Thursday, January 26, 2006

Feigned Illnesses

One of the tricks that people use when they've been chased and caught by the police is to feign some sort of medical illness in the hope that the police will take pity on them and not arrest them.

This invariably results in the police calling us. The most common conditions that are tried on are chest pain, fitting, and the old favourite - unconscious.

I received a call from the police, and the only information that was given was that it was to a male unconscious. I arrived to find half the met there, and was led to the patient by one of the officers, who told me they'd found him behind some bushes after a short foot chase, and as soon as they'd apprehended him, he'd collapsed to the floor and was apparently unresponsive.

It was dark, so I got one of the officers to shine his torch onto the patient's face - and his eyes screwed up a little from the light. That was the first giveaway. The second was when I touched his eyelashes and his eyes flickered. He still refused to believe the game was up and wouldn't talk to me, so I applied my pen to his finger nail, pressed down on it and rolled it. This is to assess whether the patient responds to pain. Ear pinching is a bit feeble, and most people can stand that.

That did the trick, and I was rewarded with the usual response of "Ow! Get off my finger - that fucking hurts!" I told him to open his eyes and start talking to me and I'd stop doing it. He did.

I did all the usual checks, and I couldn't find anything wrong with him other than having pupils the size of dinner plates which suggests he's taken something - possibly drugs or alcohol, but he denied drinking or taking anything. He was arrested by the police and taken to hospital in handcuffs.

I've had people doing pseudo fits, to which a sharp bang on the floor with my hand usually makes them jump - which it wouldn't if it was a real fit, so that gives that one away.

The only ones we really have to be careful with are chest pains, because we can't disprove they're having them, but a 12-lead ECG involving having to shave some of their chest hair off, nasty tasting aspirin, even worse tasting GTN spray, a cannula in their arm and various blood tests and arterial blood pressure assessment at the hospital (involving a needle being pushed into an artery usually in the wrist or groin which bloody hurts) usually discourages them from trying that again.

6 Comments:

Blogger Lennie Briscoe said...

I have heard a number of ..."oooh your hurting me..." and screams of fictional pain and "those hand cuffs are too tight oow!"..but not a fake unconciousness. Even seen a mad man in a cell try to fit, and try to throw up...fain an asthma attack.

Pain compliance is a wonderful thing. A Staff Protection Trainer showed me a move using an extended baton. When the customer is lying on the floor face down, you press your baton across the backs of the calves pressing firmly down... Works a treat.

12:38 am  
Anonymous kylie colgate said...

Up here in Northern Canada we get
pseudos, they wrench me off, called to one at new years,unconscious.Asked bystanders if she'd wet her pants,patient herself sat up and said 'f**k you dirty SOAB'
Man I hate people pretending to be something they aint.
Busy enough without fakers.

Love this blog

1:25 am  
Anonymous Craig Corry said...

I can't believe people would fake being ill. Surely this is a waste of ambulance time?

I'm thinking about becoming an ambulance driver like you...you guys are fantastic.

I'm only 17 but I've been a first aider for 2 years now.

I don't think Id like going to people who only pretend to be ill. All the drivers should be helping people with heart attacks. Why do you have to go when someone is lying?

5:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about a test for localising pain prior to withdrawing from pain, according to the GCS?

8:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Craig, you best be carefull how you address paras and techs, lol, they arent ambulance drivers, thats like calling a EMD a receptionist....not a good idea, lol. EMD123. PS Steve were you in EOC today hovering over the fru desk???

7:34 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

"What about a test for localising pain prior to withdrawing from pain, according to the GCS?"

The pen on the finger nail does the job for both, e.g. "Ow, gerroff me finger it f**king hurts" means he's localised the pain to his finger. If he just pulled away from the pain, that would be the withdrawing. Test for two things in one go :)

"Steve were you in EOC today hovering over the fru desk???"

No, not today. I shall be in the not too distant future after Mark from Neenaw came out on an observation shift. It's part of the deal - I now have to go and listen to him take some 999 calls to see what it's like from the call-takers perspective.

10:15 pm  

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