So, the big headline news is that we are currently dealing with one drunken (or alcohol-related) person every eight minutes. I did a bit of calculating and this is what I discovered: there are 288 hours in 24 hours (clever, eh?); that means there are 36 eight-minute periods every day. Effectively, as long as we are taking on an alcohol call every eight minutes, there are thirty-six crews in work if they all take one call a shift. There would still be three or four crews employed if they were dedicated to taking every call of this nature every shift.
Alcohol-related calls are a waste of time for the most part, as well as other minor and time-wasting jobs that we encounter every single day, 24-hours a day, but the caveat here is that dozens, if not hundreds of additional people are gainfully employed as a result – across the UK, that could amount to thousands of individuals, including of course, nurses and doctors.
I don’t like the waste – you all know that; our tax money and precious life-saving skills are frittered away on these people but I am pragmatic and realise that they are the source of some, if not most of my income. That, however, will not stop me believing that it is time to penalise them - a steep fine when they sober up is required.
The long four-night weekend starts now and a strange assault call came to me with a request to let Control know if an ambulance was required. The cops were on scene with a young girl who had (by her own admission) hit a 61 year-old man with a bottle, which shattered and sliced open his hand.
The man was denying this and stuck to a story in which he sustained the injury during a fight between two young men who were with the girl. He said he’d ‘smacked one of them in the mouth’ and the toothy contact caused the damage to his mitten. This story, of course, helped keep his ‘hard man’ character intact, whilst the other one – where a girl hit him with a bottle (and the evidence for that was everywhere) – led to his emasculation in front of his neighbours, who’d witnessed the fracas and, in fact, bore out the story given by the young girl.
It was strange to hear this teenager telling the cops all they wanted to know – confessing it all – while the assaulted man denied she’d ever hit him. It meant she’d get away with it and that, from what she was saying, was something she didn’t want. ‘I did it. Take me away if you need to, I don’t mind’, she said to the very bemused cops. They must have thought Christmas had come early.
I had to take him to hospital because a vein or two in his hand had been severed. Blood spattered and pooled, depending on his movements after the assault, all over the place. It smeared and dotted the windscreen and body of a car outside the man’s flat. The car belonged to some poor sod who’d wake up in the morning, stretch his body for the coming day and then scream blue murder at the sight of someone else’s blood all over his beloved carriage. If I could spend the extra time awake just to witness it I would.
It seems to be a bottle-themed night because the next call was for a man who’d been hit by one during an alleged robbery. He had a superficial head injury and hadn’t been knocked out. Here’s the test:
‘Were you knocked out at all?’ I ask.
‘Yes’, he answers.
‘Where were you hit?’
He points exactly to the place he was hit on the head.
‘If you can remember being hit and where on the head you were hit, then you must have been conscious when you were hit, don’t you agree?’
He also knew what had been taken from him and, while his girlfriend (with tears in her eyes) and other friends stood around him, he seemed to feel a lot worse.
He was lucid and not at all bloodied by the incident. I wouldn’t want to detract the seriousness of his experience of course but I think he may have been clubbed by a rubber mallet. Maybe a clown robbed him.