One of the best protocols that NYS DOH did was privilege BLS agaencies to utilize blood glucose testing.
I feel on any general illness, obviously diabetic emergencies, and the biggest one “possible stroke/TIA.
With that being said we need to remember that the brain needs two things. Sugar and Oxygen! It is amazing how if you deviate one of those you now have a stroke patient.
The biggest proof of this for me was when my BLS agency was dispatched for a elderly female having a possible stroke. Upon arrival entry had to be gained through a back door as our patient had 110% left sided paralysis behind the front door. After gaining vitals and putting our semi conscious stroke patient on the reeves for transport i just happened to look behind me at the coffee table near where the patient was found. Seeing a glucometer I said to the paramedic (that I have worked with since I joined the services) “hey I think we have a diabetic”. The initial blood glucose reading was oh 32. Now with a IV established and a amp of D-50, yeah that’s how long ago it was, still in the protocol there was a major improvement. After a few minutes the patient could have walked to the ambulance. What went from a semi conscious patient on reeves now was a diabetic emergency on our stair chair.
This was the first of many examples to me of what the brain needed to function and the similarities as you deviate one from the other. Also taking many continuing education courses at our new “stroke center” offering the newest in thrombectomy procedures it made even more sense.
Recently while at a 86 year old female having a possible stroke, Stewart’s hot dog gray, semi conscious sitting in a chair being held up I snuck around the interviewing EMT to perform a accucheck. The EMT who has been around for many years and is very competent looked at me and said “oh she is a diabetic?” Rather then get into the laws of the brain I just responded with “just checking”. After a reading of 156 I said with my inner voice “yup this is not a diabetic emergency”.
The female had a history of TIA’s (still going to check every time), hypotension, and Bradycardic. This patient was transported ALS to the proper receiving facility for stroke care.
Please get a limited liability license and become certified to test blood glucose levels. You pay for the strips and they will give you the meters. I suggest Contour meters (no commission here) as they are the easiest and most dependable to use. For lancets use the single use safety lancers. No loading and self retractable= less chance of exposures.
With that being said prick away!!