Thursday, 18 February 2010

Drunk and loaded

Day shift: Five calls; four by car, one by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Lacerated lip; 1 Asthma; 1 eTOH and vomiting; 1 eTOH and falling down.

I had the pleasure of hosting, on behalf of the Service, a paramedic from Yorkshire and so the first part of my shift was about tours and history and the usual rubbish I can ply people with when they are caught unawares. He was a thoroughly good chap and I enjoyed our chats, which mainly focussed on the differences between London’s ambulance service and his. He seemed suitably impressed with the way things are done down here, so I am hoping his report back home will be favourable. I'm also wondering what it is we are doing right.

So, first off – a 3 year-old boy, reported as being variably 8 years-old and 5 years-old, depending on who you spoke to, fell onto the back of his little sister’s buggy, splitting his lip open and puncturing a decent hole through it at the same time. The bleeding had stopped and his mum was quite happy to travel to hospital in the car (it was a three minute trip) rather than expose him to the further stress of an ambulance. He was bawling his eyes out and took some time to settle down but once in hospital, he seemed to calm.

A wasted trip later on for an unknown person who dialled 999 and proceeded to press the buttons on his phone rather than respond to the call-taker. It was either a hoax or an accidental call but either way, we had to check it out and an area search, that including the public toilets in Leicester Square, led to nothing.

A 23 year-old girl with asthma had an attack at work and one of my motorcycle colleagues was on scene dealing. He suggested that a trip to hospital in the car may be useful but when we got there, she’d pretty much fully recovered and was chatting away cheerily with him after agreeing to go and see her GP about it instead. I wasn’t needed but I spent the next 20 minutes or so chatting to her, her mum and her cheeky cousin, who worked in the same place. While my colleague continued his paperwork and my observer got cornered in conversation, I was privy to discussions about boyfriends who had no sense of direction when it came to faces and other amusing side-subjects. Sometimes the people I meet and interact with make this job a lot more fun - these three ladies did just that.

I left them to it after being offered cups of coffee and a job with a possible one million quid bonus.

Drunken street people shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash on them – for their own good. It was a mystery for me and the police officer who called us, to find a very inebriated, constantly vomiting 34 year-old alcoholic with a plaster cast on one leg, one shoe on and over a thousand pounds cash in his pocket. He wanted to go to hospital and said he had pancreatitis but he wasn’t complaining of abdominal pain – his vomit smelled of alcohol, so all he wanted was a bed, although he could easily afford to check in to any good hotel in London, he chose the 4-star L’hotel d’NHS instead. Rooms are free for a limited time (see the nurse for details).

Drunk number two fell onto the escalators at an underground station and cut his face. He probably broke his nose too; there was evidence of damage to it along the bridge. He’d been rescued by the staff after attempting to continue his travels by tube with a messy, bloody face and a drunken stagger. They caught up with him at a station near me and I was asked to look at him and decide whether or not he should travel. Obviously, he couldn’t and an ambulance arrived to take him away for his own safety.

He was a pleasant Spanish man who apologised every ten seconds for the trouble he was causing and in my book the very recognition of that fact makes it okay with me. So he got smiley Stu and a hand up the steps into the ambulance. Then he went and spoiled the moment by tripping up and once again falling onto his face in the ambulance as he took the last step inside – silly sausage (as they say in the old country... wherever sausages are famous... Germany probably).

Be safe.

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