Rocking up to the entrance to A/E we joined the rest of the ‘Ambulance Armada’ parked under the canopy. (We must have historical Naval connections as the press always say that ‘the patient was ferried to hospital!’) Unloading our newest customer on the stretcher we made our way towards the automatic doors. Even before we entered the ‘Temple of Doom’ the shouts from inside could be heard loud and clear.
As we step inside the A/E department we both take a double look to check that we are in the right building. There are Police everywhere. Two officers are wrestling with a ‘patient’ trying to get him to the floor. The ‘patient’ does not want to play and he is giving a good account of himself probably due to the copious amounts of alcohol and/or drugs in his system. Another ‘Two Can Van Damme’ merchant!
Further down the corridor four officers are waiting outside an examination room for the go ahead from officers already inside to enter and restrain another unhappy ‘patient’. There’s not much room in the cubicles so two officers have had to dart in and grab the reluctant participant of a normal life before he trashes the place. The doctors and nurses go about their duties as normal hardly giving a second glance.
To our far left another Police officer with a PCSO are in earnest negotiation with what is colloquially termed a ‘gobshite’! He is kicking off because the security guard had asked him not to smoke and could not believe that he had to abide by the hospital rules on smoking. In fact he could not believe that he had to abide by any rules at all!
Seeing a spare trolley we place our patient onto it. She is in her seventies and looking frail after a fall at home where she had laid on the cold floor for several hours until found by relatives. After checking her over and discovering the possibility that she had a fractured hip, we spent the rest of the time with her trying to allay her fears about going into hospital. Giving her bags of reassurance and explaining the routine process of these things put her mind greatly at ease.
To her left on another trolley is a scrawny woman with scrawny arms and legs. She stinks! The stink of ulcers and burst abscesses through too much IV drug abuse. At least she is quiet. On the right is a trolley containing the hulk of a man who has been battered in a fight in which he had come off worse. Both eyes were blackened, top lip split and his nose pointed the wrong way! He is getting more and more agitated as he believes he should be seen right now, this minute, he pays his taxes!
A scream goes up! Followed by the clattering of chairs and trolleys as the ‘reluctant one’ comes staggering out of the cubicle with various Police officers attached to him. ‘Just drop him!’ I think to myself. Meanwhile the tag team Police near the entrance have got their man on the floor at last and are now attempting to cuff him. He resists more forcefully and one officer goes for his CS spray. ‘No, not in the department!’shouts an observant receptionist. CS gas hangs around for ages in enclosed spaces. Option 2 then…forearm across the back of the neck and knee in the small of his back with good use of weight. His partner grabs the legs and fold them back whilst pulling hard enough to snap him like a Christmas cracker!
Suddenly more Police come through the other entrance and split up into two teams. Three go to the officer and PCSO who are trying to extract their ‘customer’ from under the metal and plastic seating. Two others run past us and wade into the trussed up Christmas cracker on the floor. For a couple of minutes all that can be heard are the scuffs of boots on floor as purchase and grip is sought to gain the upper hand. Muffled grunts and groans and heavy breathing can be heard reminiscent of some 1970s low budget porn film. (According to my dad!)
And in the middle of all this chaos there are still real patients, with real complaints and illnesses who look on thinking where the hell are they? What has happened to society to make A/E a regular battleground? There is a running theme in all these close quarter battles and that’s alcohol coupled with a big dose of serious attitude problems!
My solution…‘Go in hard, go in fast and dont take any crap!’ In an ideal world the hospital could contract SWAB Team 6 for a couple of lads to use their particular skills in Diplomatic Enforcement And Tactical Healthcare or ‘DEATH’ as it is known. Somehow I don’t think that will happen and these events will continue and get worse with someone eventually being killed in the department. And the doctors and nurses and us will carry on as its becoming the norm rather than the exception.