Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Hiatus (again)

Day shift: Four calls; all by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Collapse; 1 RTC; 1 EP Fit; 1 Asthma.

I’ve been on training courses and generally running around the country doing other things, so there has been a shortfall in the number of words I can string together for the blog. The next book, however, is underway and I’m hoping to get serious with it in the next few months; I have more than 100,000 words to string together for the novel and I really need to develop the characters or you simply won’t want to read it and I wouldn’t want that.

So, another day shift and the sun shone from the start. The new radio system was being used ‘live’ for the first time and, inevitably, there were teething problems. Not that they presented more than a hiccup to the team I work with, so calls were still being answered and lives were still being salvaged. This is the season for elderly cardiac arrest it seems, so a lot of calls were being generated to those. None were mine.

I started with a 26 year-old man who flopped around on the floor at work, crying his eyes out and telling me that he didn’t know what his problem was. I’ve seen this many times before and it still surprises me that an ambulance gets called for a so-called ‘collapse’ when it is patently obvious that the person is having an emotional crisis and that the term ‘Accident & Emergency’ is redundant. In fact we need a special ‘crisis wagon’ for such cases. Maybe we can expand the ‘Booze Bus’ idea to cope with the large number of calls we receive regularly for people who just can’t keep it together. In defence of my scathing criticism, I am old enough to have the right to judge what is and is not an emergency deserved of dragging a resource (ambulance) away from someone who may well be dying and have to wait an extra few minutes while we dry the eyes of a grown man with issues...

...Like the 20 year-old cyclist who was hit by a car and knocked unconscious in the road. He was bleeding from the head and an off-duty (well Canadian) doctor was helping out when I arrived. Another FRU was on scene and an ambulance arrived soon after I’d started cutting the man’s clothes away in search of hidden injuries. He was almost face-down and nobody had dared to move him, which is fine, but he had to be pulled onto his back so that a better assessment could be made and his airway could be managed, if necessary.

He was conscious by the time we’d got on scene and the damage to the offending car was slight but he hadn’t been wearing a protective helmet, so his head injury had to be treated as potentially serious, especially when he retched and almost vomited in the ambulance. This, coupled with his concussion and confusion, meant that bleeding may well be taking place under his skull and that had to be treated quickly.

It wasn’t long before I got a call that summed up the day – a 40 year-old supposedly reformed alcoholic was found collapsed on the pavement by two PCSOs. He had a fit in front of them and they called an ambulance because he told them (during his seizure) that he’d had one a minute earlier. This made him a very lucid epileptic, if that was his problem at all.

A can of lager fell from his pocket and that clue alone made his story worth less in terms of blue lights and sirens. A crew was on scene when I pulled up and I could tell by their calm demeanour that they weren’t worried about this man. Neither was I but the game he played meant that he’d go to hospital and his ‘condition’ would be treated by something or someone. The bottom line is that he is and always will be an alcoholic – he will have withdrawal seizures and that’s part of it all. Plenty of reformed alcoholics go on to do well but this man seemed lost in the mire of his habit and, although I felt sorry for his difficulties, I could not see parity with it in terms of us running around to pick him up every time he caved in to his weakness.

At a hotel, where the barbecue caused problems for us when we tried to gain entry after an emergency call for a 70 year-old asthmatic was made, I found the patient sitting on the reception bench inside. The crew followed me and as soon as he saw the female Tech, he brightened up and his asthma all but disappeared. Miracles happen when you are otherwise engaged, I guess.

The hotel staff had closed off one of the main entry points to the reception area because tables and chairs had been put outside in the sunshine for guests to imbibe and eat as much sausage and burger as they could manage. All very lovely and I wouldn’t have minded a bite and a drink myself but coming to a halt on blue lights at the only entrance I knew, when there should have been access made after the call, left me speechless and not inclined to join in with their party. The ambulance crew made the same mistake and we all U-turned our way back to the other end of the street as munching guests carried on regardless. I love London, don’t you?

Be safe.


Fiz said...

No, I don't love London, Stuart and that was precisely why we left it. I live in a very small town and everybody knows everybody else and our kids are as safe as they were a hundred years ago. My 18 year old can go to pubs with her mates and no-one will jump her or stab her!

Xf said...


I was being ironic. As soon as I can, I'm going where there are no people at all! :-)

Fiz said...

I know you were, but I was being serious, for once!

JB102 said...

Might as well jump ship, London is soul destroying.

Thats why I'm off to EoE amb, Beds and Herts. People keep telling me it'll be quiet but I can't see the problem with that.

Maybe it'll ease my hatred of humanity!

Fiz said...

My town is in East Herts, but it has Stevenage in the frame! Beware!

Delboy said...

I do love london....

for about the first 5 minutes every time after i arrive, theres to many people, if you could reduce the people it would be a lovely place!

Fiz said...

We live quite close to you, Stuart! I was born in Welwyn Garden City and grew up in St Albans. We are the tiny town/overgrown village before Royston.

Xf said...


Hey! Small world...