Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Billy Ray and the EMT/Fire Department

Reading a post by Griffin's Mom yesterday, I remembered that I may not have shared our planning for dealing with emergency personnel.

There have been numerous media reports of children and adults who died during conflict with police and fire personnel. The fear of the unknown by a child with special needs as well as the fear of being held down can stir multiple problems and increased aggression. I was very alarmed by that when Billy Ray's behavior was worsening (primarily because of medical issues that hadn't been discovered yet) and his repeated choking. The likelihood of having to call emergency at some point is high.

Our wonderful "Dr. Brice" (Brice Stanley, PA-C, Billy Ray's primary medical provider) had some very good suggestions. He said that if the EMT's were familiar with Billy Ray they were less likely to need to use force.

I contacted the supervisor of the EMT staff through our local fire department. We planned that Billy Ray will visit the fire house at regular intervals and various times of day so that he gets a chance to meet most personnel. As luck would have it, the fire house in our little town recently held an open house. Billy Ray and I attended together with his support staff.

We were able to introduce Billy Ray to the fire chief and he introduced us to three EMTs just coming back from a call. Billy Ray was able to wonder around with his support staff looking at the fire trucks and life flight plane while I discussed my concerns with the EMT's. We were also able to give them my business card which has links to this blog and my websites so as time permits they can read about Billy Ray. I felt very good about the interaction and plan to establish some relationship for Billy Ray with them.

There are numerous advertisements on the net about signs that say an Autistic person is in the house or the car. I asked if this would be important to do for our house. I was told that personnel don't pay a lot of attention to those signs because people move or situations change but signs are not removed.

I also had some concern about emergency medications because given without knowledge of Billy Ray's regular medications. We had experienced this problem in the emergency room on one occasion and in a lab where they just gave Billy Ray meds before a procedure without even checking about other meds we might have given him. It was suggested in our meeting that the most helpful thing we could do is have an accurate list of Billy Ray's meds easily available to emergency personnel.

We update his medication schedule regularly so it is available. We plan to print out a copy everytime there is a change and to include a copy of Abbreviated History (as described in Parenting Your Complex Child) in a file that is in the table just inside the door. It will be readily available to EMT's and to take to the emergency room.

Planning reduces risks as well as reducing the worry about emergencies.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Amazon Blog
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group


Anonymous said...

Excellent approach. I think it is important to have "concise and easy-to-read" information for EMT's. They have a lot to consider in a short time...and it's not easy. Having info, like you mention, should go a long ways in helping emergency providers make quick, rational and appropriate decisions in immediate care of BR.

Lora said...

Thank you for the post. There is a lot to consider in the case of an emergency. I think that I will go to the fire station and pose some questions and try to find out what I need to do to help them and to help Griffin in an emergency situation. I recommended your book today in my post because I like how you cover the subject of the service dog, much better than I do and it will be most helpful to others if they would just read how you describe it.

Bonnie sayers said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have those signs in my vehicle and have not put them up in the house since I wondered whether they would be noticed. I have the garden flag sign that says autism awareness in my yard.

Once at the library two police officers were entering and my son Nick (11 HFA) was scared and they stopped and shook his hand and made him feel more at ease, talking about Goosebump books, etc.

A neighbor calls fire service all the time for his wife and my kids are used to seeing the fire dept and also at the grocery store. It seems to be the police more for my son that he is unsure of since they have guns and equipment on their waist.