Monday, March 13, 2006

Another Regular

I’ve been taking some leave because I had to use some up or lose it at the end of the month, but I went in for a shift last night.

I arrived to find a different car than the normal one I use.  Apparently the normal one had thrown a piston and has been sent away for repair, and whoever was covering my shift on Saturday night crashed the replacement car.  He’s ok by all accounts, which is good news, but it left me with the spare spare car.  As you can imagine, it’s pretty old, but my God does it go!  I would even say it goes better than the usual car.

It didn’t stop me missing Orcon on one call though.  Orcon is the name for the 8 minute target response time for all Category A’s, and on this call, it took me 9 minutes to get there as it was quite a distance away from where I was.

To be fair, I didn’t hammer it to the call, because it was to one of our regular callers, an 80 year old lady who lives alone.  She has friends come and be with her during the day, but she panics at night on her own and ends up calling us.  It’s always a Cat A because she hyperventilates, so is therefore “not breathing normally”, but it always ends up the same, with us checking her over, coaching her breathing to slow it down and making her a cup of tea before we leave her.  She always refuses to go to hospital, and short of kidnapping her, we can’t force her to go.

Last night, control rang me as I made my way to the call.

“Sector aren’t sending an ambulance until you’ve assessed her.  If she needs to go in, let us know and we’ll assign an ambulance.”

We’ve been under an awful lot of pressure in the last few months and weeks to reach our target of 75% of Category A calls reached in 8 minutes for the year, even to the point that one of our directors issued a notice to staff which practically asked us to drive faster to calls – it was later denied that that was what the bulletin meant, but we all understood it perfectly clearly.
So I was a little annoyed that they wanted me to drive like a lunatic to a call that was quite literally miles away to get there in 8 minutes, but they weren’t going to send a much closer ambulance that would have beaten me there by a long way.  

So I slowed down.  If they’re going to run me on blue lights to go and make an old lady a cup of tea, I’m certainly not going to break my neck getting there.

I arrived, and it followed the usual pattern – sorry to have called you….I got myself in a panic….you must think I’m a pain in the arse (no comment)……oh I am thirsty.

Ah, that’s the cue to go and make the cup of tea.

I do feel sorry for her, but we’ve had to refer her to our Patient Advice and Liaison service to see what can be done to stop her calling for ambulances all the time.  This is one of the reasons that ambulances aren’t available for real life-threatening calls, but that’s a whole other post.

Overtime tomorrow.


Anonymous Sidney Hardcastle said...

Whatever happened to the 'no send' policy? How stupid is it to send a response car, or an ambulance, putting at risk the lives of both staff and the general, road-using public for an old biddy with a touch of nerves? Madness.

By the way, it's 'different from', not 'different than' - that is a wholly unacceptable Americanism.

Keep up the good work.

11:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah lets not send any help to an 80yr old on her own and panicing. Save the ambulances for the people that really need them - the drunks and babys with colds.

7:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,
I have just been introduced to your web site and was wondering if you could give me your opinion on a rather sensitive issue.

I am an EMT from the Avon A.S. and I have just moved to a new line with a new crew mate. We have quickly become very good mates and I would hate damage this however she has a rather bad hygiene problem. Everyone who works with and around her is very aware of this and seem to think it should be my responsibility to raise the subject. She has very bad body odour and breath that on occasion I am embarressed to say I find nauseating. I am afraid of loosing someone who is fast becoming a good friend but I hate to hear what people say about her and be unable to dissagree. I would welcome your opinion on this or from any other 'Blogger'
Thankyou Jane x

10:27 am  
Blogger Steve said...

I suggest you take her to one side and have a quiet word. Be sensitive about it though - it may be that she is acutely aware of the problem and feels extremely embarrassed about it.

If you get on well and are good friends, I suspect she will be grateful for the heads-up.

Think about how you would like to be approached if the position were reversed.

Hope that helps

4:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just go - oi stinker you is well minging innit. she'll understand.

x bwts

6:47 pm  

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