Making progress towards the scene we notice traffic backing up on the hill. Alternating the sirens between yelp/wail/whistle/bull horn/get out the way you moron we manage to squeeze into the gap between the couple of parked cars that have stopped at the incident. One of the cars was obliged to stop where it was due to the fact that there was a motorbike sticking out of the window!
Even though we were pulling into the small space as near to the car/bike, we were still being ‘flagged’ down by two bystanders. I think some bystanders must get a nervous condition at scenes of RTAs which compels them to wave continuously until the incident is cleared and swept up! “Yes, yes, we can see thank you very much!”
Alighting from the truck my colleague makes his way over to the RRV who, first on scene, has hold of the motorcyclists head providing cervical support. The biker is sat up, his helmet laying next to him in a non usable condition anymore. Nearby is the car that has ‘eaten’ his bike. The car driver is upset and crying thinking it is all her fault.
My crew mate speaks to the RRV pilot whilst I start getting the kit ready. Cervical collar, spine board, head-blocks, straps, stretcher, blankets. Once all the kit is assembled I trundle the rig off the lift and towards our patient. I notice he is pale…very pale. He is clammy…very clammy. But he is conscious and can tell us that his leg and both knees are killing him!
Taking control of the patients head from behind enables the RRV pilot to place a collar on him. Very carefully we lower the biker onto the hard backboard and secure him with the head-blocks and straps etc. We decide to do a more detailed examination in the back of the truck. To make best use of the straps we take his boots off before securing his feet in a figure of 8.
But upon removing his boots and socks…dogs within a hundred yards begin to howl, mothers clutch their children to their bosoms and birds flee from nearby trees. The smell is most foul…putrid…a mix of swamp gas and age old Gorgonzola cheese!!! Once in side the truck, the windows are opened as best as possible and the air con is switched to mach 5! Only then do the the ‘tuff-cuts’ come out and his clothing is cut away to reveal the extent of his injuries.
Everything appears okay. GCS of 15 (Glasgow Coma Score..15 being the best, 3 being the worst), blood pressure fine, pulse steady, colour returning nicely. All his other vitals are fine with a good clear chest and no rigidity in the abdomen. The only obvious injury he appears to have is a compound fracture of the left tib/fib (open break of the lower leg bones) but the bones have sneaked back into the safety of the skin!
My crew mate starts feeling for pulses to make sure there is no interruption in the blood supply below the site of fracture. “I’ll just check out any witnesses and get a clearer history.” And with that I jump out of the back of the truck. And get a lungful of clean air.
Looking at the condition of the car/bike it is amazing that he has only sustained, as far as we can tell at the moment, a broken leg! The car is written off and so too is the bike! The car driver calms down a little when I tell her that the biker is okay. She says that she was stationary on the other side of the brow of the hill when she heard a massive crash and she was showered with glass. Instinctively she turned around and saw a helmeted biker almost sat on the back seat!
I open the back door of the truck and ask my mate if hes ready to go? Suddenly I am taken back to my Army NBC training with CS gas in the gas chambers somewhere on Salisbury Plain. My eyes are stinging…! My nose is assailed with a smell most foul…! My skin feels as if a warm ghost has softly wafted past me in the dead of night…! A warm ghost that probably owned a cheese factory and probably met his demise after falling into a curdling vat…!
Wiping away the chemically induced tears and trying to breathe through my ankles I just about make out the shape of my crew mate…he is pale…very pale! He is clammy…very clammy! ”Are you okay?” I call out to him. With an almost imperceptible nod I just about see him through the yellowish air that seems to be emanating from the bikers ‘dancing gear’! Doors shut…I start the truck and off we go to A/E to sort the bikers injuries out.
En-route I happen to glance at a shop window and see in the reflection my crew mates mouth and nose trying to squeeze through the tiny gap in the side door window! He looks yellow…but that could be the tinted glass of the shop window! After depositing our biker in A/E we tidy up the back of the truck and leave all the doors and windows open to try and ‘vent’ the vehicle!
Later on we arrive back at A/E with another customer and the whole department smells…it reeks of gone off cheese! I have never dealt with any one whose feet stank so much in all my career! It has put me off pasta and Parmesan cheese for good!