Night shift: Six calls; one hoax call; one treated on scene; one declined; one false alarm; two by car; by ambulance.
Stats: 1 Drug O/D; 1 Pretend asthmatic; 1 Headache; 1 Abdo pain; 1 Vomiting person; 1 Faint.
I had to borrow a car again – this time the headlight had gone on my own. I also had an observer from Control out with me and the first call we got helped break the ice for the night ahead. A 50 year-old drug addict lay slumped on the toilet seat in a public loo – he was barely breathing after taking an overdose. The person who’d given him the narcotic had run off as soon as he’d realised his client was potentially dead. We arrived with another FRU behind us to find the crew giving Narcan to him. This had an immediate effect and within seconds the patient was awake and aware.
His blood pressure was low, so I plumbed him into fluids for a while to resolve it. The police arrived to investigate the scene but the drug addict refused to co-operate and he didn’t want to go to hospital. ‘You could have died if it wasn’t for this crew’, I told him. ‘I wouldn’t mind if I’d died’, he responded.
The next call came later as the drizzle of the night settled down. We were off to a train station where a Polish alcoholic sat on the ground with police officers around him. Initially he claimed to be asthmatic, which he clearly wasn’t because he was speaking (in Polish) without drawing breath and he was covering his mouth in between for some strange reason, something an asthmatic is not likely to do. After a frank discussion with him (after he’d come clean and admitted he could understand English), he confirmed that he didn’t want an ambulance and that he wasn’t asthmatic at all. He’d been drinking and wanted to be taken to Kings Cross. He didn’t get his taxi ride.
It seems our East European friends were out in force tonight. We went to a 37 year-old male who was standing in the street waving at us as we arrived. He had a headache but I think he also needed to sleep because when we got him to hospital in the car he went to dreamland on the cubicle bed within minutes of being shown to it.
We waited for a while on Leicester Square until a security man from one of the burger chains approached and asked if I could help him with his recent stomach cramps. I did all the obs and found him to be normal, except for his painful tum of course. He didn’t have diarrhoea and there was no vomiting going on (except for the man who past the car earlier and threw up as he walked, carrying on as if this was no more than a spit onto the pavement). He didn’t want to go to hospital, so I guess he was looking for a quick fix. He didn’t get one but he got advice and a copy of my PRF to take to his GP.
A 66 year-old lady stepped from her front door to meet us as we arrived at her 999 call for ‘Swine Flu’. She was in her night clothes and fully made up, nails and all, for the trip. We don’t take people to hospital with Swine Flu and they usually don’t come to meet us, so I knew already that this lady didn’t have the virus and that she had probably never called an ambulance before in her life, so didn’t quite know that an emergency call usually meant us coming to the patient and not the other way around.
She was very pleasant and explained that she’d vomited – this single incident prompted her to grab the phone and dial 999 on the assumption that she had H1N1. ‘We don’t take people with Swine Flu to hospital’, I told her. ‘But where do I get my inoculation?’ she asked.
I also found out that she was Bipolar and that probably explained a lot. Her husband was away for the night and she was alone, so I decided she should go to hospital anyway.
The police cancelled us after we’d run a few miles up to a non-existent assault with a non-existent victim. The hoax call had been made from a callbox and before the cops had arrived to catch him, the caller had fled. He was probably watching us though.
As we waited for the final curtain to fall on this shift, we were sent one last little surprise – a call to a private gentleman’s club for a 21 year-old ‘exotic dancer’ who was unconscious. She wasn’t because her eyelids fluttered when I tested her eyelashes and it was clear that she wanted to play dead. She was flat on her back and wearing the tiniest of top and tails (exotic dancer bikini). She was surrounded by large, heavy (and I don’t mean fat) men who were straight-faced and without humour.
The crew arrived and we lifted her onto a chair but her bra fell off – it had been loosely placed across her breasts. Her jeans had been hastily put on and they were only half way up her legs – I assumed therefore that the staff had tried to dress her before we arrived. Still, we all carried on professionally and covered her up as soon as possible.
When she got into the ambulance she miraculously recovered and began asking who we were, whilst smiling broadly. She had a female chaperone with her and I continued to talk to them both as the crew prepared to complete the obs I’d started. This young dancer then began to flirt outrageously with me and I think I might have gone a bit red in the face. I’m not sure though but I looked at my watch and, realising the time and that my shift was over, I decided to beat a hasty retreat. I bid them goodbye and closed the ambulance doors with the words ‘I’ll see you again in my dreams’ ringing in my ears. I just know I’m never going to hear the end of this.