What Are Some Of The More Interesting / "colorful" Flight Requests You've Taken?
Posted 29 August 2007 - 09:31 AM
My question to you is, what are some of the more interesting or "colorful" flight requests you taken on the phone? And for our non-comm spec members, what would you say are some of the more memorable flight requests you've been toned out / alerted to / dispatched on?
I should start this by saying I work in a multi-program remote comm center, and have been here for a little over six years. So I've had a few interesting phone calls and flight requests along the way. One of the more memorable took place several years ago, with a flight program in the southeastern U.S.
That particular night, most of the "Deep South" had been covered with thunderstorms, and our pilots had been declining flights left and right. So I get a call from a doctor who has a serious cardiac patient that he needs to get to the cath lab that's about a three-hour drive from his hospital. During the initial call, I warned him that the weather had been causing us problems all night. Also during this call, I'm hearing thunder rattle his windows in the background, so I know it's dubious at best.
I tone out my nearest base to this hospital. The pilot comes back, "There's a thunderstorm over my base and a thunderstorm over that hospital; there's no way I can do the flight." And at that point, any other aircraft I could send had to go past that base to get to said hospital. So, no flight.
I call the hospital back, and the requesting doctor answers the phone:
Me -- "Hello, Doctor. I'm sorry, but because of the weather, we are not going to be able to fly your patient this evening."
Doctor (with more thunder rattling his windows as he speaks) -- "You get your pilot on this phone! I will TELL him how CRITICAL this patient is, and HE WILL FLY THIS PATIENT! NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS!"
Me (Luckily, staying calm and not raising my voice) -- "No, sir, I will not. The pilot's safety decision is final. I am sorry we are not able to fly your patient, I hope you are able to get him safely transported."
At which point I hung up the phone. And I never got in a lick of trouble, for these reasons:
1. I kept my calm and didn't get into a shouting match with the doctor, or call him various names (at least, I didn't call him names until after the phone line was disconnected)
2. I did not let him bully me into doing something I shouldn't do (i.e., connecting him to the pilot so he could try to bully the pilot into making an unsafe weather decision)
I actually use this scenario now, along with several others, in classes I teach to new hires as anecdotal examples of what they might encounter. Trust me, it tends to get some wide eyes every now and then in the classroom. Along with a few colorful comments that are banned by the FCC.
Here's another call I remember "fondly" (another weather situation). I answer the phone, and the lady calling says she needs to know if we can fly and where we can fly to.
Me -- "Ma'am, we do have aircraft available, but they are checking the weather on each call. Where are you needing to send the patient to tonight?"
Caller -- "Well, we need to know where you can fly to."
Me -- "Okay, ma'am, but my pilot needs to know where you want to send the patient to so he can figure out if we can fly there."
Caller -- "But we need to know where you can fly to so we can figure out where to send the patient!"
That's right, dear readers; the sending hospital wasn't working on a patient acceptance until they could figure out where they could actually fly the patient to. (Side note -- as I'm sure many if not all of you know, in the time it takes to get a patient acceptance arranged, the weather can change drastically.) So there followed one of my more memorable aircraft alerts:
Me -- ::: alert tones ::: <so and so aircraft>, inter-hospital request, <such and such> hospital to, and I quote, "wherever you can fly," unquote.
Pilot -- <comm center> from <so and so aircraft>, roger, be advised we can't fly anywhere.
So I get back on the line and tell this lady that, unfortunately, we are not able to fly anywhere. Luckily for me, she politely accepted that and hung up. (For all I know, she was calling me names after hanging up her phone.) I also suspected we were not the first flight service to decline the flight that night.
Okay, those are some of my "war stories." Let's hear some of yours!
Semi-nutcase comm spec
Posted 29 August 2007 - 08:22 PM
Weather is another fun one, I guess I can see how they really, really want the patient moved, but if we can't fly, then we can't fly. I love when our competition calls us to tell us they declined a flight, and then the hospital calls us for it. I always ask, "Did _____ turn this flight down because of weather?" They seem shocked that we share weather information with each other.
Posted 30 August 2007 - 03:31 AM
I have the highest respect for you! I could never keep my cool with a doc or nurse yelling at me on the phone. I have to bite my lip at some of the hospitals we go to---after you have already smoothed it over!
Keep up the good work!
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:52 PM
I have been a Comm Spec for just over 3 years now for an Air Ambulance Provider. I could tell you about so many calls that made me turn every color in the book. My one call that comes to my mind when I think about my flights in the one man that called me from the side of the road on his cell phone. He was by himself, and his pacemaker was fireing. HE thought it was jut a miss fire, and he had called is "friend" to come DRIVE him to the hospital in the nearest podunk town that was 45-50 minunutes away. YES he was in the middle of NO WHERE! I could hear the static on the phone line and he started cussing. It was his pace maker again. HHMM, I have a helicopter crew 15 minutes from his location so I first get the local Sheriffis office called to dispatch a squad car, I mean after all he is parked on the side of a road and I can hear the traffic. The last thing we need is rubber neckers causing a pile up. Next we get a ground ambulance dispatch to his location. They gave us a 30 minute ETE. YIKES! This mans pace maker just fired for the 3rd time since I had been on the phone with him. Ok I dispatch the helicopter and talk the man in to sitting down. That took an act of congress as he was pacing up and down the sight of the road way to take his mind off the pain. I got him to sit in his truck and with in 15 minutes our helicopter was landing in the field next to the road. No ambulance and no Sherrifes deputy. The flight crew needed to fly this man to the City straight to the cardiac lab- but they ended up almost loosing him inroute to that podunk town ER. After stabilization we ended flying him a second time to the City Cath Lab. So much for a man who just thought is was a fouled up pacemaker misfireing!!