Sunday, 20 December 2009


Night shift: Five calls: One assisted-only; one by car and three by ambulance.

Stats: 1 CVA; 1eTOH; 1 DIB; 1 Allergic reaction; 1 Eye injury post assault

Move away from the Chardonnay! Yes, it’s definitely that time of year – where the meaning of Christmas (Christian soul or not) is blurred out of focus by commercialism and selfishness, drunkenness and stupidity. Oh and lovely presents. My wife says I’m the Scrooge of Christmas but I think my cynicism is realistic because it allows me to see the real spirit of the Festive season when and where it appears. I still love snow, Jingle Bells and mulled wine. Honest. I don’t agree that lying in a gutter, vomiting your stomach empty and swearing at your friends is a good way to celebrate this pagan thing. Sorry, I know I'm reeeeellly boring!

As the tide of human waste turns on the bars and clubs in the West End, a 52 year-old lady lies in her dry bath, unresponsive for three hours until her son discovered her, naked and limp. She’d had a stroke and her right side was useless. She couldn’t speak but I suspect she understood something of what was going on.

I was asked to assist a crew and FRU already on scene and we planned a way of getting her out but it involved man-handling her onto the chair and slowly carrying her weight down steep narrow stairs. But we succeeded without a hitch or a back injury and got her into the ambulance, where she remained unresponsive except to pain and loud voice (and only then to open her eyes momentarily). I tried to get a line in but failed miserably and decided she didn’t really need the extra hassle, so I left her alone and accompanied the crew as she was ‘blued’ in to Resus.

This lady’s consistently high BP indicated a haemorrhagic stroke cerebellar or brain stem) rather than an embolic CVA – her pupils were almost pinpoint and non-responsive, her breathing was stertorous and she had complained of a headache earlier in the night. She needed emergency medical attention rapidly if she was to survive.

It must be Christmas because my next call sent me to a place where the Polish drunks seem to breed, for a 53 year-old man ‘collapsed, possibly drunk’ outside a shopping centre. He was sleeping on the ground and yes, he was drunk... and Polish. A random woman was on scene with the security guy from the shopping centre and she seemed very concerned about his health and welfare until I revealed his secret – he was just drunk. She suddenly became more concerned about whether he had a work permit or was legal and started to interrogate him about it. I stopped her, asked her to leave (politely of course) and stood him up for his journey out of the immediate area. And I say it must be Christmas because this Polish man decided to thank me with a big unwelcome hug and a sloppy, all in my ear, kiss, which, being Glaswegian, I didn’t really appreciate. So, I left him in the care of the security man because my job wasn’t to usher drunks off the premises- nor was it to accept alcoholic kisses from blokes.

Pizza was interrupted by a call that had originally been given to Urgent Care but went Category A because the patient had DIB, so my cold dinner sat in the car while I went inside the world’s smallest flat with the crew to put the patient on oxygen for his low sats, which improved immediately. He had a recent history of recurrent chest infection plus many other medical problems from the past, so he went to hospital (in his own wheelchair), oh and in the ambulance of course. I eventually got back to my pizza but it had to be reheated in the microwave and so it didn't taste the same.

A 28 year-old woman with hugely puffy eyes sat in a train station waiting for me to take her to A&E for the second time since she began to react to eyebrow tinting dye a few days earlier and was given IV piriton and oral steroids to solve the problem. It didn’t and now she had watery, sticky closed eyes and large swollen lids to contend with. Even from a distance it looked painful and frustrating – she couldn’t see much at all and opening them was painful for her.

Normally I would take a call like this in the car but she had suitcases with her and I didn’t have the space to accommodate them, so I asked for an Urgent Care crew to come and collect her.

A stint of standby on Leicester Square was broken by an assault not far from me in Piccadilly Circus. A 26 year-old Australian man was set upon by four men when he tried to break up a fight in which the gang had turned on someone. For his trouble, he got punched and kicked to the ground, leaving him with a deep cut above his eye. Otherwise he was fine but I took him to hospital in the car and the police followed on. While on scene he saw one of his assailants walking close by and identified him to me and the cops. The cheeky thug had brazenly walked into the crime scene he’d helped to create just so that he could look at his handiwork. He even smiled. Happy Christmas!

Be safe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Been seeing the booze bus all over the West End recently... T'other night, half 2 it came past me up charing cross road with little LEDs and tinsel on the windscreen dash - looked very festive! t'was on blues too, heh. Merry Xmas.