I Hate Night Shifts…!!!!!!!!!

January 12, 2007

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Our vehicle data terminal exploding due to over use…!

Nearly finished my last set of four nights! Less than half an hour to go!

I am creased! I am knackered beyond belief! I am exhausted! I am twitching!

12 jobs in one shift! So far! On a night shift on a Thursday!

What is wrong with everybody? Has control been ringing people up to ask them if they want an ambulance because I,m on duty?

When I first started on A/E many moons ago, if you did three jobs on a night shift then you was said to have been busy. Now it is getting ridiculous! 

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My Sanctury Soon…..


Alone in the Crowd…

January 11, 2007

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We were called to a Cat A red call “Severe Respiratory Distress”for a gentleman in his late 60s. Arriving on scene I waited for my colleague to get the O2 resus bag off the truck and then I locked up. Our address was in the centre of Big City in a renovated block of Victorian tenement buildings originally built as a barracks in the middle of the 19th. C.

It was blowing a gale and the temperature had dropped a few degrees since yesterday making the air almost freeze on our breath. After what seemed like an age we gained entry through the controlled access main doors. Our patient resided on the ground floor almost next to the entrance. A party was going on next door with sounds of laughter and music coming from within.

On entering the gentlemans flat we were first confronted by the stale smell of alcohol and the familiar aroma of self neglect. The gentleman was sat on the edge of his bed and breathing very fast trying to take in air and talk to us at the same time. After a few words of encouragement we managed to slow his respirations down. No need for the O2.

It was plainly evident that he was a alcoholic as littered all around us were empty bottles of whiskey and other sources of alcohol dependence. (I dont think he was collecting them to put “ships in a bottle.”)He was emaciated and looked worse for wear. My colleague asked him questions about how he felt, had he any pains, did he suffer from anything, what meds did he take etc. He had no family left. 

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I asked him…”does your heating not work?” to which he replied that it did but he was afraid of the fuel bill! It was more cold in his flat than outside! We located the thermostat and turned his heating on. (Better to be warm and dead than cold and dead.) A quick look around and we could see that he was not coping and needed help. All the while he was telling my colleague about what he was going through. He seemed like a once proud man who had been taken over by alcohol.

His obs were acceptable…O2 sats 95%, B.P. 142/90, pulse 100, resps 24 per minute and his blood sugars were 6.5.He seemed to be anxious and shaking saying he had been like this for 11 days since stopping drinking the whiskey. Alcohol withdrawal can manifest itself in many ways…one way in which we were soon to discover.

Up until now he had been orientated and articulate in his responses and offered rational explanations for his predicament. He was obviously a social case and did not need to go to A/E. I noted the state of his bedroom…like a scene from Miss Havishams house in Great expectations, only this time the cobwebs were replaced by dried blood on the walls and wardrobes! This was due to the many falls he had recently whilst under the influence. 

We attempted to contact the “Falls Team”who would be able to assess our patient and put in place a package of care. That was the theory…unfortunately we had rung outside of the allotted hours of their response. I did not want to leave an answer phone message which may or may not be picked up the next day! The next option was to arrange for a out of hours GP Doctor to call that night and hopefully arrange a direct admission to an elderly ward. (it sometimes works!) I passed on all the relevant details to the call handler and awaited for the Doctor to ring back…and waited……and waited……….and waited………..and waited!

Our patient seemed happy enough with the arrangements we were trying to put in place for him. (On reflection it would have been easier to have chucked him on the truck and dump him in A/E but that would not have been fair on anyone). Whilst chatting to our gentleman he turned around and called for “Maureen” to back him up on his answers to our questions!

“Who are you talking to Albert?” We knew that there was no one else in the flat. “I,m talking to Maureen, shes marvellous…” he said looking towards the back of his bedroom. I thought about this and asked him if he had “Life-Line” installed* saying that it was a brilliant system for people on their own. He agreed with a nod of his head.

Suddenly he piped up…”I cant sleep at night either!” Due to the coldness of his flat I was not surprised! He continued “…they come in the middle of the night and wake me up, making all kinds of noises!” I asked who it is that wakes him up?  “Its his friends!” pointing to no-one at the other end of his bedroom. “He had about twenty people behind the wardrobe and on top of it….all of them having sex!” He then went on to explain in puzzlement that “I dont understand it….those wardrobes are flush against the wall!”

My colleague and I looked at each other, then looked at Albert. He was now becoming more and more animated and his breathing was coming in short gasps as he let fly into a tirade of abuse at his “friend”. We decided that perhaps the out of hours GP was now not an option. After calming Albert down we told him that it would be better for him to get a good nights sleep at the A/E. I re-contacted the GP and stood him down, not that I think he was in a hurry to attend anyway! 

