Night shift: Fourteen calls; one treated on scene, three assisted-only and the others by ambulance.
Stats: 1 Allergic reaction; 1 Hypoglycaemic; 2 eTOH; 1 DIB; 1 EP fit; 1 Asthma; 1 RTC with Fractured clavicle; 4 Assaults; 2 Panic attacks; 1 DOAB
Friday night and its all going a bit mad. A 55 year-old woman thought she might be reacting to her medicine but she didn’t appear to be – she seemed to be emotional. I left the crew with her.
Then a pregnant diabetic Japanese woman, who made me stand outside her flat for ages before finally coming down with her husband, sat in the car while I treated her mild hypoglycaemia with Glucogel. It was all sorted out in half an hour and she went about her business with a caution to take better care of herself.
I came across the notion of ‘eye peeling’ for the first time when I met my next patient, a 32 year-old Californian in a hotel room who was suffering from a panic attack. Her heart began to beat faster suddenly and her hands were numb. This scared her into calling an ambulance. She had been walking around London all day long and, by the sound of it, had covered quite a few miles, so maybe her body was fighting back. At first I thought she had a nasty rash around her eyes but she explained that she’d had them peeled and that this was the Californian thing to do – it reduces fine lines apparently. It may do but it also makes your eyes look kind of assaulted for a while.
You will be awarded a Red2 if you get so drunk you can’t stay conscious and so I sped along to an 18 year-old who was with his father and workmates outside a bar. He had vomited quite a bit and was fairly groggy but conscious enough to understand what an idiot he’d been with alcohol. At times his much older colleagues, all of them builders, were unhelpful as they shouted encouragement to him. He had to go to hospital; he wasn’t fit for anything else (including work the next day). His dad was somewhat embarrassed by it all, as you can imagine.
A poorly baby with a chest infection and a high temperature next. His mum was concerned about his breathing and when I examined the 4 month-old, it was clear he was struggling with it, so off he went as soon as the crew arrived.
I had to assist with the removal of a large man who’d had a fit in a record store (I say record because it sold vinyl, so that’s valid). He’d collapsed and hit his head on a shelf before convulsing on the floor – he must have pulled at the stock because there were albums all over the ground.
Finding the exact location of a call can be tricky if the caller isn’t clear, so I went around in a circle until the crew, who’d joined me in the search, stumbled upon him. The 16 year-old was claiming an asthma attack but he didn’t seem to be having any real trouble with his breathing, although I won’t judge it one way or the other. Nevertheless he was treated for it by the crew. He’d been standing in the street waiting for us, bent over in a posture of pain...without any of the valid signs.
A call given as two unconscious people in the street turned out to be a RTC involving a bicycle and a pedestrian, both of whom had been knocked out. The Booze Bus was already on scene and dealing with the only injured person, the cyclist, who had a broken collar bone. The other person was fine and the police landed to sort the incident out but it seems like a simple accident had occurred. I left the broken clavicle man with the crew after checking that his pain was manageable without morphine.
Boozed up young men who’ve been given a kicking will often want to retaliate, especially when we arrive. I think they get courage from the fact that a punch-up is unlikely when blue lights are around. I wouldn’t place a bet on it though. The man had been beaten up after challenging someone to a fight (he lost, obviously) and got himself a cut lip, bruised eye and a lacerated head for his trouble. Police were on scene and he was reasonable enough to me – well behaved even- until, on several occasions during my wait for the ambulance and even on the way to the ambulance, he summoned up the nerve to shout out more challenges to the people involved in his beating. I guess he hadn’t learned his lesson.
Immediately after this call, I went back to the same area to see a 50 year-old woman who was sitting in the doorway of a casino with worried friends around her. She’d had a panic attack – she knew it, I knew it and her friends knew it but the call was Red and given as neck, back and chest pain. She didn’t want to go to hospital, which was a sensible decision and I cancelled the ambulance. She was recovering well and went back to her hotel with a mate in tow.
In Victoria, a 41 year-old man was attacked by a gang of thugs, dragged across the road and then beaten up. He was standing with police when I arrived and his face had been battered so hard that his nasal septum was deviated and he couldn’t breathe through one nostril. He also had a swollen eye and felt that his contact lens might have slipped up into the orbit, which he found uncomfortable. The men who’d assaulted him had hailed a taxi to make their getaway, the cheeky gits – I wonder what the cabbie was thinking.
My drunk on a bus slapped my arm away a few times before I won him over and he stomped off the vehicle like a stroppy Polish child. I get lots of these calls, as you know, but this time I arrived to find that the bus driver himself was asleep at the wheel as he waited for me!
A very confused and stupid drunken man collapsed and vomited outside a tube station, triggering an inevitable 999 call. He spoke nonsense most of the time I was with him and continued to speak it when the Booze Bus arrived. He didn’t want to go to hospital and he didn’t need to either, so we let him catch a taxi home. Whether he knew where he lived or not is a mystery.
A double assault on bus drivers next – one had a facial injury and the other had been kicked in the chest, so he was coughing all the time. Neither was critical but both needed to be in hospital for a check up. The police were there and this was my last call of the night. I went home in a low mood though because sometimes even the busiest night can't distract you from other things on your mind...