Wednesday night shifts. Ahhh ,the bliss of a midweek night, where nobody is at the pub on a school night. Nobody is considering being awake at silly hours of the morning to injure themselves or become ill. No. No, this is not true.
The busiest shift in a very long time!
Our very first detail was a lady who’d “fallen in the garden, injuries unknown”. It was well out of our patch but nonetheless, we rushed there (as we do with every emergency call we go to), to find a lady who had tripped on a slab and hit her head on the floor. She wasn’t too badly hurt, but we took her to A&E for further assessment. We handed her over to the nursing staff, cleaned the stretcher and any equipment used and were asked to headed back to base.
But then…”Further emergency for you please”. Rush rush rush to a lady who had been diagnosed with Gallstones 2 weeks previously and had been given a load of meds to treat it. This included some pretty decent pain relief – which she hadn’t been taking. The pain became so bad that she rang 999 for an ambulance. Now, I don’t have a problem with people in pain ringing 999 for an ambulance. But if you’ve had to do so because you haven’t taken responsibility for your own health, it gets a little frustrating. A good assessment showed that, yes, it was the pain associated with gallstones. What did we do? Gave her her own painkillers and do you know what? They started to take the pain away. We see this all too often; people will ring 999 but will have only taken HALF a dose of painkillers of none at all. The cause of the pain can be a simple thing that doesn’t need A&E treatment, but because they “don’t like taking tablets”, an ambulance gets taken off the road. As I said, frustrating. But we’re never rude about it, some gentle chastising perhaps, but never rude. I don’t believe in giving substandard care because someone’s panicked. We discharged her at scene and cleared from the job.
“Thank you, further emergency call just coming in”
We were sent to a lady who’d attempted suicide by attaching a hosepipe to the exhaust of her car and putting it in the car window with her in the driver’s seat. Her neighbours saw her doing this and dragged her from the car and called us. The police were also called. On arrival, she was stood in the kitchen smoking a cigarette, I said hello and she told me to “f**k off!” That was a good indicator of how this call was going to go. I eventually persuaded her to let me in so we could check her over. All the while she’s saying “nothing’s happened” and “she’s fine” and “F**K OFF!!” She even dropped the ‘C-bomb!*.
Assessment showed that her Carbon Monoxide levels were higher than normal, and she needed to go to A&E for treatment. She was adamant that she was NOT going anywhere. This is where the job gets difficult. The patient clearly needs treatment, but they refuse. At this point, we assess the patient’s ‘mental capacity’ to see if they can make an informed decision about their treatment. We have a tool we use, which I won’t go into now, that allows us to test this. As she was unable to retain the information, or repeat our concerns back to me, it was deemed that she did not have Capacity. Meaning that under the mental health act, she could be removed from her property and taken to hospital. This is when I was glad the Police were there. for nearly an hour we tried to persuade her to come with us to the ambulance, but she wouldn’t, so the Police ‘escorted’ her. We took her to A&E where the Sister in charge told us she’d been discharged only 24 hours earlier following a drug overdose.
This is how the night continued. Emergency to emergency to emergency.
Not long before our finishing time, and thankfully after we’d had time for a sandwich, we got a 999 call in to nearby city for a lady in labour. We were a second crew being sent to assist if needed. We nearly got there when we were stood down, as the first crew that arrived were happy to deal.
“Further emergency for you…you won’t believe this….in your own town”
“*laugh* Roger all received”
“You won’t believe this either…..female in labour”
Blue lights on, off we go. The roads were quite at 6am and I made good time. When we pulled up, we were met with the sound of carnage!!
“How can I do that when I’m holding a f*****g baby?!”
“YES, I CAN SEE THE F*****G BABY!”
We grabbed our maternity pack and response bag and ran to the door…locked…1st floor window was open we shouted up to let us in.
“I CAN’T, I’M HOLDING A BABY!!”
“Give baby to mum and come down to unlock the door.”
Seconds later, the most terrified looking man I’ve seen in my life opens the door and sprints back upstairs.
Up we run to see mum on the bed, with a newborn baby between her legs. The baby was a good colour and wriggling like a good’n. My crewmate looked after baby while I reassured mum that everything was fine. We did a quick check of mum and baby and everything was in order. She delivered the placenta in good time (sorry to those that are squeamish) and the community midwife was called.
My crew mate and I both agreed that after a 12 hour thrashing, the joy of an uncomplicated home birth and the smiles of the new parents made it all ok. We left on a high that night, ready for whatever the following night shift could throw at us.