Monday, 9 June 2008

Armed and angry

Four calls; one dead at scene, one treated on scene and two by ambulance.

Many of my first-of-the-morning calls are like this; purple plus, suspended or ?dead. This one was no exception. A 40 year-old man was found apparently dead in his bed at a luxury apartment in a very, very posh part of London. The place was so plush that he had his own lift serving all the floors of his home!

He also ran his business from there and his employees and friends, who worked from the offices in the building, had arrived to find that he wasn’t yet up and around, which was unusual for him. So they checked his bedroom and found him on his back, ashen and not breathing.

He had been in detox for drug abuse but it looks like he slipped back into his old ways and over-did it this time. A crew was on scene and when I arrived, there wasn’t much for me to do except check the body and confirm life extinct with my colleagues’ agreement. He had been dead for a while; post mortem staining and rigor mortis were evident. His body core temperature was ‘Lo’ and the ECG showed a constant ‘flat line’. This didn’t convince his friend, however, who leaned over as if he could detect breathing or movement. He looked at me, then the crew and then back at the corpse, entirely sure that he had seen signs of life (this is not uncommon in grieving people).

‘Sorry, you have to trust us; he’s gone I’m afraid’, I said to him. I touched his arm and led him away from the body and out of the room.

The police had been called – this is normal practice in such circumstances - and I left the scene after they had arrived and I had completed the necessary paperwork. The crew stayed behind to deal with one other complication; the man’s wife was downstairs and she didn’t know about her husband’s death yet. She was carrying his twins.

A 60 year-old man walked into an office reception and demanded that they call an ambulance because he had chest pain. I arrived to find him sitting on the settee and complaining of a bad cough, for which he was due to see a doctor at hospital. He had taken the bus this far but was still a mile away from his appointment and had no money left, so he used the chest pain story to get us out so that he could get a free ride to the doors! Just to be on the safe side, he developed abdominal pains in the ambulance (he had forgotten his chest pain and knew he’d been sussed).

I treated a 30 year-old female on scene for hyperventilation. She’d never had it before and an ambulance had been called by her worried colleagues. She knew she didn’t need to go to hospital, so when she had calmed down, I left and cancelled the ambulance.

My last call of the shift was very similar to the one I had the day before. A nine-month-old baby was ‘in shock’ (a very misused term) after a three-car collision. Initially and probably because the caller was so frantic, the details weren’t known and I was being sent to a suspected shooting. I thought the patient was very young to have been shot but I raced almost four miles to the scene and found the police controlling traffic around the crash area.

The three vehicles had shunted into each other at a fairly slow speed and there was very little damage to them. The child I had been called out for was in his mother’s arms and looked absolutely fine. He’d been in a child seat when they had been hit. There were two other kids on scene and they had also been in the car at the time. They too, were fine.

So I waited until the ambulance arrived so that the mother could be checked out (she had a little back pain). The crew sped in because they had been under the illusion that this was a shooting too, despite the fact that I had updated Control. They were soon corrected by the scene and their patient.

An armed response unit screamed through the area on the way to a genuine shooting (I assume) but was immediately blocked by a foolish driver who wouldn’t get out of their way, even though he’s seen and heard them coming. One of the cops leaned out of his window and yelled at the offending driver; ‘Are you blind? Get the f**k out of the way, you idiot!’

‘Ooooh!’ said the assembled crowd of crash-watchers in unison. There were gasps from the more sensitive among them.

I kind of understood the anger the cop felt, even though it did look and sound very out of place. In real life, you know, the one we are all living, there’s no room for niceties when a serious, potentially dangerous job is to be done. I guess getting held up for thirty seconds by a confused driver when the pressure is on leads to angry outbursts every now and then. I’ve done it myself on occasion, to my shame - short of swearing at people of course. Still, who’s going to argue with an armed man, especially one who will probably lose his job for shooting another armed man who deserved to be shot?

Be safe.


Anonymous said...

I have been guilty of the odd out burst toward idiot drivers! I tend to mutter and talk to drivers as I go along, not just getting annoyed but I thank them as well! They may not hear me but it makes me feel good!

Fiz said...

Oh, Louise, we must be eviltwins, as I do the same thing. The last thing I said to someone yesterday was "Well get over, you bloody idiot, there's plenty of room if you use your side of the road" - vexed by the n millioneth city driver using a very twisty country road as a one way only street!

Anonymous said...

An armed response unit can say anything it likes as far as I'm concerned!