Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Night shift: Seven calls; one treated on scene; two assisted-only; one by car; three by ambulance.

Stats: 1 NPC; 1 Fall; 1 Near faint; 1 Chest pain; 3 eTOH.

My Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) was playing up and the first call I got had to be taken and processed ‘manually’, so I went to an underground station to help an elderly man who’d fallen and had a head injury. The call was upgraded and I thought there might be a significant reason for that but it turned out he was ‘not alert’ according to the report given by the MOP who’d called it in. This can mean nothing and everything to a lay-person. We really should find a better way of saying these things – like pain scoring (out of 10, how bad is the pain?) – many people just don’t know what it means. Anyway, it was all moot because I’d been given the wrong location (the caller had given the wrong location) and I ended up walking what felt like a mile to the other side of the station. By that time, and having given the correct location to be passed on to the crew, the ambulance had arrived and he was no longer my patient.

After a changeover of vehicle (yep, another broken one), I was off to the aid of a 66 year-old gentleman who stumbled on the kerb, fell over and smashed his face on the road. He had various minor cuts and grazes on it but he’d also broken his dental crown and burst his lip. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to go to A&E (and why would he?) and agreed to see his dentist first thing for a repair. He was a lovely man who understood the difference between a minor injury and an emergency. Oh, and it was the concerned staff at his club that had called 999 for this but I guess they were being cautious.

I saw a low-loader taking two of those pedi-cabs away on the back of it. They must have parked illegally; it was unlikely they were being taken in for repair. That made me smile because I just don’t like them.

A 19 year-old female collapsed after being in a sauna at a health club and I was sent to see if there was a need for an ambulance. There wasn’t because she was fine but her legs wouldn’t work and, with the help of a staff member, we got her to fresher, cooler air by wheeling her carefully around the edge of a swimming pool and then supporting her up to the reception area. She had other issues going on and her collapse and useless legs were part of an ongoing situation, so we had a frank chat about it all and she seemed to feel better and her legs became more useful. I took her home by request (yes, we do that) and her flatmate helped me to get her back to safety.

Later on a 42 year-old man complained of chest pain at work. He had right-sided pain and a troubling ache down his right leg and the two could well be connected as PE’s can manifest like this. However, before we all go jumping to clinical conclusions, he had also been attempting to get fit again after quitting cigarettes recently and a heavy workout at the gym could cause this kind of problem when muscles have been over-worked. His ECG was fine and the rest of his vital signs were normal, so there was no definitive diagnosis here. He stated that he’d been feeling ‘out of breath’ when he exerted himself but, again, this could be the result of his new-found health drive – his body may simply be rebelling. He went to hospital by ambulance for further tests.

A crying Italian 20 year-old next. He was found slumped against a shop window – clearly drunk but people thought he might need an ambulance so 999 was called for ‘abdo pain’, which covers a multitude of sins. A police officer was standing with him when I arrived after my ten-second dash up the road from where I was sitting in the car (I think they see where I am and make these calls up sometimes). The man was telling the cop that he wanted to go home. His broken English was bad enough for us to have to ask him to repeat himself over and over, while he had the same problem with us and frequently said ‘eh?’ or ‘what?’ in response to our questions. It was like a little comedy had opened up in the street at one in the morning.

He wasn’t going to hospital because there was nothing wrong with him and the police officer offered to unclog the NHS by taking him to the local police station, where he could sit and cry and sober up. I offered, in turn, to drive them both there and it was sewn up like that. The man just wanted to go home and thought we could help him. He was crying because, as he stated repeatedly in his own words, ‘I am uncomfortable with alcohol’. I respectfully suggest you don’t drink it then.

Another drunken young man who thought he could just go home with too much alcohol on board and a distinct, and very real, inability to stand up, walk, talk or function generally, was lying on the pavement next to a pool of his own vomit and being chaperoned by two police officers when I arrived. ‘I’m alright. I’ve only had a few’ he said. I couldn’t take him in the car so I waited a while for an ambulance and ran out of things to do just before they arrived. The conversation I was having with the patient was pretty much one-way, so I was glad to see the crew.

A repeat of the last job not much later on and I was on my way to Oxford Street to check on a 20 year-old man who’d fallen and possibly had injuries. This usually means nobody has checked.

As I crossed a junction (and this is almost 3am) a car sped towards me as if I was invisible. Luckily I was crawling through the junction at the time, blue lights or not but if I hadn’t stopped in time this idiot driver would have taken the middle of my car out (and me probably). But I got across safely and stopped when I saw two armed police officers standing over my prize. He’d been drinking of course and the call had been made by a strange lady waiting for a bus who seemed to shout and rant for no reason. When another armed unit stopped to see if we were okay, she went into the middle of the road and began to shout at them too. They weren’t happy about that and she was promptly ordered back onto the pavement, an order she thankfully obeyed. Relative peace descended after that and I’m not sure if it was because she’d taken the hint or she’d taken the next bus.

I conveyed the guy in my car – we had no ambulances to spare and this time he sat in the right place, where I could watch him and the cops followed on behind, just in case. He was asleep by the time we got to hospital.

Be safe.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I know that on a previous post, my 'veteran' status appealed to you as when I served we had 'less to hand', but the lord spare me please state the the service is not a glorified taxi company.

The 66 year old gentleman was the norm, but a 20 Y/O pleading for a lift home from a highly qualified paramedic takes the biscuit.

During the eighties, when the service would pay for training, and not kit (ie lifepak 5 and I and I), the dedicated members of Surrey Ambulane, did not think that their concerted efforts in raising funds would result in this appaling waste of time by the MOP.