longer "their emergency," but myself again.

When I thank everyone for their help shortly afterwards, I'm still dazed by the impressions I've received. But one thing is clear: I now know how such a rescue service operation works. I have seen how much the success of the mission depends on well-rehearsed teamwork. And I have noticed that as a patient you are integrated into this team. The devotion to the person, that I also felt in addition to all the professionalism.

Thanks to the team!

If I ever find myself in the position of needing the help of the ambulance service, I wish it was this team from the Red Cross.