Friday, April 20, 2012

"We've crashed"

It's one of the few radio calls that stops you mid-bite of your sandwich.

We'd just started our break when the emergency tone sounded on our radios - a crew had caught their bloody button again, I thought.

This time I was wrong "This is JM24, we've crashed, we've crashed, all services required". I stopped, literally mid-bite.

"Tell us where you bloody are!" I shouted to the room.
It was almost as though they'd heard me.
"I repeat, we've crashed, we've crashed at the junction with the main road, all services required."

The other crew in the room was sent to the call, along with the local manager. "I know we're on break, but tell them to send us if you need anyone else there," my crewmate shouted after them, and I added my agreement to that.

A few minutes later, the call came. We were out the door and in the ambulance before the dispatcher had finished apologising for interrupting our break. When we arrived, we were asked to take the patient the crew had been taking to hospital when the accident happened. A lovely lady, who'd suffered a sore shoulder, but no serious injuries from the crash.

The local manager approached us: "Thanks for turning out during your break lads, another crew turned up, but were more interested in moaning they'd been out all day and hadn't had their break yet, asking if there was someone else that could take the patient, so I told them to clear off if that was their attitude and asked control to send you."

I was disgusted. I couldn't comprehend an ambulance crew having that attitude when responding to a call to colleagues who everyone had heard calling for help because they'd crashed. Writing this, I feel that disgust all over again. It's simply not what you expect to hear from colleagues helping other colleagues.

Apparently, the driver of the ambulance had braked for the junction but nothing had happened.  It was a case of either hit the car in front, or swerve and hit a signpost.  He chose the signpost, which was demolished in the impact.

As it happened, everyone was ok with only minor injuries suffered, apart from the attendant in the back of the ambulance who had been just about to get up to get a piece of equipment out of a cupboard - he had facial injuries and a minor head injury, so looked a mess but was actually relatively unscathed.  A Paramedic Responder from the neighbouring service also attended, and was an absolute star.  Because the hospital was on his patch, he went back to his base and fetched some spare uniform for our injured colleague because we'd had to cut some of his off him.

If you read this and recognise the job, thank you for what you did for our colleague.  You'll be pleased to know he's made a full recovery and is back at work on full duties.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Sweetheart

We've just transferred an old lady from one hospital to another for ENT referral after a somewhat nasty nosebleed. At 91 years old, she's more concerned about the wasted food because she hadn't finished her evening meal when it started. I could do these types of call all night.

Back online

I've not posted for well over a year - more like a year and a half. Many reasons for this which I'm not going to go into, suffice to say some of them have been personally painful, but all is looking better now.

I have a few posts to do, which I'll get on with over the next few days, but I'm on nights tonight and tomorrow night, then moving on Friday, so they may be a little delay.

Good to see some of my regular readers still pop in to see what's happening :)

Speak soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010


You're 10 years old and on holiday. Dad's sleeping on the sofa cos he's not been very well.

Then mum, uncle, aunty and gran start looking worried. Dad won't wake up.

They call an ambulance.

When it arrives, the paramedic has a look at dad.

You then hear him tell mum that dad has died.

Our job is shit sometimes....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A "London" Day

Today was full of jobs that reminded me of working in London.

We started with a run of the mill back pain. The lady had been doing some gardening, had bent over, and felt her back "go". When we arrived, she was on the kitchen floor, unable to move because of the pain. A community responder had already arrived (to "stop the clock") and was offering sympathetic words and making encouraging noises. A few whiffs of entonox later, and we had the patient on her feet, and out to the ambulance. We took her to hospital for further assessment and treatment.

The next job was given as a 20 year old girl, ?stroke. It turns out she had numbness on the right side of her face, right arm, and the sole of her right foot was numb. She was still able to walk about on it ok, and insisted on walking to the ambulance. We left her at hospital having a CT scan arranged.

Next, the poor patient of a crap doctor. Every area has a crap doctor, and in a rural service, it seems every village and small town has a crap doctor. This was a doctor's urgent into A&E for an elderly lady with an ankle injury. The doctor thought it was broken. We were half way there when control informed us the doctor had upgraded the call to an emergency and we were to run on blue lights. When we arrived, the poor lady with her broken ankle was walking happily off to go to the toilet. I don't know what sort of assessment the doctor did, but he/she certainly didn't think to ask if the patient could bear weight on it. I told her it was highly unlikely she'd done anything too drastic. Apparently the doctor had visited and had said something along the lines of "Oh, it looks like you've done something to that - I'll call an ambulance." The ankle was swollen, and at first I thought it was a sprain, but when I touched it, it was very warm, so I now think she had an infection. Unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to follow it up later.

