Sunday, November 06, 2005

Drunks & Food

It must have been some sort of epidemic last night. Every single call last night bar one involved someone who was virtually legless. The only patient that really needed an ambulance was a young lady who was having an asthma attack, but a dose of a salbutamol nebuliser soon had her breathing sorted out and she didn't need to go to hospital.

The night had started with a call to a gentleman who had belly ache, was cold and shivering. It was a category Green 2 - our lowest priority of call, and it had clearly been a busy day - he'd rung for an ambulance at 17:30 and we were sent on it just after our shift start time of 19:00. On the way, we asked control to ring the caller back to a) find out if we were still required and b) to try and make sure we didn't get a hostile reception because of the hour and a half wait.

He told control we were still required, and he was told we were on our way with apologies for the delay, but when we arrived, the patient had walked to the hospital and hadn't bothered telling control. We only found out he was at the hospital when control rang the A&E department to see if he'd booked himself in, which he had.

That set the tone for the night really - it was going to be a night of unexciting calls. It was then drunk after drunk after drunk. At 1 am, we were finally left alone long enough to call at the kebab shop so we could get some food. We were both on the verge of being hypo at this point.

My crewmate went in to get the kebabs and I stayed in the ambulance as we were showing in control as available for calls and so one of us had to stay in case we got a job. The kebab shop was quite busy, but fortunately the owners let us jump the queue and get served quickly. I could see that they were just wrapping our kebabs up when the MDT sprang to life with a call. A young girl was having a panic attack and apparently going in and out of consciousness. I put the blue lights on to attract my crewmate's attention and let him know we'd got a job, and a woman standing in the doorway said "Oh that's good, there's an emergency and the ambulance crew are ordering kebabs. Someone might need CPR and they'll have kebab breath!" to which my crewmate replied as he walked passed her "We are only human - we do need to eat as well you know." Besides, if someone needed CPR I don't think they'd mind too much if we had the smell of kebab on our breath.

I'd already got a blanket out to wrap the kebabs in to keep them warm if it had been needed, so while I drove to the call, my crewmate wrapped the food up in the blanket. We arrived to "windmills" galore. A windmill is where someone stands waving their arms about to attract our attention. We walked into the girl's room to be greeted with the sight of a very drunk young lady who was hyperventilating. "she keeps going unconscious" said the girl who was propping her friend up. Right on cue, the patient flopped her head back and "stopped breathing". I've seen this countless times before. One of the tests to ascertain genuine unconsciousness is the flick the eyelashes. If they're pretending to be unconscious, their eye will flicker and they can't stop it happening either. Her eye flickered.

"Right, stop holding your breath and open your eyes. I know you can hear me," I told her. It was like a miracle cure. She gasped a breath and opened her eyes. Fortunately she knew the game was up and didnt try it again, although she was still breathing too fast. We took her to hospital, and I coached her breathing on the way. By the time we arrived, some seven minutes later, she was breathing normally and laughing and joking with her friends.

The job with the most potential for being interesting was a pedestrian who'd been hit by a car. It wasn't interesting - it was another drunk who'd staggered out in front of a car and been hit with a glancing blow. All he had was a bit of a cut to his head, and a loud abusive mouth. We left him at hospital being unco-operative with the nurses.

2 Comments:

Blogger CD said...

Grrr @ the woman in the kebab shop.

I think some people don't realise that ambulance staff are human. They make it sound like getting some food in the middle of a 14 hour shift is neglect of your duties!!

7:52 pm  
Anonymous ronnie corbet said...

Paramedics need their food! They would be of little use to the patient if they were borderline hypo-glycemic. I wonder how many people were desperate for an ambulance to cover serious illness or trauma whilst you were transporting this stupid young woman to hospital. Laughing with her friends? At whose expence!

2:37 am  

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