Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Night shift: Four calls; all by ambulance.

Stats: 1 eTOH; 1 ?TIA; 1 Unwell baby; 1 Assault with eye injury.

Sundays tend to be quieter and I took advantage of the downtime at the station. I might as well because every weekend from now until next year will gather momentum in terms of call volume. We are taking around 4,000 a day at the moment.

So, in typical fashion, I was cleaning up the dregs of Saturday with a drunken Spaniard who went to sleep at a bus shelter. He spoke no English and his fractured bottle of Chivas Regal gave away his hobby. I cleared the litter and then stood him up. The crew arrived and he was taken off the streets. So we cleared the litter twice.

Botox, funnily enough, can numb the face. A call for a 48 year-old female who lay in the corner after a party in which hundreds of people milled around, claimed she couldn’t feel one side of her face (the side she’d had treatment on). She was drunk and told me she had high blood pressure, which I didn’t doubt. Her anxious friends kept getting in the way and the shy patient told them she wanted the room cleared before she’d move for me. That wasn’t going to happen and when the crew arrived she was taken away in a chair in full view of everyone.

Now, having said all that, Botulinum can cause problems if it travels down nerve pathways and into the brain, so the woman may have been suffering a genuine neurological insult and doubtful as I was, given that she was drunk and her behaviour was more of an embarrassed inebriated person rather than a stroke victim, there’s no room for error on assumption.

Unwell children are among the worst type of call and I always worry a little about the condition a child will be in, regardless of the call description. Regular readers will know why. So, a call to a 20 week old baby with DIB had me thinking the worst. The little girl was currently being treated for an infection and rash and now she had diarrhoea and her breathing was laboured.

The parents stood by as I climbed over the makeshift bed on the floor of their flat to examine the child. She was sleeping and I felt guilty waking her up. I felt even guiltier piercing her tiny foot with a needle in order to get blood for a BM. She was active and her breathing seemed fine, if a little fast. The crew took her to the hospital where she’d been born – they’ll have more information about her there.

I stood by in Soho for a while but I moved off after a prostitute approached the car and asked if I was Mike. I told her I wasn’t. ‘Is Mike not on tonight then?’ she asked. I know several Mikes at work but I doubt she knew any of them. ‘Well, you look like Mike’, she said before bidding me a good night and wobbling off. Things are a bit tight if they have to resort to picking up emergency service personnel on duty. I expect she hit on a cop next.

Another eye injury tonight. A 49 year-old man was assaulted on a bus with a weapon and his left eye was so badly damaged that blood had entered the space in front of the eyeball. This condition is known as hyphema and it isn’t always sight-threatening. In fact, I couldn’t see this problem because it was dark and he had a wound above the eye which needed covering, so I learned about it from my colleague on the ambulance that took him away. He had told me he couldn’t see but that could be temporary. Hyphema can clear up on its own but it depends on the extent of the damage and the treatment given.

While I was trying to treat him, he insisted on getting up to go. Only the cops on scene could contain him because all he wanted to do was get revenge. He obviously knew his attacker and he was hell-bent on going after him. This is how things get out of hand and people get stabbed to death.

Be safe.

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