We finished the day going to a 17 year old who'd taken an overdose of 15 paracetamol. It turns out she's doing a holiday job and the romances weren't what she thought they'd be.

All in all, a day of easy jobs, and all of them reminded me of the kind of calls I was missing in London. I know someone will comment that we only did four jobs, but we ran 15 - 30 miles for each one. Where I am now, the calls tend to be of a more genuine nature, apart from one in my first week here, which I shall write about at some point in the future - it's another crap doctor story...

Monday, August 09, 2010


I *may* have tested the siren while my crewmate was checking the oil. It was accidentally on purpose. He may have sworn at me.

Nee Naw

One of my friends who I met thanks to this blog has just posted her last blogpost

Suzi has inspired many people and helped even more to remain calm whilst doing something you never really get training for in life - making a 999 call for an ambulance. However, her bosses have seen fit to tell her to stop blogging. I won't go into details about why, but suffice to say their reasons are frankly complete bollocks.
Suzi has written some really useful posts, including Common beliefs held by the public about calling 999 along with What to expect when you make a 999 call for an ambulance and how the public often think time is being wasted with stupid questions

There are loads of others - why not visit the site if you've not seen it before? Have a flick through the archives - there are even a couple of cross-blog posts with me.

Good luck for the future Suzi, and I hope that one day, you'll be able to return to blogging.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

moved services

Ahh, there you are. I know I went quiet again, but it's because I've been moving ambulance services - not actually picking them up and shuffling them around, but rather moving from one to a different one. In order to ensure I maintain patient confidentiality, I will not be revealing which ambulance service I now work for.

I've been there 2 weeks now, and to be honest, it's not much different to London - we're still out all day, but doing less jobs because we have much longer running times to get to calls and also to hospitals. Management is pretty much the same - I've had to sort out my own passwords and other important things by myself. The best bit is I no longer work nights or weekends for the forseeable future - and it's doing me the power of good.

I've already identified one hospital that I don't want to be taken to if I'm ill - ever! I've also already been offered bank work at one of the neighbouring services. Seems there's a shortage of Paramedics everywhere - perhaps they should pay us more...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working Hard

It's been a busy weekend...going out right at the start of the shift, not getting a break, and coming back after the end of the shift. That's the way it goes sometimes....but especially at weekends for some reason.

We've had a mixture of interesting and rubbish calls. We were sent to a young man with a cut hand. He met us as we pulled up outside his address, his hand wrapped in a bath towel. We thought he might have a quite nasty injury from the way he was holding it. When he took the towel off, it was all I could do to stop myself blurting out "Is that it??".

It was small cut on the hand, but it had gone fairly deep, but calling an ambulance was still a bit over the top. We took him to the local minor injury unit, where they made sure it was properly cleaned and dressed it, before politely telling him off for calling an ambulance for something that wasn't an emergency.

Later, we were sent on a Cat A call for an elderly man who'd fallen and banged his head. Normally these are green calls - our lowest priority of call, or an Amber call at the most. There was nothing on the screen to indicate why the call was a Cat A - he was apparently conscious and breathing, no mention of bleeding or breathing difficulties. But we can't see the answers to all the questions on our screen, so we guessed there was more to it than meets the eye.

The FRU was already there when we arrived, and we found the patient unconscious on the bathroom floor, with blood pressure so low it wasn't measurable. We actually listened to his chest to see if we could hear the heart....we could, so we knew it was beating, but his breathing rate was falling. We started to "assist ventilations" with a bag and mask, and I went to the ambulance to call for a second crew, because we were two floors up, and the lift wasn't big enough to take our patient flat. Because his blood pressure was so low, we didn't want to sit him up - it would probably have killed him, so we wanted to take him out flat on a board. Unfortunately, the stairs were very twisty, so it was going to be a nightmare getting him out, and we'd need a couple of extra pairs of hands.

While we waited for the other crew, we got him onto the board and strapped him down tightly - we didn't want him to fall off as we moved him. Barry put a line in one arm, while the FRU Paramedic put a line in the other arm. If he did suspend on us, we wanted to make sure we'd got good access into his veins. We put a bag of fluid up and started running it through as fast as it would go.

When the second crew arrived, we manhandled him down the stairs and onto the trolleybed. We all agreed it was the best physical workout we'd had for ages!

We blued him in to hospital, where by the time we arrived, the bag of fluid had brought his blood pressure up a bit, and he was a bit more with it.

I still don't know why the call had come out as a Cat A. It's not very often a Cat A turns out to be a "proper" life-threatening call, but this one certainly was.

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but only just finished it because I forgot about it, so I can't remember the outcome of the call. I have a feeling he pulled through though.