We responded to a call for a male who was short of breath. We routinely have a district police car respond to all calls, and we “stage away” until cleared by police for calls suggesting violence, drunks, etc. In this case we arrived before the police officer and there was no information suggesting an “unsafe” scene. My partner and I went into the basement gameroom, as directed by dispatch. We found our patient sitting on a chair in his residential basement, using an Albuterol inhaler. He appeared to be in significant respiratory distress. We began our interview, listened to breath sounds, took his blood pressure…..then the officer walked in the door. As I waved him off stating we would be OK…..he looked at me and the patient with a quizzical expression and asked “why is he wearing a gun”? Strapped to his hip was a holstered 380 automatic pistol. The patient immediately stated he had a permit to carry, and he owns a jewelry shop, and is armed because he frequently makes bank drops of loads of cash as well as transporting lots of inventory. The police officer removed the weapon for the transport at the patient’s request. What is really bad about this close call is that my partner and I missed a gun….a painfully obvious gun at that….
1. There is no such thing as a “routine” ambulance call! 2. Consider guns and other articles that can be used as weapons to be everywhere 3. Avoid tunnel vision…even though it turned out our patient did not mean us harm, and the gun was lawfully carried, we tunneled in on the respiratory distress and missed an obvious weapon.