Day shift: Seven calls; two assisted-only; one false alarm; three by car and one by ambulance.
Stats: 1 Cut foot; 1 Head injury; 2 eTOH; 1 unwell; 1 Abdo pain; 1 Faint.
A very minor injury to start the day with. A 46 year-old migrant worker caught his heel on a large metal cage that he was rolling from one place to another in a Government building. The skin was torn from the heel and now he was sitting on a box being tended to by the first aider. The wound had stopped bleeding and there really was no need for him to go to hospital but he insisted, so he did. He was wearing the wrong footwear for the job and a sturdy ankle-protecting pair of boots would have gone a long way to preventing this little injury. Instead, his flimsy shoes had offered no defence.
At a dance studio, I found a 19 year-old girl lying down on a bench, recovering from a kick to the head delivered to her by one of her dancing friends. She was in no trouble at all and, once again, there seemed to be no common sense at work with respect to what might be seen as an emergency and what might not. Her tutor assured himself that she was doing fine now that I was there and left the room, saying that he was needed elsewhere. It was a ruse because no sooner had he gone through the door than someone ran in to report a ‘collapsed person’. I went out to the corridor and there he was, fainted against the wall.
He came round within seconds and told me that he had a low tolerance for injuries and often passed out if he was exposed to even the lightest trauma. The fact is, the girl on the other side of the wall didn’t even have an injury – she’d been smacked in the head with a soft dancing shoe containing an even softer dancing foot at the end of a lighter-than-air dancer’s leg!
A man described as ‘violent’ by the MDT was hidden behind a screen inside a church and the police were dispatched to help me remove him if necessary. He’d been found by the priest, who met me as I pulled up. He was lying in a pool of his own (I assumed) urine, which smelled very strong indeed. It smelled infected.
He wasn’t violent but he was awkward, preferring not to cooperate with me or the cops when they showed up a few minutes after I had entered the building. The crew had to physically scrape him up, soaked through, and take him to their ambulance. I suffered no more than a few minutes inside the vehicle while they carried out their obs because the stench was overpowering and no amount of sucking power from the vents in the ambulance roof seemed to reduce it. I’m sure the Latvian drunkard had a UTI and he wanted us all to know how unwell he thought he was. ‘I’m dying’ he repeated. Well, eventually, yes… like we all are.
We have been issued with special masks for the upcoming Swine Flu onslaught and I had to take it in with me just in case, when my next call, for a 37 year-old woman who was ‘delirious’ and ‘hot’ came through. She had been diagnosed with the virus but had been treated – now she was weak and feeling unwell at work after a week or so to get over it. I didn’t don the mask because the horse had bolted anyway and she didn’t have Flu; her right side was weak and she had a headache, so I took her to hospital on the basis that something else may have happened to her. She may have had a TIA, she may have simply relapsed as a result of the residual viral activity in her body.
A 61 year-old woman ran through an Underground station with a heavy suitcase, then fainted at the end of her adventure. I was called and she was recovering by the time I got there. The staff, as usual, were very nice to her and, after all my obs had cleared her, they offered to make her tea and settle her down before she continued on her way.
Despite my criticism of how some individuals abuse the Service, I went to see a 69 year-old man who’d called us because he had abdo pain and felt a lot of sympathy for him. He didn’t have any pain, he admitted – he just wanted company and reassurance. He wept repeatedly as I spoke to him, assessed him, asked about his life and then guided him to the car. He had a history of bowel problems and was losing weight rapidly. His tiny flat was littered with the stuff he loved; books about planes and boats and he seemed genuinely concerned about himself, so I occupied his mind with his favourite subjects as I looked for a reason for his sudden weight loss and took him to hospital.
In Trafalgar Square later on, I watched a lone man standing with a placard and a handful of leaflets, which he was handing out to all and sundry. His purpose wasn’t clear initially and he looked like the least offensive type you’d ever meet but his placard read ‘End Islamic Regime’ and I decided he was probably looking for trouble. I moved off the Square and away from him before a riot broke out and busied myself instead with six Polish alcoholics who surrounded me in a small park as I tried to persuade their belligerent friend, who’d collapsed and refused to move (prompting a Red2 ‘unconscious’ call) because he couldn’t get a drink from anyone.
I stood my ground as they shouted and pushed and physically abused their mate in an effort to prove to me that (1) the police really weren’t necessary and (2) the man on the ground would move away from the area and stop being an idiot in a public place.
After fifteen minutes of arguing and general stupidity, they moved off, dragging their buddy with them. He’d stand and walk, only to fall down dramatically every few yards for effect. He was picked up, dragged and walked right across the length of the park as I watched from the car. It was a drunken chess game.