With any time in EMS, it’s hard to avoid Sweater Boy. He’s usually a 50-something with chest pain of some kind and once you manage to remove a few layers of clothing you realize you have just found the Sasquatch. A full-on wookie laying on your cot in the back of the truck. Sometimes he utters noises during moments of discomfort that sound like Chewbacca himself. After the shock, you get scared, confused and extremely weirded out… You think to yourself, “How the eff am I gonna get 10 stickers to stick on this guy?” Your ambulance service is cheap. They gave you a disposable razor to make this happen, “EFF!” What to do, what to do? Use AED pads to wax the chest? Just slap the leads on and hope for the best?

You are a good EMT, you try to shave cause you want a good tracing… Scrape, scrape, scrape… The you try to pluck the hair from the razor. minutes later there is a giant furball on the cot at the patient’s feet, he has razor burn, your partner has prepared the leads, and then the unthinkable… His wife opens the side door to the ambulance, a huge gust of wind shoots through the truck, hair goes EVERYWHERE! It’s in your eyes, your mouth, on your gloves, in your gloves, it gets stuck in your hair, goes down your back… You were glistening from the uncomfortable work of trimming the patient and now his hair is sticking to you. You can’t get it off! In an angry and frustrated moment, you slap the leads on and get a 12-lead. Nothing. Normal sinus. Then the wife asks the patient the worst question ever, did you take your Zantac? He replies no.

This my friends is a bad day.

Stay safe.

Notes: A good assessment of chest pain in a 45+ year old male patient would still require a 12-lead. It’s a lose-lose.