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.


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