Night shift: Nine calls; One assisted-only; the others by ambulance.
Stats: 2 Faint; 5 eTOH (3 in one call); 1 Palpitations; 1 RTC with head injury; 1 Head injury.
A 20 year-old female said to be unconscious in a shop turned out to be a ‘floppy doll’, neither walking nor talking properly despite having little or nothing wrong with her. She may have had a faint but that’s questionable since nobody actually witnessed it and she appeared to be fully conscious. A three man crew (you’ll see a lot of them now because we have a high number of trainees out and about) was on scene and it took a while for us to locate her but when we did she looked more unhappy about being at work than any existing medical problem.
Red1’s for ‘ineffective breathing’ are abused regularly and this call was no different. A drunken East European man who wouldn’t stand up and kept repeating ‘I no understand’ literally jumped aboard the ambulance when it arrived. I was surprised he hadn’t claimed epilepsy as his problem this time round.
Palpitations in a person with known heart problems are to be taken seriously but my next patient walked down stairs with her elderly friend because she knew it was a hard climb for us. Bless.
The 71 year-old looked fine, if a little out of breath and the ambulance pulled up just as I was sitting her down for a rest in the car.
I was directed to a top floor (where else?) flat by a neighbour when I pulled up on the next call for a 41 year-old man with a head injury, caused, according to the man shouting at me from the balcony of his flat across the road, by a fall. The helpful caller had taken the man up to his flat and then gone home to watch as I arrived. He stood on his balcony and bellowed out instructions on how to get to the patient.
The injured man was sitting in a corner inside a grotty unkempt kitchen (in a grotty unkempt flat). The door was ajar and I walked in to find him slumped there with a very nasty bulge on his head. The injury looked old but dangerous and he confirmed that he’d just come out of hospital after discharging himself before anyone had taken a good look at it. He may well have fractured his skull but he was too drunk to bother about it.
When the crew arrived they took the same breath in that I had initially – not because of the filthy state of the place but because of the man’s head. We carefully took him back to hospital and delivered him to Resus where, hopefully, he’ll stay put.
‘How did you get here from the hospital?’ I asked him.
‘I walked’ he said, matter-of-factly.
He’d managed to walk two miles without anyone, except the neighbour across the road, seeing him or calling an ambulance. I found that strange because we get calls all the time from worried MOPs when they see much, much less.
A 25 year-old woman who was said to be vomiting blood was expelling nothing more than the Soy sauce from her recent Chinese dinner. One of the people with her told me that he was a surgical nurse and that what lay in the little sink in the toilets where they had gathered was ‘definitely frank blood’. It definitely wasn’t and I touched it with my gloved hand, rubbed it across one finger to prove that fact. It even smelled like Soy!
Three for the price of one next at Piccadilly Circus. Two drunken girls, an unconscious drunken man and a crying woman (bonus person) were all I had to contend with for this emergency call. They were swept up and taken away one by one, courtesy of the booze bus. To be fair, the drunken man, who lay a few metres away from the first drunken girl, looked like he may have had a fit of some kind but he recovered miraculously in the back of the ambulance. Thank God for the booze bus - I’d have been there all night if it hadn’t been doing the rounds.
A taxi hit a drunken man as he crossed the road and he lay on the tarmac with no injuries that we could see. Nevertheless, he was knocked out for a few seconds so he was collared and scooped up by the crew. The taxi suffered a broken mirror and the poor cabbie had to wait, passenger on board, until the police arrived some twenty minutes later. I hope his meter wasn’t still running.
A 19 year-old female fainted in her hostel but was recovered by the time I got there. Her obs were normal but she wanted to go to hospital and the crew obliged.
Someone else who was said to be vomiting blood and wasn’t; the patient on my last call had stomach ache and nothing more.