Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Return of the professional timewaster

The elephants are going to auction and before they leave, they are 'on parade'

Day shift: Nine calls; one woken up; three left on scene; one referred to GP; two by car; two by ambulance.

Stats: 2 sleeping persons; 2 abdo pains; 1 headache; 1 RTC with 3 patients; 1 back pain; 1 nosebleed; 1 RTC with ? spinal.

The first call of the morning cost me ten seconds of my life to get to – the bus in which the ‘unconscious male’ temporarily resided was across the road from where I had parked. It took another ten seconds to shake him awake and walk him off. The well-tanned man apologised and groggily made his way to wherever he had planned to be this morning; he wasn’t a drunk and he wasn’t homeless – he was just tired and the bus driver, being told not to take any risk, had done nothing to wake him up.


A request to travel further south than normal took me to an underground station where a 27 year-old female was suffering abdominal pains, dizziness and nausea. She had recently been diagnosed with an Ovarian Cyst and Endometriosis and by the time I arrived, she was getting better. The pain had eased and she felt less sick than before, so I did the paperwork and spent twenty minutes chatting to her, ensuring that she didn’t actually need to go to hospital because she didn’t want to.

I left her in the very good hands of the London Underground staff and they ensured she got home by taxi. Hopefully, she will seek advice from her GP if this pain returns.


Another female abdo pain with a gynaecological aetiology came in just as I was about to enter the Post Office. I am trying to mail out a package and I need to do it today but, as Sod and his laws will confirm, it will probably be a failed mission because calls are bound to come in just as I walk towards the entry door.

I took the 26 year-old to hospital and then up to Emergency Gynae. She has already had a miscarriage and this is her second. She was, understandably, very upset. I felt a lot of sympathy for her of course because I think women experiencing this ‘common’ problem are generally left to fend for themselves.


The 32 year-old female with a headache who called an ambulance from her workplace probably has anaemia (she has a history). She told me she felt weak, dizzy and tired. I empathised – I feel the same a lot of the time, except for the dizzy bit, unless you have a point of view on my personality.

I left her with her colleagues and advice to go and see her GP as soon as possible.


Not far from where I had just been, if you know what I mean, a multi-casualty, walking-wounded call was generated when a 13 year-old female – part of a school group visiting from Germany – was hit by a moped and the driver and his passenger were thrown off onto the road. All of them sustained very minor injuries; grazes to various exposed body parts, and so I asked for one ambulance and the police. No helicopter or line of vehicles for this one.

I dressed the graze of the moped driver and the teenager was checked out in the ambulance while her teacher chatted to her and made sure she was okay, which, apart from the emotion of being hit by a vehicle, she was. She was left in the care of her teachers as her friends clicked away on their cameras and used their mobile phones to record the mini spectacle. No doubt it will all show up on You Tube. No doubt she will be more careful to look both ways next time too.


After a break I was sent out to deal with a back injury that sounded as if the patient would need an ambulance. Instead I found a 25 year-old Masters student sitting against a wall complaining of muscular pain that developed hours earlier when she was cycling. To be fair to her, she didn’t call an ambulance for it, the security and teaching staff of the college did. She was prepared to make her own way to see her doctor about it.

I took her in the car to A&E and she sat waiting, with other minor ailments, for what will probably be a good few hours.


A regular caller, timewaster and self-harmer is back on this ‘patch’ – I’ve known him for almost five years and have often referred to him in these posts. He’s been gone for about a year but now he’s up to his old tricks and there seems nothing we can do about it. He generated a call for a ‘person lying in alley with bleeding nose’ and when I got there he was crying out to ensure that people would take notice of him and call an ambulance. This is what he always does and he self-harms to ensure he gets a response. There is never anything truly wrong with him. He’s the same person that got turfed out of hospital as soon as I got him there a few shifts ago. It’s all getting very boring with him.

The crew that arrived didn’t know him and I gave them the SP before they got near. I didn’t want to patronise them but if they don’t know him they could be in for a shock – he will throw blood at you, spit at you and attack you if given the chance. He’s not a nice man at all.

He claimed he’d fallen from a height, then changed his story to one in which he was attacked by someone he owes money to. It was obvious from his position and the blood smears on the cardboard he was laying on that he had cut himself (broken glass all around him) then rubbed his nose across the cardboard for dramatic effect. One day very soon, this guy will take a resource away from a dying person - or will be the dying person.


As the day closed I was sent to a park where a 7 year-old girl had been knocked down by a bicycle. The bike had hit her at around 20mph and she was instantly rendered unconscious for two minutes, according to witnesses (and there were plenty of them). The little girl was Arabic she and had a large family with her. The witnesses reported that as soon as she was hit, family members lifted her up, hung her upside down and began shaking her in an effort to bring her back to consciousness. This report appalled me because if the girl had a neck injury, the poor cyclist that had hit her (she ran out in front of him and he was in a cycle lane), regardless of how you judge his speed in a public park, would be blamed when the cause of any harm to her spine could be traced to the actions taken by her family afterwards. This is a very bad approach to first aid - it is deeply ignorant.

The girl was conscious but in some distress when I got there and an ambulance was with me because we’d arrived at the same time to find nobody to guide us in (nobody official anyway) and the only gate we could use was locked. So we drove all the way to the top of the park and went back to the incident scene the long way – rubbish really.

She was collared and boarded and blued in as a precaution. She’d been unconscious and that meant she’d hit her head hard enough to cause potential damage, so she would need to be treated seriously until cleared at hospital.

I have a lot to say about the backward way in which 'first aid' is practised by some people. If you have kids, go and learn some first aid – properly. Stop living in the Stone Age and get educated.


Finally, on the way back and with little time left on the clock, I was asked to wake yet another sleepy-head who was on a bus. This time the vehicle was parked up on Hyde Park Corner and I went around it twice before seeing the bus I was going to. Traffic is so heavy in that area that getting a good look at anything near the pavement when you are solo is almost impossible.

Anyway, I woke him up and he got off the bus, complaining bitterly about being deposited on a hard seat at the bus stop.

Be safe.

3 comments:

Squeezey said...

Make it back to the post office in time? *hopefully*

Anonymous said...

Hey im 16 and love reading your diary i am intent on becoming a paramedic one day and in September i will be starting college to study health and social care, human biology and sociology! Thanks for your posts they make me very excited about my possible future :) x

Japhia said...

I guess the good thing about being in the "buisness" for a few years or should a say more then a few years in your case... You know a lot of the "regulars" that you are able to stay away from or at least be cautious when dealing/ warn others to be cautious when dealing with.

and bloody hell what were those people thinking about shaking their kid upside down to "bring the child back". I mean sure they must have been very worried, but there is no need to hang the child upside down.