Nighty, Nighty Nights…!!!

November 26, 2007

  

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Just finished another set of nights! Usual jobs which was a mixed bag of minor medical ailments, UTIs (urinary tract infections) lots of chest infections, a house fire (more of in a later post) lots of alcohol induced injuries and a f*****g swollen knee!

I have patience…bags of it. But when you are tired and hungry and you get called on three 9s to a male in his mid twenties with a two day history of a swollen knee at daft o clock in the morning….

What was his reasoning behind calling us?……he could not sleep knowing that it would still be painful in the morning! He had twisted his knee whilst playing football two days ago. He had been to the local hospital for assessment, X rays etc after seeing his own GP. There was no fracture and it was diagnosed as ligament /soft tissue injury.

Advice was given by the hospital to RICE. Rest/Ice/Compression/Elevation and take paracetamols and anti-inflammatories over the week. Sound advice…..

After reassuring him and telling him to keep off his feet instead of going round the bars drinking which he had done tonight, we left him. We even mentioned that yes it was a good idea to take the pain killers and brufen which he had not been doing! Even though we had diplomatically said to him that it was an inappropriate call and that he should heed the advice of the hospital, he still could not see it!

Thick…stupid…ignorant…arrogant…he did not appear to be any of these. But in his mind, as in a lot of peoples today, he genuinely thought that his knee was a medical emergency and that the docs and nurses at A/E would be delighted to see him and treat him with love and shower him with affection….I think not matey!

Paperwork signed and cleared on scene ready for the next job……

…..marvellous!

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More on Zero Tolerance…!!!

November 20, 2007

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Jo kindly commented on my last post and provided a report on a serious incident in the South West of the UK.

These incidents seem to be escalating in their numbers and in their violence.

From BBC 24  Monday, 17 September 2007, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK

999 crew was attacked at incident

Members of an ambulance crew who attended a fatal stabbing in Bristol were abused and attacked by an angry crowd of about 100 people.

Sarah Hodierne and Wayne Evans were the first emergency services on the scene at the Criterion pub on Sunday morning.

When the ambulance arrived Ms Hodierne said she was pulled out by her hair as people shouted and swore.

Ms Hodierne then tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Mohamoud Muse Hassan, who had been stabbed in the neck.

Vehicle attacked

Ms Hodierne said: “I was just doing my job but I was really frightened.

“The crowd opened the ambulance door and pulled me out by my hair – shouting, swearing and threatening me – there were just so many of them. It was very, very stressful.”

Mr Evans added: “Mr Hassan was in cardiac arrest and even as we got him in the ambulance they were kicking the vehicle and tried to put in the window.”

Chris Hewett, of Great Western Ambulance Service, said: “It was a very difficult and volatile situation. The crowd were jostling them and even pulling Sarah’s hair. Despite this they kept calm and did what they could for the patient.”

Sergeant Lee George, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “The ambulance crew were surrounded as they tried to administer first aid and many of the bystanders were intimidating them and trying to obstruct them.

“They were very brave to carry on in such extreme circumstances. It was the worst job I have been to in 14 years of police service.”

A 22-year-old man and 16-year-old girl have been arrested following the fatal stabbing.

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And I bet that the Ambulance Crew were not issued with stab proof vests either. With all the safe guards in place that we try to adhere to in making our selves safe, sometimes we will find ourselves in a frightening situation. Even with Police on scene it can still be quite daunting and obviously dangerous.

My sympathies go out to the family and friends of the deceased man. But I also hope that the crew were given support for their actions and received recognition for their bravery.

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And another report from Uphilldowndale

BBC 24  Monday, 18 June 2007, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK

Ambulance is attacked in call out

An ambulance has been attacked outside a nightclub while paramedics tried to treat a man with a serious head injury.

As the crew tended to the man in the ambulance, in Greater Manchester, a crowd of men who had been beating him broke a window and rocked the van.

The victim, a 20-year-old man, had been punched in the face in the Bamboo nightclub in Hazel Grove, in the early hours of Sunday.

He punched the attacker back and was then set upon by about 15 others.

As the man left the club he was followed by a gang who continued to kick and punch him about the body and face outside on Commercial Road.

Stable condition

He was lying in the road when the ambulance from Buxton, Derbyshire arrived, and paramedics began treating him inside the van when they came under fire from the mob.

The man was taken to Stepping Hill Hospital with a serious head injury, where he remains in a stable condition.

Det Insp Terry Sweeney from Stockport CID said: “This was an extremely violent attack by a group of men who clearly out numbered their victim.

“The fact that these men then continued to try and attack the victim when paramedics were trying to treat him is unacceptable.