We carried Albert out and past his neighbours with the party just starting to get into full flow.  We settled him comfortably on the truck and took him the 2 miles down the road to A/E. Handing over to the nurse I quickly explained our actions on scene and that we had brought him in as a last resort. She was not happy. But then she had not spent the last hour and a half in a filthy flat trying to get this once proud man the care that he desperately needs. 

I,m just glad that we did not leave him waiting for the GP to attend as I,m sure he might have fallen again or even have had another visit from his “friends”or he may even have started up on the whiskey again. It just never ceases to amaze me that when people like Albert need help the most, the appropriate agencies only work day light hours Monday to Friday. Everything falls back onto A/E.

I hope Albert got some sleep! 

* Life-Line…an alarm system linked to a regional control centre that can be contacted by pulling a cord or pressing a button.  


Strike a Light…!!!

January 11, 2007

Oxygen and Fire are a dangerous mix…thank God for stupid people!

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Daftest job of the day…called to a not too elderly woman on 24 hour oxygen at home. She was sat in her armchair with her oxygen mask on set at 2 litres to help with her chronic respiratory condition.

The lady thought it would be a good idea to have a cigarette…whilst still on the oxygen!

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Result…one explosion leading to facial burns and burns to the two fingers holding what was left of the cigarette!

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She wont be doing that again…! She survived albeit with a new tan!

 


What Would You Really Like To Do…?

January 10, 2007

Having read fellow colleagues blogs about the misuse of the 999 system and the fun encounters with certain members of the public, I thought I would pass on my technique for chillin’ and keeping sane.

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I have studied Sports Medicine and know about “Black Box”techniques and other psychological methods for getting rid of bad experiences and promoting the good aspects of a particular sporting profession or style. And it does work.

But you cant beat a bit of imaginary mindless and senseless violence from time to time to get it properly off your chest. That is why I advocate the “Cheese-grater” method, developed in Switzerland by a Prof. Georgio Sweatknacker in the early 1870s.

You will need:

  1. The reason for your misery (encounter with chav/stupid person/neighbour etc)
  2. 5 minutes on your own
  3. A quiet area (away from the police or mental institutes)
  4. A fertile imagination (drug/alcohol induced does not count)
  5. Alarm clock to wake you up and bring you back to reality. (Health & Safety)

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For example: A 999 time-waster has rung to ask for help in locating trousers/remote control/Santa Claus or has fallen over 8 weeks ago and now feels that at 0430 in the morning they should get someone to look at their nose!

Close your eyes….and relax…let your thoughts drift away through the window of your mind…I said relax you numbnuts!…concentrate on the noises outside the window of the room you are in…pick one noise and focus on that one sound…focus…focus…focus…

Now think of that reason you want to display mindless violence against…and go for it…………!!!

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Here is my technique in full…

  1. Capture the source of your misery…ie chav.
  2. Strap their leg/legs to a washable kitchen table
  3. Expose the lower/upper leg/legs
  4. Take one rusty cheese-grater
  5. Grate through the skin and soft tissue down to the tibia (or femur)
  6. Take one broken drill bit covered in tramps excrement
  7. Drill through to the marrow…slowly
  8. Suction out the bone marrow with a sharp ended catheter
  9. Syringe into the tibia/femur Hydrochloric Acid
  10. Stand back and admire your handiwork. 

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Good Effort with Cheese-grater…

Always works for me.

What would YOU do…?

Next week:  Kingmagics Top Tips for Unwanted House Guests!


Teaching Them Bad Habits…!!!

January 9, 2007

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Started my nights and so far its been the usual mix of urgent admissions with chest infections, emergencies with falls at home, falls in the pub, assault with a baseball bat and a transfer.

One of the falls in a pub was to a 14 year old male. On arrival scene we made our way into the pub to be greeted by a throng of kids ranging from nappie age to late teens. Our patient was lying on the floor and appeared to be in agony. About four feet away from us were kids  playing on the pub pool table.

Casting a wary eye around our surroundings (was this a parallel universe with Bugsy Malone?) we could just make out some adults drinking at the bar. One came over and started shouting that the young lad on the floor had broken his leg! Before we could ask any questions we were interupted by a woman who was shouting that the young lad was putting it on! This was mum & dad!

My crewmate tried to speak to the patient but the shouting between mum and dad was getting louder and louder. I found myself acting as referee and imagined myself to be Jeremy Kyle…”theres two sides to every story.”  I was starring in my own chav reality show! Things were quickly getting out of hand with argument and counter argument being thrown around. (I wondered when the tables and chairs would be next?)

