Early shift: Five calls; all taken by ambulance.
Stats: 2 Head injuries; 2 EP fits; 2 cardiac-related.
First call of the morning and I’m on my way to a tube station for an eighteen-month old boy who has fallen on the escalators. He was actually being carried by his father, who stumbled as he tried to stop his young daughter from falling. On scene, the family were gathered around the ticket office and a concerned underground employee was on stand-by but all was well. The little boy had a minor scratch to his scalp and the bleeding had stopped. Mum had a grazed knee because she also fell as dad attempted his over-burdened rescue of his little girl. It must have looked like a comedy sketch as the whole family began to collapse on the moving stairs.
A 23 year-old epileptic had a ten minute seizure before recovering. When I arrived, the worst of it was over and he was confused but stable. He’d been up all night drinking and his friends told me that historically, that’s what usually triggers his fits. Strangely, I knew the answer to the problem but I thought I’d leave it to them to work out as he was taken away to hospital for checks.
Cardiac problems can cause faints and sudden collapses where the patient becomes less alert than normal. This triggers 999 calls from relatives and worried friends, as was the case with my next patient, a 70 year-old man with a pacemaker fitted who’d become confused. The crew was on scene and he was taken to hospital, just in case. I didn’t see his ECG because the crew dealt with him for the most part. Sometimes my patient contact time is fleeting.
Another epileptic was fitting in the street when MOPs came to his rescue. He’d fallen hard and now had a bleeding head injury which needed covering up. I had driven onto a newly concreted pavement area and was aware of how messy my uniform was getting. I’m not sure how the workmen (and women) will react when they return to complete the paving and see tyre marks and footprints all over the place. I might go back and apologise.
My second cardiac-related problem led to weakness and near-faint. The 59 year-old taxi driver was in a small London hotel where he stayed whilst working to raise money for him and his wife, both of whom stayed abroad pretty much all the time. His BP was high and his pulse was slow; he had a headache and his medical history intimated possible cardiac concerns. His ECG was normal however but he worried about not being able to get to work. His evening would be spent in hospital – his occupation could wait until a stroke had been ruled out.
All of my calls were within a mile of each other today; all in the WC1 or WC2 areas. The last patient was particularly impressed by the speed of my response (every so often a patient will comment on how fast we are at getting to them). Little did he know that I was at the station when the call came through and his hotel was around the corner – in fact, it would have been faster to walk to him because I had to drive all the way around the block and that cost me another minute.