Tuesday, 25 March 2008

On the truck

Every fifth week of my five-week rota, I am given two days of ambulance work. That is, in order to keep my skills up, I crew up for two days on a proper ambulance. All of the FRU pilots have to do this now but, personally, I feel no benefit from it.

For example, the last two days that I did recently comprised one day on an ambulance that was impossible to find at first because all the vehicles were being used, so I had to ‘create’ one from a shell (an empty vehicle). I transferred equipment from one old bus to the other in order to get me and my crew mate on the road and in commission. No sooner had we started, however, than we hit problems.

We got one emergency call for a simple scalp injury and the sirens packed up on the way there. I had to suggest through blue lights and sign language that the cars and trucks and buses in my way should allow me through. Luckily, it wasn’t a life or death situation and the vehicle was taken off the road immediately after we delivered the man to hospital. Embarrassingly, as we set off, the back doors decided not to work and I couldn’t shut them. My crew mate had to manipulate them from the inside. Mr Brown, please can we have some more money for workable ambulances?

That was it for my first shift. I was single soon after that and had nowhere to go.

The next day I was back on a FRU (and this is usually the case when they can’t get me crewed up on these days) but there were plenty of other FRU’s around and so I did one job again all shift. I’m not complaining; the rest was good and I got to do some studying and other stuff.

The call was to a 33 year-old man who was vomiting blood in a public toilet at a train station. The crew were there with me but we couldn’t find him, so we searched around until I spotted the loos across the road. I walked in to the Gents and called out for an answer from the only cubicle that was occupied.

‘Did you call an ambulance?’

‘Yes’ came the muffled reply.

He took forever opening the door and by that time, the crew were in the toilet too, one of them is female, so the bloke who walked in to pee made sure his back was wider for the occasion.

I remember a call I attended years ago in Soho, where a guy was throwing up and in a collapsed state in the Gent’s toilet of a club. I walked in to find a female paramedic dealing with him in the cubicle and a long line of men standing at a wall of urinals, looking in her direction. Some of them were smiling. If it was moral, or legal, the photograph would have been priceless.

End of digression. That was my day. No more jobs came my way after that and I got another peaceful shift. In that respect, I’m glad of the change from FRU to ambulance detail. I may be tempting fate just recording it.

Be safe.


miss emma said...

glad you've had a better day than previous ones xf!

I have been wondering about this for a while, do all paramedics/EMT's have to work on the FRU at some point or is it only if you volunteer? because I really do want to be a paramedic but I dont think I would be able to cope in a FRU so I am hoping it isnt compulsory!

Also another completely random question! Do you have to be able to swim to be a paramedic?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't imagine you do (It may vary between trusts, especially those nearer the coast), however on the Paramedic course at my local Uni it doesn't state that as a requirement.

Although i can imagine it will come in useful if someone repeatedly vomits in the back of your ambulance, then gets dual incontinence (Very very messy, and you'd literally be swimming in it!)

Xf said...

miss emma

No, FRU work is entirely voluntary at the moment but there are rumours about the possibility of including at least a couple of stints in everyone's rota, although I expect that will meet with a very frosty reception; working alone is not everyone's cup of tea.

As for swimming - don't worry, we aren't expected to get into or under water.

Anonymous said...

(Working Alone) Is that because they aren't nice places (I.e. stabbings?), because 2 pairs of hands are better than one? or simply because when someone's depending on you, and you can't actually do anything?

miss emma said...

Thanks xf! swimming is my biggest fear in the world! give me drunken clubbers any day!
hope you enjoy the rest of your week!