Saturday, 21 March 2009


Day shift: Seven calls; five taken by car; one treated on scene and one by ambulance.

Stats: 1 ? # Humerus; 3 Fall with head injury; 1 Migraine; 1 ? # Wrist; 1 Sprain.

We are trialling a new system with the car – much the same, in fact, as we did when I first started on it and it was called the ‘amber car’. Basically our instructions are now given via the Motorcycle Response Unit (MRU) desk, so we are talking to clinical people and being tasked in a much more (in my opinion) logical basis to calls that could be conveyed by car instead of an ambulance. So far, as you can see, it is working very well.

So, my first call for a 61 year-old woman who’d fallen heavily with an out-stretched arm, producing a possible fractured Humerus, was taken in the car. She was in pain but that was controlled using entonox – otherwise, she was perfectly stable and with her consent, a speedy trip to hospital in the FRU saved an ambulance for something more life-threatening. Possibly.

The only ambulance journey for any of my patients today was for an 88 year-old who’d fallen from a step ladder as she tried to put ornaments on a high shelf. She was upset, obviously, and had a scalp wound that had stopped bleeding by the time I arrived. I would have taken her to hospital myself but the crew had been assigned and got there just after my head bandage had been secured.

A 24 year-old female with a migraine (and a history of it) could really have taken herself home or gone to a doctor (or pharmacist) but she dialled 999 instead because it was ‘worse than ever before’. This was a truly deserving case for the back seat of my car and when she got to hospital she was sent to the waiting area, inevitably, which was packed. She had a three to four hour wait ahead of her. It would have been quicker to go home and lay down in a darkened room.

I treated a very nice 79 year-old man for a small cut to his forehead, which he earned after tripping over a bench on the pavement. He had been taken into John Lewis’s by the very caring staff and I was called to attend to his wound. He didn’t want, or need, to go to hospital and we stood at the beauty counter (his wife was with us) chatting away about life and the universe…and trying to get a freebie moisturiser for his good lady.

One of the most amazing things about this man was that he had survived a cardiac arrest a few years earlier. He had gone into VF and been shocked and resuscitated back to life by the LAS crew that had attended to him. It is rare to meet someone who has been that close to death and he was very, very grateful for his second chance. From our short conversation, it sounds like he and his wife are living life to the full. I left them to get on with their shopping and I walked to my car with a smile and a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Then two teenage girls approached me as I did my paperwork. One of them handed me a wallet and told me that they’d found it lying on the road by a pedestrian crossing. It contained Euros, ID and credit cards, all of which I showed them to verify what was inside. I took their contact details and handed the wallet in to the local police station on their behalf. I really hope they get a reward because honesty is unusual and teens get such a bad rap these days that someone, somewhere needs to reinforce good deeds like this by acknowledging them. Personally, I was proud of what they’d done.

A 15 year-old boy was practicing his gymnastic flips in the park when he misjudged one and fell awkwardly, fracturing his wrist. His friend rode with him in the back and they both looked suitably sheepish about the whole incident.

Another fall, but this one took place hours before the 71 year-old lady decided an ambulance would be needed – or her husband did. They were both in the theatre watching a show when she suddenly felt ill and went pale. She didn’t pass out but was quickly ferried into the corridor to wait for me. There was no ambulance available for this and I waited long enough before making a clinical decision to take her myself.

She told me she’d fallen on a boat four hours earlier, tumbling down 12 – 15 steps apparently and bouncing, according to her husband as she went. She was recovering from her ‘turn’ but I felt this needed to be treated seriously. She refused to be collared and she didn’t want an ambulance but was persuaded to go in the car.

All the way to hospital she remained alert and stable.

Back to the park for a skateboarding 35 year-old female who slipped and twisted her ankle. She could have hobbled to A&E but she didn’t know where it was, so I was recruited to be her saviour. She had a sprain and the journey without blue lights back to the hospital made me late going home… but that’s life.

Be safe.


Charlie2Hotel said...

The new dispatch system seems like a good idea.

But surely you cant be saying logic is being applied by an emergency ambulance service, say it aint so :p

Viking83 said...

Usually you make negative observations of teens (not unjustly either, from the sound of your encounters they really do deserve the bad rap sheets they get)so its nice to hear about two teens who handed in a 'full' wallet (of course the cynic in me is saying that the only reason it was full is because it was full of euros)
Maybe its a good sign for the future.

petrolhead said...

If I had a migraine, the last place I'd want to be would be a bright, noisy A&E department! They'd only give her paracetamol, anyway!

miss emma said...

Good to see someone giving teens a good press, so well done Stuart!
We really do get a rough deal as many of us are perfectly nice human beings.

It does remind me of last summer when I handed in a £10 note I found (round the corner from the police station) because the officer at the desk looked very shocked that I had bothered! No one claimed it so I was able to collect it after 6 weeks which made it feel like I had deserved it.

Great post and really looking forward to the new book! :P