Treating the unexpected: the opiate overdose patient


Ambulance practitioners are regularly faced with those who present with a form of drug overdose. The subject of substance misuse can be controversial, delicate and are not always straightforward to manage. Not only can substance misuse be a sensitive topic to approach, but patients can be adept at hiding the signs and symptoms from friends, family and ambulance practitioners (Caroline 2008). In addition, it may be difficult to establish what exactly has been taken, when, and how much. Gaining consent to treat the patient can also be fraught with difficulties. This reflective account uses a case from practice which highlights several of the difficulties that ambulance practitioners face when dealing with this type of patient.

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