I am a dual role Eng./Paramedic for an organization with urban/suburban and rural responses. We do provide ambulance transport. Recently we were dispatched to a mobile home park for a confused elderly patient (this park was in one of the safer parts of our district). We arrived to find a female patient of approx. 75 yrs. of age in the back bedroom of a very small mobile home full of ALOT OF STUFF. This person was walking back and forth and mumbling incomprehensible words, but did seem to follow most simple commands (the patient refused to sit when asked). Rather than try to work in this cramped environment, we attempted to walk the patient out of the residence to the gurney at the front door. As we were walking the patient out, she stopped abruptly at a couch and attempted to reach down to grab something at the corner of the couch. I stopped the patient from doing so and then had to physically pick the patient up to continue the forward momentum to the gurney (she was very intent on getting “something” from the couch). After we had loaded the patient in the ambulance, a deputy who was in the area and arrived on scene, notified us that he found a LOADED handgun under the corner of the very couch the patient was trying to get to. I don’t know what this patient’s intent was, but I am glad we didn’t have to find out. A relative on scene that placed the 911 call, was unaware of any weapons in the home and appeared as surprised as us at the find.
This call was in a 55+ mobile home park in a decent area. We arrived to find an innocent looking “grandma” who did not appear to be able, or want, to cause us any harm. We need to never let our gaurd down. In addition, anytime we are escorting someone out of their residence, if the person needs to get “something” we will usually ask where to find this item and get it for the patient (this is especially true of confused or psychiatric patients). I have been in the fire service for 20 yrs and this call in particular raised no red flags what-so-ever for me, I am just glad I did not allow this confused elderly patient to ‘get something” from that couch.