Sunday, 18 January 2009


Day shift: Three calls; one assisted-only, two by ambulance.

Stats: 1 eTOH; 1 Fall with head injury; 1 EP fit.

I had a whole day of virtually nothing to do but wait and it dragged on forever. We have plenty of resources out and about and the call volume has dropped post New Year, so as a solo in a FRU I don’t get assigned many calls unless there is a need for me. Lots of coffee gets consumed on days like this but I’m also glad of the break in pace.

The morning started with a 25 year-old propping himself up against a wall. He was drunk and in no need of an ambulance; someone else had seen him and decided he needed one. The caller even came across the road to tell me and the crew (who’d arrived at the same time) that he was unconscious. He was the most alert unconscious person I’ve seen.

Bemused and irritated, the man refused all help from us – he was drunk and had nowhere to go for the moment. He was advised to move on though because he would certainly generate more calls if he slumped to the ground and went to sleep.

A lovely 85 year-old fell against a door and bumped her head so she pressed her alarm and the care people arrived to help her. They decided she needed an ambulance so we were called. I met the two men who’d helped her onto her chair as they left the block of flats and they told me how she was.

I walked in to find her ready and waiting to go to hospital with a big beaming smile on her face. I smiled back and we had a conversation about her mishap and, with her permission, a feel of the bump at the back of her head. There was no bleeding and she hadn’t been knocked out but her age was against her, so the crew popped her on a chair and off she went, still smiling.

Back to the same police station as yesterday for an HIV+ drug addict who claimed he was epileptic and had been fitting. The police officers confirmed that he’d had three fits but when he became glassy eyed and silent during another event, I didn’t buy it. Neither did the crew. He could have been experiencing an absence I guess but when he was in the ambulance with us he was animated and completely with it. He didn’t have another 'fit' all the way to hospital.

‘I was a landscape gardener then I came down here to visit friends and ended up a junkie’ he told me as if the ease with which he ruined his entire life was inescapable.

‘So why don’t you clean up and go back to working?’ I suggested, ‘others have done it.’

‘I’m going to, definitely.’ He said unconvincingly. I'll see this man dead or in a bad way soon enough if he doesn't heed his own sense.

The 30 year-old Glaswegian caused a bit of concern when, as my colleague attempted to flush the cannula inserted in him, fluid spurted out and onto his face. None of it hit his mouth or eyes but he wouldn’t have been at risk because the fluid was just a backflow of saline from the obstructed cannula, not the vein itself. It’s a sure sign that the cannula won’t run. Still, those moments are nerve-jangling when they happen and my colleague continually wiped his face as if there was something nasty on it.

Be safe.

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