Saturday, October 11, 2008


The call was to a diabetic patient "behaving strangely".

Mary* is an elderly lady, whose sister was visiting from Canada. She'd woken up, shouting something about a daughter. The sister knew she didn't have a daughter, and couldn't understand what she was talking about, so fearing that the patient's blood sugar was low, she called an ambulance.

"Who's there?" shouted the patient as we trudged up the stairs.
"Ambulance service," I replied.
"I don't want the ambulance, it's the police I want. I've got information about a girl that's gone missing - my daughter, Rosie...." and she went on for a few minutes. Her sister told us she hadn't got a daughter. I tested her blood sugar while we talked - or rather, I listened while she talked. The reading was normal, so we'd ruled out a hypo. I still had no idea what this woman was talking about, until my crewmate told me she was talking about a storyline in Coronation Street that involved a girl going missing. I don't watch soaps, so I had no idea.
" I want the police to come so I can tell them the information I've found out," finished Mary.
"Mary," I ventured, "do you think you might have been dreaming about Coronation Street?"
Mary paused for a moment to consider that. "Maybe you've been watching too much TV," I suggested, smiling.
"Do you know, I think you're right," she said. "I do feel foolish."

I reassured Mary it wasn't a problem, and told her sister she'd done the right thing. I recorded her blood pressure & pulse.
"My son works for the ambulance service - you won't tell him will you?" she asked, looking worried. I assured her that her secret was safe with me, and we left her drinking a cup of tea.

The computer system in control that sends calls down to our screens in the ambulance had been taken offline for some maintenance, so we were doing everything "the old fashioned way", so I had to tell control the outcome of the call and let them know we were available again.
Much to my amusement, Beaker was the radio op. I pressed the button on the radio that let her know I wanted to talk to her.

"Go ahead," she said.
"You're going to love this," I said, and told her briefly what had happened, and that we'd left the patient at home in the care of her sister. There was a long pause. I knew she was laughing. Beaker was still laughing when she had finally gained enough control of herself to acknowledge me and confirm that we were available again. I managed to keep a straight face as I told her not to laugh as it was unprofessional.
"Sorry, I'd answer you but I'm too busy laughing!"

We drove back to the ambulance station - still laughing. I love it when we get funny calls like that - Mary brightened up what was otherwise a very boring week as far as calls go.

*not her real name - I never use a person's real name, but if I don't write this, I always get an e-mail from someone accusing me of identifying the patient


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol!! How professional is my radio procedure!!!

6:24 pm  

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