Thursday, 22 January 2009


Night shift: Seven calls; one left at scene; one taken in the car; five by ambulance.

Stats: 1 eTOH; 1 Purple plus; 1 ? Fit; 1 eTOH with hypothermia; 1 EP fit; 1 Back pain; 1 Psuedo-choking.

One of our MRU colleagues was hit by a car tonight – he’s in hospital with a fractured rib and possible spleen injury. The man is a friend of mine and well respected in our complex. A sense of shock at yet another MRU collision pervades the place at the moment. Incidents like this, involving the MRU team are not common but they are becoming more frequent and unless other drivers slow down and take care when they see one approach, more are likely to occur until someone is seriously injured or killed in the course of their duty.

A woman sat slumped on the steps of her college, unwilling to speak to anyone and obviously drunk until the staff had no choice but to call an ambulance for her. It’s not the first time she’s behaved like this by all accounts and she stubbornly refused to communicate or even look at me as I tried to reason with her. She wasn’t medically ill but I’m sure other issues influenced the way she was, apart from alcohol. The crew took her away to hospital…again.

Death seems to be the theme for the first month of the year for me. I was called to a dead man who was found in his flat by police after they broke down the door of his flat. Nobody had seen him since November and it’s very likely he’d been on the floor of his kitchen, bowed over as if in prayer, for the past two months. There was certainly plenty of evidence of him being long deceased; the overpowering smell as you entered the lobby, the blackened skin, which was virtually melting onto the floor and the presence of hundreds of flies – generations of them lay dead on the floor and the more lively ones buzzed around the light bulb in the hallway.

A crew was with me and more of us turned up but this was an open and shut thing, requiring only a pronouncement of life extinct – paperwork for the police.

A neighbour had called the police after the smell had been detected in the building. They were told that mouse dropping could be seen all over the carpet and the police themselves thought that’s what it was when they peered through the letter box. In fact, it was a mass of deceased black flies and I had to walk onto them to get a close look at the man in order to satisfy the procedure required for the paperwork.

'He sticks to the floor when you move him', one of the cops said.

We all looked at each other. None of us were about to test that comment. The Coroner would deal with this one.

I was cancelled on top of a call to a 65 year-old man who had collapsed in a pub, so I pulled up and started writing it up but the crew who’d been called and were 'on scene', according to Control, rolled past me on the way there and I got a look from the attendant as if to say ‘why aren’t you doing this one?’. I followed them just in case they needed help but there was no drama and the patient only needed two people and an ambulance. Still, I had to apologise in case they thought I was sitting it out deliberately.

Off to see a 45 year-old man who was ‘very drunk and collapsed’ next. He was drunk but he wasn’t on his knees – he was standing outside a women’s hostel and two of the residents had called an ambulance stating that he was on his last legs. I found that out when I asked Control why this had been given a Red2. The women told me that it wasn’t an emergency and that they’d specifically told the call-taker that. Obviously, they’d told a lie to get rid of him as he stalked the entrance to their secure place.

He was very cold and my first thought to have him go and find a warm dry place to sleep (he told me he had nowhere to go) changed when the crew arrived and his temperature was taken. I expected it to be low but at just over 33 degrees it was best if he went to hospital. He had been in the day before – we knew that because he was still wearing his name band and he sported the tell-tale sign of someone who’d walked out before being treated properly – a cannula in his arm.

I removed the dried up piece of plastic tubing from his vein and the attendant covered his wound. If he walks out again tonight, nobody will have any sympathy for his plight.

When the ambulance had gone, I made a point of referring him to London Street Rescue, so hopefully he will get a place to lay his head out of this awful weather.

A 25 year-old epileptic woman was fitting in a restaurant after downing ‘a lot’ of alcohol, according to her friends, who were quite drunk too. She lay on the floor telling me that she was fine but when the crew got there she fitted again twice, before recovering as she was taken into the ambulance and out of sight of her mates. She became immediately lucid after that – kind of unusual for someone who’s had so many seizures in a short space of time. She wasn’t even tired.

I’ve helped my Control colleagues out many times by attending to one of their own when they become ill or injured at work, so I wasn’t phased to be asked to take a young woman with back pain to hospital. It gave me a chance to have a chat with someone else in green for a change.

Many people call us thinking they are choking when they have a lump in their throat or a partial obstruction caused by food that can easily be cleared. More often than not the lump they feel is in their oesophagus and not the trachea, with no chance of an imminently life-threatening event but they dial 999 in panic. A 51 year-old Chinese man was taken to hospital by the crew when he complained of such a lump, whilst being perfectly able to talk. I stood by to offer any help they might need but there were three of them (a trainee crew and their supervisor) so I just killed a little time on scene instead.

Be safe.


Chris said...

Hope your friend gets better soon

AnalogueAndy said...

Ditto that and your comments about drivers response to the hearing and seeing (or not) blues and two's.

I was wondering what driver training you receive, how you rate it, and whether you get 'refresher' training at all?

Anonymous said...

Same here. All the best to your MRU friend and family.