Friday, 16 April 2010


Day shift: Six calls; three by car; three by ambulance.

Stats: 1 ? drug o/d; 1 Near-miss electric shock; 1 NPC; 1 Abdo pain; 2 Head injuries.

Prostitution and drug addiction often go hand-in-hand and my first call was to a ‘drunken’ female who was slumped in a chair in a cafe during rush hour. Allegedly, according to the woman behind the counter (who was losing customers rapidly), a man left her there with a cup of coffee. She had told the cafe owner that she had spent the night with him and then said she was tired and flopped unconscious at the table.

She was a skinny, unkempt young lady of 23 and it was clear she was homeless and probably on something, so I got her to the floor and prepared to give her Narcan if I couldn’t get her to respond. Her respirations were slow and shallow, so I was ready to reverse that if it continued. Fortunately, as police arrived at my request, she began to speak. ‘I’m insane. I need help’, she told me after I’d asked her if she had any medical conditions.

When she was taken into the ambulance, a little bit of sense came out of her and she told us that she’d allegedly been robbed of cash given to her by the very man she’d slept with. This, unfortunately, is not a rare occurrence. She’s someone’s daughter and she’s on a very slippery slope. I’d be very concerned about her if I cared at all as a parent.

Later on a call came in for a workman who’d been electrocuted whilst digging the pavement up. A crew was on scene and the man was sitting in his van talking to them, so he hadn’t been electrocuted at all but he was very lucky indeed. As the pictures show, his machinery and clothing is burned beyond repair and when he hit the high-voltage cable, which was buried only seven or eight inches down, a flash struck his shirt, melting it instantly. He was thrown in the air, along with concrete and molten pavement – which acted like little bullets – and his hi-vis tabard was blown off his back, burning until someone put it out. He appeared completely unscathed.

This isn’t unusual because over the past few years we’ve been called to similar incidents where workmen and women have been lucky (a few not so lucky) as a result of close calls with deadly voltages because of old and shallowly buried cables.

The crew took him to hospital and he was given an ECG in the ambulance; this is always a good precaution, regardless of the amount of luck an individual has had with electricity.

Then a No Patient Contact when I was beaten by the crew (StuFru second responder at your service) for an 87 year-old man with DIB at a railway station. Meanwhile HEMS was on its way to something more serious in town.

It’s been Red, Red, Red all day so far but we all know that a Red2 for DIB with the words ‘abdo pain’ included usually means just that. So I conveyed the 22 year-old female with her friend in the car to hospital. She had been suffering acute abdominal pains of unknown aetiology for the past three weeks – it’s one of those things unfortunately and may never be properly diagnosed.

An Amber now, for a 60 year-old woman who fell and sustained a minor head injury. A towering Karate black belt man, fully adorned in karate clothing, stood over her as I tried to convince her that I wasn’t about to start running up to the fifth floor (she was outside on the ground, where she had been told to stay by Karate man) and back down again, so that she could collect bits and bobs for the trip to A&E, which she really didn’t need. Her cheek was bruised and there was a cut above her eye but all that appeared broken were her spectacles.

Unlike the next patient – a 50 year-old Spanish man who stumbled down steps in a shop and probably broke his nose. His family was on scene and the staff was doing damage control and blood clear-up when I arrived. He had no other injury that was worth worrying about and there was no loss of consciousness, nor neck pain, etc., so he and his family, who argued in Spanish throughout, went in the car to the very crowded A&E department.

Be safe.


Steve Irwin said...

Christ is that guy lucky!!! Thats quite shocking to an electrician such as myself!

Kieran said...

Hey Stu,

Just wondering when you're taking pictures on scene as to how you go about doing it? And is it just one of these run of the mill digital cameras you use? It'd be interesting for my portfolio to sometimes have some photographic evidence (obviously not of patients themselves).

Plus it'd be nice to have an album on my facebook of some of our training days.. I spent most of our last training day being splinted and tied to long boards- The ingredients of some priceless snaps I'm sure you'll agree!

P.S. Long time no comment- still been reading though in between shifts!!