Saturday, 25 April 2009

People can change

This is Edwin Linton. I met him on Trafalgar Square as he drummed up sponsorship for his forthcoming Marathon run in support of St. Vincent de Paul for the homeless at the Spanish Church in Marylebone. He's a born-again person who almost died of TB when he was an alcoholic. Now he helps others in the same situation.

Edwin is also an artist. His work can be seen at http://www.theothersidegallery.org - find him in the gallery section.

Day shift: Seven calls; one assisted-only, one conveyed and five by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Leg injury; 1 Chest pain; 1 EP fit; 1 DOAB; 1 Head injury; 1 Mental Health; 1 Abdo pain.

There was a St. George’s Day concert on in Trafalgar Square today; it’s the first time I’ve seen the English openly celebrate their national day without hiding away for fear of racist taunts. It’s a shame that the country I live and work in (and therefore has fed and sheltered me) seemingly cannot display nationalism without coming under attack by politically-correct purists. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a single St. George's flag flying – the only crosses worn were on capes wrapped around English (and non-English) shoulders.

At the same time a juggler entertained the crowd up top and an anti-disappearance group (against missing people I guess) tried to campaign right next to him. This had the surreal effect of producing a very serious looking group of people with real-life (and equally serious) issues whose chants across the square were apparently met by squeals of laughter and applause as the large crowd close-by showed appreciation for the juggler. It just goes to show; you’ve got to pick your soap-box position properly.


Back on the FRU but only one conveyed. I needed an ambulance for a 71 year-old lady who slipped between an underground train and the platform, shearing the skin from her shin in the process. There had been a decent amount of bleeding before I got on scene and a light dressing had been placed by the staff. I had a look at the injury and it was still dribbling a bit of blood, so a larger, more compressed dressing was put on it.

I have to point out that the London Underground first aiders know that we will want to have a look at an injury and so they tend to put a lightly tied dressing in place unless bleeding cannot be controlled. We appreciate that and replacing it with a better one is not a slight on their first aid skills in the least – they know that and now, so do you.


I also needed a ‘truck’ for my next patient, a 31 year-old cocaine user with chest pain. He’d been off the stuff for months but hit a bout of depression and took 5g overnight to placate himself. A smaller amount would probably have been enough but his heart wasn’t happy with the load and so now he was in trouble. I waited with him as he continually apologised for ‘wasting time’ and the crew arrived soon enough to take him away.

He was a nice enough guy, just a bit misguided and obviously upset about something. His massive collection of DVDs was explained when he told us he was a professional film director. Outside his flat, as he was being wheeled away, a neighbour popped her head out the door and asked me if he was okay. ‘Yes’, I said in a non-committed way. She was in a wheelchair and had a bag of rubbish to throw out, so I offered to take it downstairs and outside for her. I am a gentleman after all….


Whenever I have recently requested police help I have ended up with more than I needed and a fairly over-the-top response. I was holding an epileptic down with the help of others on scene (MOPS) and I needed traffic and crowd control because he was lying in the road and there was a bit of a crowd gathering on the pavement, generally getting in the way. Somehow my request translated into ‘medic being assaulted’ or something like that and I got two police units, including an armed response unit. Two ambulances were also sent. By the time they all arrived, the epileptic had calmed down and wasn’t thrashing so much and the crowd had got bored and wandered away. Now there were six or eight people on the pavement. I had more backup than that!


The week wouldn’t quite be the same without at least one drunk on a bus (DOAB) and I got one with a bandaged hand and bad attitude when I went to the back seat to wake him up. His slumber was deep but no match for my determination to get on with my day, so after a few attempts at relapse he submitted and walked off…just as a crew was turning up.

His trousers were soaking wet and he was obviously lost. ‘I want to go to Haringey’, he told us. He was on the wrong bus, heading in the wrong direction and now he was staggering towards the wrong underground station like a child.


A 79 year-old woman with no previous medical history of significance fell and bumped her head in an art gallery. The injury was minor but during my obs I discovered a very slow and irregular pulse, so I asked for an ambulance so that an ECG could be carried out in an appropriate environment.

When the crew arrived she had already been walked out to fresh air by request and I had sat her down in the car for a while. Her ECG showed slow AF.


South to a bus station where a 39 year-old schizophrenic man who hadn’t been taking his meds was feeling ‘wound up’. The police were on scene with him and because he had nowhere to live, except the streets, I arranged for an ambulance to take him to hospital – he was far to agitated to ride in the car.


Sometimes the trip to hospital can cure illness – as was the case with my 23 year-old French patient who had called an ambulance from work after suffering abdominal pains. When I arrived she was doubled up in pain and could barely speak; her friend had to do the talking for her but when I got her into the car and away from her colleagues, she brightened up, talked a lot and beamed a smile every now and then. Funny that.

Be safe.

3 comments:

medicblog999 said...

woo hoo, I finally know what DOAB is!! Been wondering for a while but thought it was too dumb to ask!

Anonymous said...

And I'm thrilled to know what MOP stands for! I'd figured out what one was but still couldn't decide what the letters actually stood for. Yay! Mystery solved.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for! Too much police back-up is way better than not enough!