Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Eight Calls (one of which was a running call); two declined aid, two taken in the car and the others by ambulance.

Sometimes it’s useful to have an ambulance bod around if you have doubts about the condition of a person involved in an accident, regardless of how minor the signs and symptoms may be. We are often called to RTC’s where the most innocuous injuries exist, in order to eliminate other sinister possibilities and thus remove the liability for negligence from everyone else on scene. One duty of care supercedes another.

A 41 year-old partially sighted man sat happily in the back of his private taxi on his way home when it slammed into the car in front, crumpling like a crisp packet. It was raining and it was cold, so there was a RTC or two on the cards today anyway...I got this one.

The front of the car had done what it was designed to do; it had folded in and this gave the impression that a huge force had been applied; this isn’t normally the case – these days, cars will crumple to absorb any significant energy, thus reducing the impact on the driver and passengers. So, as I walked past the damage, I wasn’t too concerned about injuries.

The partially sighted man was in the back seat. He was badly shaken and he had sore knees. He hadn’t been wearing his seat belt and the sudden stop had propelled him forward and into the back of the front passenger seat – both knees would have slammed into the hard zone at the level of the reinforced part. I checked him for head and neck injuries and worked my way down to his legs. On examination, I found no indication that his knees were seriously damaged and he was able to swing out of his seat and stand up for me.

The ambulance crew arrived and he was escorted into the vehicle for further checks. By the time I had finished my paperwork, he was asking to go home. The police very kindly offered to drive him back and he was advised to call us if he felt unwell at any time later on. Job done.

A call from a shop for a 23 year-old staff member who is pregnant and is now complaining of abdominal cramps. There is no bleeding, which is good news and her last scan revealed a healthy, live baby. She’s concerned that she hasn’t felt it move since last night, however, and you can see the worry etched on her young face. You can tell she’s thinking ‘am I losing the baby?’

I didn’t think she was but she needed to go to hospital for reassurance. I noticed that she was quite small and slim, so it’s possible that she was suffering the effects of round ligament stretching. This can happen to a lot of pregnant women, regardless of their size but I think it’s much more likely in someone of small stature, especially as her bump seemed to be quite big.

Every now and again, we’ll be called to one place for one patient and end up with a running call. A fairly routine call to another shop for an 18 year-old female staff member with ‘abnormal breathing’ turned out to be nothing more than a young woman who had back pain and was hyperventilating because of it. The crew arrived within a few minutes of me and she was given entonox before the trip downstairs. While that was going on, a member of staff came into the room and asked if I could go and see someone who was not well on the shop floor.

A 50 year-old man with chest pain and DIB was sitting on a chair when I got to street level. He too was a member of staff. I was beginning to wonder about the general state of health of the people working here. As I examined him, it became clear that he was having a genuine problem, possibly an MI, so I would need another ambulance. The back pain patient had been walked to the first vehicle and I wheeled my new patient into it as well – he needed an ECG and other tests done while we waited.

This was clearly upsetting for the other staff members because a small crowd gathered outside the ambulance with concerned faces. Maybe they thought one of them would be next to succumb to something.

The second ambulance arrived after a short wait and the back pain girl was transferred into it, leaving the chest pain patient on the trolley bed and ready for his ‘blue call’ trip to hospital. I accompanied the crew and the patient arrived in a stable condition for the handover in Resus.

Later on, as I sat on stand-by, I overheard another FRU pilot telling Control that he had arrived on scene only to discover that the ‘patient’ was a dog. Someone had called an ambulance because they had been watching a dog fight and it had upset them because they were concerned about the fate of one of the animals.

‘Both dogs declined aid’, he said on the radio with an obvious grin on his face.

Unfortunately, the reply was dry and without humour, which I thought was a shame. It may have made the medic feel better to know that someone else shared his wit about the situation. After all, he could have chosen to bitch about what a waste of time it had been, couldn’t he?

I left the crew to deal with a 55 year-old who was allegedly fitting in the street. He wasn’t fitting and I was not required.

A 25 year-old man who was tasked to dig up the road beneath a street lamp decided to drive a metal spike into the ground, just where the lamp post was bedded. He struck an electrical cable (surprise) and this resulted in an explosive bang and flash burns to his face and hands. It also resulted in a call to us in which a MRU, an ambulance, a Duty Officer and I were despatched to the scene. Loud bangs make us nervous – be very careful with balloons.

The man had no serious injuries; he had been lucky. A bit of watergel around his eyes was all he required and he declined further aid, so we left him to smoke a ciggie with his mate as they waited for their boss to turn up and the maintenance people to arrive and fix the broken street lamp.

There must have been something in the air today because I attended two calls, in quick succession, in which an assault had taken place in bizarre circumstances. The first was a 20 year-old man who had been involved in a punch up with a colleague at work. His mate had broken his finger and bashed him about the head for good measure. The police were on scene and the atmosphere was charged (as was the assailant, of course). Customers were amused or confused, depending on the point at which they entered the scene to do a bit of shopping.

I took this one to hospital myself then I was sent straight back up to the West End for another assault. This time a 21 year-old man had been punched in the face and he too had a broken finger! He was a customer and had entered the mobile phone shop with a query, which somehow developed into a heated argument between him and the member of staff who was tasked to help him. They took it outside (at the request of the staff member) and a fight ensued.

I found it shocking that he had gone into that shop and the member of staff who disagreed with him allegedly asked him to step outside for a punch-up. What is this, school?

I sat in the car with him for almost 30 minutes as the police went to get the necessary forms. All the while, my patient complained bitterly about the way he had been treated. I couldn’t blame him. Apart from his fractured digit, the other main reason he needed to go to hospital was that he was a haemophiliac. He would need to be monitored closely in case his bruising became a matter of concern.

I drove him to hospital and the doctor whisked him to a cubicle straight away while I booked him in. I was glad to be going home after that. I think I’d have been attending more of these later on if I had stayed. I'll remember not to argue with anyone in a shop from now on. The customer is NOT always right, after all, apparently.

Be safe.

1 comment:

Japh said...

I disagree there. The customer is always right and if someone disagrees just punch him in the face.

That's how it works in today's society right? If someone has a different opinions it gives everyone the right to throw a punch.

I'm scared to think of the life my children will be born into.