Monday, 13 July 2009

Too early in the day for mad people

Another pierced person. Photographed with permission.

Day shift: Six calls; one treated on scene, one by car and the rest by ambulance.

Stats: 1 Cut scalp; 1 Impaled thumb; 1 eTOH; 1 Psychiatric problems; 1 Faint; 1 RTC.

I’m doing a bit of overtime, so am struggling to keep up with the posts on time. I’m currently using the time I can afford while my extended family are visiting to complete as many of these reports as possible, in-between showing my face and trying not to be rude, although they all know that I, like Scruffs (who is hiding in the bedroom), am not the most socially-friendly person, especially when all the kids descend. I’m not being obtuse, I’m just being me.

The first call of the day was to a 67 year-old with a cut scalp at an underground station after he caught his head on the closing doors of the tube train. He had the most minor graze imaginable and yet the first aid (qualified first aider) person decided it was worthy of a 999 call. The poor guy, who was on his way to work, was very embarrassed. I applied a plaster and he went on his way. The first aider could have done that! And please don’t annoy me with stories of liability or of not being sure, etc. If you do the training and you qualify, why don’t you take the role seriously?

A 27 year-old scaffolder managed to get a barbed piece of metal hooked through his thumb, to a decent depth as he dismantled scaffolding at a gallery. The metal bracket attached to the wire that ran into his digit was still hanging from it when I arrived, so I took care of that by having it cut free, leaving only the protruding metal extension – small but sharp and nasty. I didn’t need an ambulance for this but today was one of those days where nobody seemed to be listening, either to me or to the MRU control desk, so a crew turned up anyway, wasting more resources than necessary for such a minor thing.

A fellow Scot, Glaswegian and drunk, discharged himself from hospital after a diagnosis of internal bleeding was apparently made. The 50 year-old, who obviously thought I was his best mate (brother even) after establishing my roots, wouldn’t go back and was being persuaded gently by the PCSO’s around him and less gently (quite aggressively) by a man that had ‘befriended’ him earlier. In fact, as the PCSO in charge was telling me his story, I distinctly heard the unknown man threaten the patient. I pointed this out to the PCSO, who hadn’t heard it and the man was quickly removed from the scene.

It took a long time for me to persuade the man to go to hospital. He was homeless, teary-eyed and repeatedly wanted to get me closer for a ‘confidential’ chat, in which he’d simply say the same thing every time – ‘I’m ashamed’.

A possibly hydrophobic 25 year-old, described on my MDT as ‘foaming at the mouth’ was having a nervous breakdown and there was nothing I could do to help. He was inside a hostel and he wasn’t friendly – the police were on scene and they warned me not to go near him. Great, I could have done with this advice before I was sent alone to ‘treat’ him. He had to be cuffed and dragged out by the officers when the ambulance arrived.

A fainting 45 year-old walked into her GP surgery and performed a dying swan act across the reception chairs. She had a history of collapse, with no known cause after every test in the world had been performed on her, so her doctor, who was waiting for me when I arrived, stood doing nothing much because there simply wasn’t anything to do. I did all my baseline stuff and found nothing untoward and then she decided to fake a fit on me. Honestly, there was nothing in her little shake-about that convinced me or the doctor that she was in any trouble but it helped her friend get more worried and it turned out to be something she does regularly but hadn’t yet bothered to tell her GP about. It got at least one person's attention (her mate).

Not to be outdone by her performance and the fact that I had to be seen to act, I pushed a cannula into her vein. You never know, I may have been looking at a true seizure but miscalculated it through lack of compassion, so it was best to keep a vein open for a class A drug, knowing that it would never be needed.

Sure enough, she ‘recovered’ within ten seconds of jerking and twitching and was taken to hospital, fully alert and looking fairly healthy, for more tests that would probably show nothing was wrong. I know - I’m a cynic and should be shot at dawn – go get your guns.

The last call of the shift was to assist a colleague who was on scene with a man who managed to get squashed against his car door when a bus reversed into it as he opened it to get out (you'd think he'd have seen that coming). He suffered a badly cut hand and a leg injury, which may or may not have been a fracture (if it was, it was only a chipped bone but still an x-ray job). I was asked to convey him because there were no ambulances available and he could hop on it (the leg).

He faffed about so much that I was getting a bit frustrated. I wanted to get home on time for once and now I was late while he deliberated whether to go to hospital or not, or where his car would be kept and whether he could risk parking it, blah blah blah. It took a full twenty minutes for him to decide that A&E would be a good idea. His chauffeur and car were ready...had been for ages.

Be safe.


Anonymous said...

Hi Stuart,

I always read your blog, I don't think you should hide away from your extended family like that, your mother-in-law sounds like a lovely person!

Keep writing!

PS I think your baby will have ginger hair!

Xf said...

Anonymous (I think I know who you are!)

I'm not hiding! You know I'm shy really!

I love my mother-in-law and you know it :-)

NO!!!! Not ginger...NO!!!

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with being cynical... it's inevitable in this job, but the newbies don't yet see that.
I am cynic of 23 yrs, cynical to the point of telling pseudo-patients that they look stupid, are stupid and only their stupid friends believe them!