Monday, 25 May 2009


Night shift: Seven calls; one arrested on scene, one conveyed, one assisted-only and four by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Chest pain; 1 Panic attack; 1 Fall; 1 Dizzy; 1 RTC with multiple persons injured; 1 Leg injury and hypothermia.

The last night of this Hellish run of four and I arrive at work hoping for a quieter time, even if I don’t use the word out loud. Another FRU is operational, so I should, theoretically, get less pressure from incoming calls.

Around the corner from the station, a 55 year-old man had chest pain. He’s also vomiting blood but that has been left out for some reason. The crew arrive just behind me and we all troop up to his flat. The Glaswegian alcoholic has been unwell for a few hours, abdominal pain radiating into his chest and the vomiting blood thing. At first I don’t think it is blood in the little basin on the floor but when he chucks up some more, I can see the tell-tale tracks and little clots floating around.

We get him to the ambulance and I stabilise his pain and vomiting with appropriate drugs. He attempts to prove to me that Metoclopramide is rubbish by throwing up again a few times on the way to hospital but his argument is negated when the drug kicks in and he stops in Resus. In fact, he begins to look a lot healthier.

After a few minutes I’d completed my paperwork and I see that the doctor is puzzling over the man’s blood pressure on the monitor – it has gone from 161/99, when I checked it after IV morphine, to 79/56 and that’s not right at all.

I left the medical staff to ponder what may well be a bleed (all the evidence was there for them) after all.

I didn’t do much for the 22 year-old pregnant female who’d had a panic attack at work because she was recovering when I got there. She had a history of this and when she made that clear on the phone after dialling 999 for advice, she was told to have an ambulance ‘check her out’ anyway. We are so cautious and yet we haven’t enough resources to cope, it’s a crazy and potentially dangerous mix.

I spoke with her and did a full set of obs (twice). She was fine. She was a normal healthy pregnant woman, so I left her to it and went back to my station.

Later on, I was asked to go to an incident in which a suspected cat burglar had dropped from one roof level to another – some 20 feet – after the police had spotted him using their helicopter (India 99). He was trying to escape but now he was trapped like a fox, with armed cops on the street around the building and a dog handler in the building. He had nowhere to go and the reports coming from the helicopter suggested that he wasn’t injured but that drop was significant, so an ambulance joined me as I waited for news.

It took less than half an hour to bring the man down in cuffs. I went to see if he was okay and, without a doubt, he had survived that drop. He must have been made of rubber.

Oh, and his reason for being on that roof, above jeweller shops? He was trying to find somewhere to sleep for the night.

A crew beat me to the fitting person on an underground platform. I had driven miles to get to it and the ambulance had pulled in just in front of me a few hundred metres away from the scene. I wasn’t required.

After a quick rest on Frith Street I was called and asked to check on a regular caller who’d phoned from a callbox to say he was passing out. I knew the name immediately and I remember how he should be treated – he is a large man with learning difficulties and a mental age of about twelve. You have to be careful not to upset him because he was capable of violence.

I found him wandering along the pavement. He was heading towards me like a cat to its owner. I put him in the car after hearing about his sudden onset of dizziness and drive him to hospital, where lots of pairs of eyes rolled to the heavens at the sight of him coming through the doors.

‘How long is the waiting time at hospital?’ he’d asked me in the car.

‘I don’t know but I’m sure it’s still pretty quiet’ I told him (and I honestly believed that)

When I sat him down in the waiting area, there wasn’t a seat to spare until someone’s name got called. Oops.

It was a few hours before my next call and it was for a RTC in which a car had ploughed into a Fire Station wall, followed or preceded by a van which had stopped inside the turning area of the station. This was a high speed collision and I’m sure the fire crews on duty were rudely awakened by the noise but at least they didn’t have far to travel.

I arrived as the police cordon was being set up – all traffic was being blocked off and this is a very busy road. An ambulance was already on scene and I had heard one of the crew request two further ambulances.

Fire crews were busily cutting the roof of a BMW, inside which a man sat with a serious head injury. Inside the ambulance sat three minor injuries; two Afghan women and the driver of the car. One of the women complained of a head injury but I could see nothing significant. She had a broken nose and a deep incision to her ankle, which may also have been fractured. As I triaged the patients on board another ambulance arrived and they were taken away, one by one, for further treatment. The ambulance I was sitting in had to be cleared for the head injury patient who was about to be freed of the wreckage.

The van driver had an injured arm and I think every one of these ‘walking wounded’ patients were taken in the same ambulance to hospital because, whether the message relayed hadn’t been clear enough or nobody had heard what was requested, the third ambulance never arrived.

Finally, a call for a naked man in one of the fountains at Piccadilly Circus. At first I thought I was going to come across some drunken moron, splashing about in public but I arrived with the rain starting in earnest, to find a small group of young people protecting a tall, gangly man who was standing in a phone box... in his underpants and soaking wet from head to toe.

One of the youths told me that he had been in the fountain with some other guys and then it had turned nasty and the men had thrown his clothes in and pushed him back in as he tried to get out. He had a very nasty gash to his shin and it went deep enough to be a fracture.

I got him to the car, dressed his wounds and took his temperature. Predictably, he was hypothermic. The police were requested and arrived shortly afterwards. I told them what had happened and they fished about to retrieve the man’s clothes while taking a statement from one of the youths who’d witnesses it all.

The injured man was from a local hostel. He seemed genuinely vulnerable and I think once he’d jumped into the fountain in his underwear, along with the other drunken men who’d been mucking about, he become a figure of fun for them and they’d abused him by chucking his clothes in and then forcing him back, causing his leg injury. They’d all left him like that, according to the youths on scene. He was standing in the fountain, almost fully naked with his leg bleeding badly and not saying a word.

I drive home through traffic that was being diverted by the RTC that I had been to earlier. It’s ironic that my civilian journey can be disrupted by something I had been involved in professionally. It’s actually quite annoying.

Be safe.


Gimlet said...

Still a great blog - keep it up.

Thank you.


Ana said...

Hi Stu,

You really are pissed of with the care home 'nurses'...

I absolutely enjoy reading your blog and am really looking forward to your new booked.