“Paramedics are here to save lives and it is unbelievable that people would put them under attack when they are simply trying to do their job.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which happened at about 0150 BST.

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These are some of the incidents that get reported. I just hope that it does not become the norm for society to think that this is acceptable.


Zero Tolerance on Violence…!!!

November 19, 2007

  

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I,ve been doing this job for twenty years now. Over the years there has been a steady decline in society with regards to respect for anything or anyone and a steady increase in the amount and degree of violence directed towards us in the Ambulance Service. And it is getting worse! It is unfortunately becoming the “norm” and we in the Ambulance Service find ourselves more and more having to protect ourselves against people who want to hurt us.

All over the United Kingdom, incidents are being reported on a daily basis of violence against Ambulance staff. These are the incidents that bother to get reported as some Services have a reporting system that would make stealing the Crown Jewels a doddle! Measures differ from area to area on dealing with this growing problem of violence.

Conflict Resolution training is one approach. A recent comment from “Ambusam” detailing a particularly frightening incident highlights the problem. We have all had to deal with irate people shouting at us to move the truck because they need to get out, and we have managed to defuse the situation most of the time. But its the mind set, the mentality of these people which is worrying. If they think that its okay to verbally abuse and physically bully us then it seems that we are fair game for anyone to have a go.

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Crew Attacked..click on pic

There have been recent calls for stab vests to be issued as standard PPE (personal protective equipment) to all Ambulance Service front line Paramedics and Technicians. This, I for one, whole heartedly agree with. I want to feel safer until the management and the government take proper notice of what is happening in this country. There is a growing culture of fear within the Ambulance Service, that we are being sent to jobs without proper updates and not getting back up from our controls when we disappear off the system for x amount of time.

Just so long as we hit the great God ORCON times.

We need a change in the culture within our society. People need to be aware of the consequences of their actions. That means that they will go to prison if they are caught assaulting Ambulance/Police/Fire/Nurses etc. And we need our managers to look after us not thinking about the possibilities of the assailant making a complaint against the Ambulance Service.

Fairly recently I attended a male collapsed in the street. It was well past midnight on a dark stretch of road with no one else around. My crew-mate and myself approached the male who was laid out face down on the wet pavement. At this time we did not know if he had been assaulted or was drunk or was indeed suffering from some form of illness. On carefully looking at the scene I spoke to him and gently shook his shoulder…”Hello, are you okay? Can you speak to me?”

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One eye opened…looked at me…then closed again. The other eye opened…looked at me again…and that closed also. Then both eyes opened…looked at me…and he muttered “I,m going to f*****g kill you!” Using my skills of power and persuasion and utilising empathy and patience, I tried to pacify him. No chance! Not a hope! This guy was on a mission to kill. As he gradually stumbled to his feet and rose above me I started back tracking to stay out of reach. Again he kept saying that he was going to kill me.

Soon I had nowhere left to go except to step into the road. Thats when he took a swing at me. And thats when he hit the deck! I have not been put on this earth to be any-ones punch bag. Years ago I kept fit by doing a fair bit of martial arts including karate and judo. This was the first time in a lot of years that I had to use it to defend myself. I had thrown him to the floor and got him in an arm lock. My crew-mate was on the radio asking for Police backup. He was eventually arrested and we made our way back to station to do the paperwork.

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My next shift on duty I was called in by one of my managers and was asked if I,d hurt him when I defended myself! At no time was I asked if I was okay! I also played down the defence angle as I got the impression that I was heading for a disciplinary! Thats how it is sometimes in the Ambulance Service…we are wrong, and mangers will look for any excuse to stick us on a disciplinary!

The Ambulance Service needs :

  • stab vests
  • proper support from management
  • stiffer sentencing from the courts
  • properly working radios and mobiles
  • better self defence training

Zero Tolerance

Its not just a question of

…”if one of us dies…its when?”


Upstairs for Thinking, Downstairs for Dancing…!

November 14, 2007

Saw this on Theos site and recognised my uncle! He told us he was working as a waiter in a Tea Shop!


Murderous Thoughts…!!!

November 14, 2007

Every now and then in Public Services such as the Ambulance Service, the Police and the Fire Brigade there comes a job where patience is tested. It is not only tested but it is stretched. It is also dragged kicking and screaming away from your compassionate side. In short, patience gets a damn good kicking and suffers from severe bruising for a lonnnggggg time!

Now they do say that “Patience is a virtue”.Some people have more patience than others. For some it is none existent for any number of reasons which may stem from a sociological, psychological or pathological dislike or aversion to things not going their way. Patience is like common sense…it is hard to quantify and difficult to measure from one human being to another.

