Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Lion man

Day shift: Six calls; one assisted-only; two by car; three by ambulance.

Stats: 3 Head injuries; 1 asleep; 1 Period pain.

I’m still not feeling 100% but I’m back on a weekend tour and hoping to keep myself fit and well enough to stay the course until my next rest day. Luckily nothing happened for a few hours and I didn’t get my first call, which was a ‘no patient contact’ because the crew was on scene, for a few hours.

Later on an 89 year-old lady stumbled on a rough, sloping pedestrian ramp and hit her head on landing. She was with a motorcycle colleague and had already been checked and cleared as fit for the car. She had a large bump on her head but had sustained no other injury and wasn’t knocked out. This was her second fall on this type of pedestrian crossing ramp and I suggested that she asked for assistance next time but her face told me she wasn’t sure about asking strangers for help. It’s a shame we’ve arrived at this point in society because, despite her fears, I’m sure she’d still find plenty of people willing to hold her in balance as she negotiated the pavement.

The lions on Trafalgar Square are slippery at the best of times but sitting on them whilst wearing a sleek lycra costume is not advised unless you want to fall off. A Facebook gathering of costumed characters gathered in the Square and one of them, a 24 year-old man, slipped and fell fifteen feet onto his head, landing hard on the ground below. When I got there he had the attention of plenty of police officers and a lot of bystanders, including bemused tourists. He had a small cut to his head but I suspect that hid bone damage underneath. He had no neck pain but he was treated to the full immobilisation required for a fall like that.

Interestingly, as I treated him and waited for the arrival of the crew, none of the lions were occupied. Only after he’d been scooped up and taken into the ambulance did people, including children, start to clamber over them again.

A sleepy-headed man triggered a Red1 call because he chose to go to sleep on a bus. This, as you know, is very, very common and, as yet, nothing is being done about it except that we run around with cars, cycles and ambulances just to wake them up and send them on their way. I was with a cycle responder on this one and initially couldn’t get to it because the roads were being closed down due to yet another demonstration being held in Central London. Typically, none of us out and about knew anything about it – there was no warning. We must get together with the council one day and chat about this stuff. Oh, and the bus-slimbering man eventually got the hint and walked off.

In an underground station a 19 year-old female suffering from abdominal pain asked for an ambulance. She was starting her period today and, although she had been through this higher level of pain several times before, she hadn’t taken anything for it. She had vomited several times and so she felt this additional problem warranted an emergency response.

I took her to A&E in the car and she felt sick as soon as she sat down in the department. I scrabbled around looking for a vomit bowl, knowing that time was running out (it’s a familiar look – that imminent-vomit blanch) but didn’t find one and so she got off the chair, ran around the corner - where the porters usually sit and chat - squatted down and threw up copiously onto the floor - several times. Luckily the porters weren’t in position or there would have been tears (mine probably).

And just to prove that London’s visitors get along just dandy I was called to a 24 year-old male who’d been allegedly assaulted by his erstwhile friend. He was literally chucked onto the ground after a headlock in which he stretched out his arms in submission – nice touch I think. For his trouble he ended up with a 5cm incision in the back of his head that will probably need stitches. His blood-soaked clothing gave away the nature of this short but obviously nasty little encounter – caused primarily by alcohol-induced rage. He was flanked by other, less violent mates and a lone police officer when I arrived and an ambulance turned up just as I finished off the knot on his second head dressing.

Be safe.


Fiz said...

I feel very sorry for the girl having such severe period pains. I used to be like that and it didn't stop until I had my first child at the age of 29. I now know for a fact that some of the period pains I used to get were as bad as second stage labour!

Anonymous said...

Hi Fiz,
I am 16 years old and I to like this girl suffer from quite severe abdominal pain during my period. I often have dizziness and nausea that accompany this pain, however as much sympathy as I feel for this girl I do not think it warranted an emergency response. I would not even think about calling an ambulance even if i collapsed as I believe it is a waste of paramedics' time and their and people out there who are genuinely ill and require an emergency response, but that is just my opinion and I do not want to upset anyone so I apologise in advance if any of my comments do upset anyone.

Fiz said...

Hi Anon. Don't worry, I agree with you! She didn't need an ambulance. I don't know about you, but I used to stay in bed filled up with non prescription drugs and writhe around until it went two days later. I certainly never called an ambulance! We have had emergency visits to hospital but have always managed to get there under our own steam!

Anonymous said...

Hello again Fiz
I just lie in my bed with a hot water bottle for most of the day and I sometimes take two paracetamol but they don't help me in any way. I should really go to the doctors but I hate the places! Oh and I would just like to apologise to you Stuart for taking over your blog with my comments. I hope you don't mind too much! :o d

Xf said...


Nope...I dont mind. I'm not saying much anyway at the moment :-)

Anonymous said...

hi stuart.
i am hopefully going to become a paramedic, and i have my interview tomorow, is there any advice you can give me? for instance any dodgy questions, and any suitable answers. or just any hints and tips, iv been a regular reader of you blog, and its been very insightful, in fact one of the only consistent sources about what its really like as a paramedic... :)

Xf said...


You should have bought The Street Medic's Survival Guide!

Good luck with your interview.

Anonymous said...

altho i think i still might. i cant understand why doing that never occured to me earlier...
hopefully the interview went well :)


Fiz said...

Are you back to your usual self now, Stuart? I hope so. xxx

Xf said...


Yes thanks... over it now. :-)