Thursday, 26 June 2008

Physical abuse

If you're hoping for a quick shock at one of London's airports, tough. The defib case is empty and someone has written 'HELP' on the glass. This comment originally stated Luton Airport but this was an error and I apologise to Luton for this misinformed misprint!

Early shift: Four calls; two assisted-only, two by ambulance.

Stats: 1 emotional (? Sexual assault); 1 chest pain; 1 drug-related resulting in an assault on me; 1 drunk

Sometimes you hear a story and it doesn’t seem right. My first call of the morning was for an 18 year-old girl who had collapsed at a tube station. MOPs were tending to her when I arrived and she was feigning unconsciousness. I sent the MOPs away with a word of thanks and set about proving to her that I knew she wasn’t out cold – I told her I knew she was consious and she opened her eyes.

She’d been wandering around since her friends dumped her in the early hours of this morning because she was too drunk to handle, apparently. Now, she’s here and she has no money – her coat and bag are gone and she has a vague memory of being with someone but she doesn’t know who. Neither does she know how she got the fresh bruises on her arms. They looked like pressure marks caused by excessive gripping, like when someone grabs you hard.

She’s young, pretty and very vulnerable and I suspect there’s more to her night-time history than she’s willing or able to say, so I request the police, preferably female officers, to attend and chat to her as she’s taken to the ambulance by the crew.

She’s taken something, I’m sure of that – or at least she’s been given something or it’s been slipped into her drink because her behaviour is strange and questionable.

The police arrive (both male) and they spend a long time with her in the ambulance. I don’t know what they found out because I was gone after waiting too long to discover the outcome of their interview.

‘I’m fed up with this now’, said my 96 year-old chest pain patient. She’d been getting up in the night repeatedly for tightness in her chest and numbness in her left arm but had ignored it until she could bear it no longer. A stoical woman but now she needed to go to hospital. Her ECG showed ST elevation and I couldn’t see any P waves at all. She was ‘blued’ in straight away to a specialist cardiac centre.

The man who attacked me was a 25 year-old, six foot druggy who had settled down on a doorway in Soho. Nobody likes that, especially if you are the doorman in charge of the doorway. I could see him watching me from behind the glass as I prodded, shouted and generally harassed the man awake, warning him that he had to move on. Usually my drunken, drugged-up patients are slow and easy to predict but this guy was faster than I anticipated. He took offence to me and rose up, lashing out with his fists. He caught me twice with heavy punches which luckily didn’t penetrate my stab vest, so the impact was softened a little. I grabbed his arms before he could put any more effort or skill into his attempts at knocking me out and tried to calm him so that I could retreat to the car and call Control for police back-up.

The cops arrived as I watched him slump back into his stupor in the doorway. Meanwhile the doorman was watching too – that’s pretty much all he did.

The man verbally abused the police officers as they tried to reason with him and it took almost half an hour from start to finish before he moved on under threat of arrest. He was stoned by his own admission (on skunk) and dangerous but he was out of sight within a few seconds as he disappeared around a corner.

This man had a chip on his shoulder about the police and about ambulance personnel. ‘I’ve had problems with members of your community too’, he told me as the police stood over him. Well, I wondered why.

A life status questionable call ended my shift. The ‘dead man’ was sitting up in the street smoking a cigarette and drinking booze when the MRU got on scene shortly before I did. An ambulance also pulled up soon after and it became a bit of a joke as we chatted to him about not sleeping in such a public place. The 999 caller even came up to speak to us, explaining that she’d seen him lying in his sleeping bag, not moving and had been so worried that her conscious wouldn’t allow her to ignore it. Fair enough.

Be safe.


Anonymous said...

That's worrying...what happened to the defib?

Anonymous said...

I expect they haven't put one in there yet... the boxes are alarmed so if someone stole one they would know about it.

Louise Batchelor said...

We've checked all our defib equipment this morning and there is nothing missing.

Louise Batchelor
London Luton Airport Press Office

Anonymous said...

do you mean conscience? not conscious??

a pedant

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon,
Regarding your comment about the defib situated at London Luton Airport, i have to disagree. I have checked with the airport and there is no defib missing and the picture in your blog is not even the one from the airport. Over the last four years, the dedicated staff who work at the airport have saved eight members of the public who have had cardiac arrests. They also were awarded recently a chief officers commendation for thier actions. May i suggest you remove your comments and the picture as a matter of priority.

Gary Sanderson
Communications Manager (Beds & Herts Localities)East of England Ambulance Service.

Xf said...

Louise and Gary (Luton airport)

Apologies for the delay and I have have re-checked this post. You are absolutely right and I owe Luton Airport a public apology! I think my mental gremlins were at work...I didn't fly into Luton that was another London airport.

The comment has been amended but the picture remains because I clearly didn't imagine it and the only thing I was drawing my readers' attention to was the 'HELP' comment on the empty case...I'm sure they had another defib somewhere else :-) sincere apologies to you all at Luton.