Thursday, 10 December 2009

Drugs are bad

I dont think they'd mind the publicity...I thought you'd want
to use your imagination here though :-)

Day shift: Seven calls: one assisted-only; three by car; three by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Drug o/d; 1 Abdo pain; 1 Chest pain; 1 Dizzy spells; 1 Head injury; 1 Cardiac problem (probably drug induced); 1 Unwell adult (probably not).

A beautifully mild, clear-sky morning and an early job to get me going for the day. A man was found ‘fitting’ in a car park basement by a driver who’d just parked up and when I arrived and was taken down to meet my patient I could tell that he was on something – probably GHB. His trousers were around his thighs, exposing him to all and sundry and his mobile phone lay at his feet, alongside a bar of chocolate.

He writhed around and made smacking sounds with his mouth, alternating with rapid clicking noises as his head moved from side to side. The MOP was leaving me to it and I couldn’t get anyone by radio or mobile because there was no signal, so I had no idea how long an ambulance would take or if one would come at all. I was stuck in the basement with a dolphin.

I asked the MOP to call 999 again when he got to the surface and he must have done because, thankfully, a crew arrived ten minutes later. There was nothing I could do for the patient and he was stable enough but I needed the extra hands to get him out of there. He was off his head a bit on drugs and would dry out eventually.

Half way through washing the car (so one side is still dirty) and I am sent on a call to a tube station around the corner for a 24 year-old female with abdominal pain. She is fine when I get there; it’s all getting better and she felt a bit faint on the train, so no worries. She might be pregnant though because she couldn’t definitively tell me she wasn’t and she’s not on any form of contraception. She doesn’t want (or need) to go to hospital, so I give her two bits of advice before I let her go back on the train – (1) get a pregnancy test done if she’s late and (2) try to get a seat on the train this time by pretending she is pregnant. Well, you never know.

Normally 18 year-olds with chest pain turn out to be nothing more than hyperventilating souls and I can quickly sort it out but this call to a female working at a beautician’s training centre, had a very recent history of palpitations requiring ablation treatment to resolve, so I conveyed her in the car with a colleague. Her pain was gone by the time I arrived but it may be significant, so best she is checked out. I thought my MRU brothers would be interested to learn that I had two beauticians in the car with me and so I had a wee smile on for the trip... and I was offered half price nail work, so it was a good call all round.

The next call was for chest pain but he actually only had dizziness when standing and when raising an arm. However, the 51 year-old man’s medical history included a heart attack last year in which, according to his doctor, 25% of his heart muscle had died and his blood pressure had dropped to '15 over something', which, considering he was conscious throughout, is unlikely – he either misheard the doc or someone needs to go back to med school.

He was resistant about going to hospital but, given his medical history and his current new episodes of headiness, it was wise to accept the crew’s offer.

I parked up in Mayfair, as you do, and wound down my window when something caught my ears – a cheery, very tuneful whistle was coming from somewhere. It wasn’t a song-type whistle, wolf-whistle or habitual whistle, it was like one of those warbling hi-lo things you often hear on Disney cartoons and films, so obviously I thought I’d be seeing a Christmas stall or something similar. Instead, I located the person making the sound – he was walking down the street, with all the other folks, ignoring everything and everyone but whistling in perfect tune as he went, until he saw something in a shop he obviously liked and he stopped, shut up and went inside. It’s not funny unless you are there I guess.

Anyway, after that little excursion I was off to see a 27 year-old woman about a bump to her head. She fell at work, landing on concrete with just her forehead to stop her descent. She had a huge, watery lump in the middle of her head and she told me she’d heard a ‘crack’ when it happened, followed by the feeling of liquid rushing into the lump that was forming. Quite creepy when you think about it. She wasn’t knocked out and she was fine otherwise – just a bit wobbly on her legs, so I took her to A&E in the car, with a colleague in tow.

A 30 year-old man in a van had ‘shaky limbs’ and felt generally unwell. He has a history of heart murmur but had also been drinking the night before and taking cocaine. This, I suspect, was the cause of his current problem. His ECG was anomalous; Tall R waves, U waves and PVC’s all over the place and his blood pressure was high at times. Considering his age, he was on his way to bigger health problems if he didn’t knock the drugs on the head.

Finally, after a stint of standby in Trafalgar Square, an 83 year-old gentleman collapsed in the doorway of a shopping arcade and confessed to being a diabetic with kidney and heart problems, although he couldn’t specify what those problems were or what drugs he was on for them. Hmmm, I thought. Well, he went in the car because there was no reason to take him by ambulance... and he was perfectly well all the way there. In fact, he positively cheered up at hospital. I suspect he used this to combat loneliness.

Be safe.


Achelois said...

Its so sad for me to read that human beings on drugs have seizures 'fitting'. My husband and son have an inherited epilepsy and have no choice but to take medication. Perhaps the drug addict would like to swop for a week the life of an epileptic. At the same time I would never wish a seizure on anyone. Presumably they have grandmals - something which for obvious reasons is considered by the general public the 'only'type of epileptic seizure. I am unsure about the dolphin part - I shall ask my eplieptic loved ones. probably I miss the obvious.

I think in the run up to Christmas your job is going to get tougher.

Anonymous said...

I was about to say something similar to what your first commenter said. I am an epileptic too and take a lot of medication to keep me standing up right. It's a bloody awful condition to have and has knocked my confidence tremendously since I had my last stint in hospital at the beginning of November.

I have absolutely no time for drug users of the illegal kind... Time wasters and complete buffoons without a brain cell between them. They have no idea what they're doing to themselves, to their families, and most importantly, to society.

Sorry to be blunt, but I get so wound up about this subject!

Best wishes to you x

James said...


"A 30 year-old man in a van had ‘shaky limbs’ and felt generally unwell. He has a history of heart murmur but had also been drinking the night before and taking cocaine. This, I suspect, was the cause of his current problem. "