To change the subject I asked what the occasion was, to which I was told that it was a kids birthday party…a four year olds! In a pub! All the adults appeared to be worse for wear. The birthday boy was stood next to me…all 2 foot and a peanut of him. Holding his pool cue and looking at us with suspicious eyes. He was dressed in the chav uniform…trainers, trackie bottoms and football shirt but no no baseball cap. He was however wearing a gold chain that Mr. T would have been proud of.

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We managed to extricate ourselves and the patient from the pub to the truck and transported him to the A/E. With mum giving it loads about the doctors in A/E not giving a stuff about her son last year when he fell off a moped!

The thing that sticks in my mind is that these so called adults were showing their offspring how to behave…ie get drunk, shout and bawl and generally aim low in life and they still fail to attain that target!

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Shall we just surrender now?


Belt Kit…Good or Bad?…

January 8, 2007

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Belt Kit for Every Occasion…

I,ve noticed a lot of new larkers coming into the service fresh from training school are looking a bit like Officer Tackleberry from Police Academy.

I,m all for enthusiasm and I remember when I first started I always carried a nail punch in my caz box just in case I needed to get through that reinforced window. (Joking.)

Now after the passage of time and gaining experience all I carry are my Tuffcut shears (small, one pair for the use of), pentorch, stethoscope (small size which fits in my side leg trouser pocket), tourniquet and a black pen.

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All the other kit is either in the big green bag or on the truck or RRV/RFU.

What useless pieces of kit have you seen people carrying?  And what one piece of kit would you like to see issued to all stretcher monkeys?

 


One Lump or Two…?

January 8, 2007

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Saturday night brought me back into the Big City to do a shift on the Foxtrot-Oscar RRV. This is a Rapid Response Vehicle crewed by myself and a Police Officer for 8 hours of fun filled shenanighans with members of the public.

It started off badly. The vehicle I was to use would not start…it refused to fire up. Even with my soft words of encouragement…”come on you f*&<ing useless piece of s>&t!” I was more hacked off because I had just completed a full vehicle kit check…monitors, gases, drugs, dressings, forms, safety gear and all the other equipment which most of the nights customers probaly would not need.

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Our first vehicle…

Eventually it fired up and coughed & spluttered into life like some bronchitic patient having his first cig on a cold morning. Now I just had make it to the Police station and pick up my mate for the shift. Having arrived at the police station and located my Police crew mate we went back out to the vehicle…an old 4 x 4 that had seen better days. We jumped into the car and called our relative control rooms.

I keyed the engine expecting it to roar into life announcing to the world that we were on a mission, we were ready to take on all comers. We had the kit, we had the knowledge, we had the vehicle, we had both our controls chomping at the bit ready to assign us jobs…we just didnt have lift off!   “B>@#%&<d car!”  It just would not start and the sound of the engine turning over yet not catching sounded more like maniacal laughter resounding all around the car park of the Police station!

Eventually we were picked up and driven to another ambulance station to pick up a spare RRV. A newer Volvo, more agile, more poke, more lights and sirens than a Ambulance Trade Convention. This car was better, although still not exactly the “mutts nuts” we settled for the “badgers nadgers.” Now it was time to meet our public! Oh joy!! 

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What we really need…

Every single job was drink related…(our primary mission is to deal with drink related incidents and assaults and so free up more ambulances for the more serious calls)…and ranged from the usual booze fuelled fights that occur in every city and town centre on a weekend, to the more sinister assaults that were premeditated.

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The usual tally of wounds/lumps & bumps included black eyes, split lips, bruises to the head, grazes to the body and a possible concussion after being hit full on with a housebrick to the forehead. A couple of jobs stood out due to the nastiness of the assaults.

The first was an unprovoked attack on a young lad who was walking his girlfriend home. A car stopped and three scroats jumped out and gave the young lad a severe beating resulting in a nasty mouth injury which was going to require surgery. I gave due credit to this lad as he was more concerned about his girlfriend and seemed to take it all in his stride. Not a case of false bravado I just think he displayed a confidence beyond his years.

The second nasty incident near to the end of the shift. Again another young lad had been beaten. Only this time he had been thrown from a moving car and then the car had turned around and tried to run him over! Luckily he suffered relatively minor facial injuries although the amount of blood on his face, clothes and the road would have indicated otherwise to someone outside of the job.

Our last job was to a “house fire, persons reported!” in the wee hours of sunday morning. The classic job…back home from the pub, chip pan on, fall asleep and hey presto…instant bonfire night in the comfort of your own home! He was brought out by the fire brigade non the worse for his little expedition into Dantes Inferno.

All in all it was a relatively quiet night for us…8 jobs all sorted out and no-one died…thank God!

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