But in the Emergency Services we can call upon bucket loads of the stuff. Patience, having empathy, listening and a core belief in doing the best you can to help someone are all skills which are either inherent, taught or learnt through experience. It is the difference sometimes between life and death. That extra few seconds or minutes can help resolve a difficult situation…..When it is appropriate!  

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It is night time. Black skies filled with dark clouds shielding any light from the stars in the heavens.

It is late…or is it early? 2 o clock in the morning. I wish I was tucked up in my bed.

It is cold. No. Not cold, it is freezing! The icy grip of Jack Frost is taking hold of my bones and causing me to shiver.

It is wet. It is pouring down with icy rain. I can feel it finding its way between my jacket collar and my neck!

We had just arrived at an address in the city. Parking the truck behind the already on scene police car we gingerly alight from the cab trying to avoid the huge puddles of water with their usual assortment of used condoms, empty take away cartons and human waste. We walk over to the two police officers who stand there looking like two drowned rats!

The call has come in that a female has been assaulted. At the entrance to the address stands a door that has seen a lot of action recently. It resembles a patchwork quilt made of wood due to the many times it has been repaired through previous encounters with boots, bricks and the occasional Police door opener. There is just one door to this address, a converted building housing a collection of flats.

The Police have been talking to the woman on her mobile. She is inside the property. Her assailant has long gone. But she is not making a lot of sense. She cannot come to the door…is she injured?…is she afraid?…has she been locked in elsewhere in the flats?…No. A big fat double NO…with a generous helping of NO relish! She is drunk, mullered, hammered, rat arsed! This we know because this woman is one of our many frequent flyers!

We all stand around outside hunching our shoulders into our jackets trying to make ourselves a smaller target for the incessant rain that is lashing down upon us. All we want to do is get inside where it will be dry, and hopefully warm and sort out this situation. Its now been approximately ten minutes and we still maintain our professionalism and duty of care as we all know that one day one of the many frequent flyers will turn out to be a genuine call!

All the while I can hear the police officer talking to her and letting her know that we will be helping her shortly. Suddenly I catch the end of the conversation…but its not from the officers mobile…its from the other side of the front door! Tentatively I crouch down and peer through the letter box pushing my fingers through the bristles of the draught excluder. It is dark in the hallway but very soon I manage to see our caller…sat in a chair in front of a nice warm fire!

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The chair is surrounded by empty cans of beer and pizza boxes.

We are now taking turns at shouting through the letter box to encourage her to open the front door. Each one of us employs a different tack to our requests. The casual laid back approach is a none starter. The logical reasoning and intelligent argument approach also falls on death ears. The urgent imploring and insistence on checking out her possible injuries meets with a garbled alcoholic response. Our last approach uses the age old technique of yelling as loudly as possible in an attempt to wake others in the flats. No effect……

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I ask the police officers if they are Taser trained? I put forward the notion of firing a Taser through the letter box and hitting our caller then dragging her to the door! This idea is greeted with appreciative nods and momentary serious consideration. But we all know that it would not go down too well with our bosses. Oh well..just an idea. 

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Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Police officers bring out the big red door opener. One! Two! Three hits later and the door gives way…we are in!!! The darkness of the hallway is tinged with a warm reddy glow from the fire where our caller is sat. The water is cascading off our jackets as we shake the rain from us. Within an instant the warmth of the fire begins to dry our souls and the murderous adrenaline coursing through our veins is replaced with concern.

After a brief check of our caller for any injuries she may have sustained from the alleged assault over 10 hours ago I let the Police officers began their task of gaining the facts. She is not injured…she has not been assaulted…she has run out of credit on her mobile…she wants someone to contact Social Services so she can get a different flat!

Murderous thoughts once again replace the concern for our caller. We stand there in the semi gloom hovering over her. There is a glint in our eyes. It is that glint of primeval instinct, of dark thoughts, of murderous intention. Could we get away with disposing of the body? Would our unspoken thoughts secure a bond of silence and loyalty between us …?

We leave our caller with the fire keeping her warm. Only this time she will have a draught blowing in from the street through the remains of the front door! Between gritted teeth we bid our farewells and step back out into the dark, freezing rain lashed night. With a knowing nod we jump into our respective vehicles and drive off into the night…each one of us dwelling on the possibilities of murder………

We could have got rid of the body………..could,nt we?


A Truely Serious Condition…!!!

November 12, 2007

One of the most distressing parts of the job…!!!

How I am feeling at the moment…and I,m back on nights…bugger!

Tom Reynolds is also feeling the same over at Random Acts of Reality.


What We Once Were…?

November 2, 2007

I have not seen this for years and it made me laugh out loud and brought back memories of how the Ambulance Service was once perceived.

Having said that I have been reliably informed that most some new Doctors still regard us in this light!


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