Back Door Blues…!


Another weekend night shift…and another journey into the surreal world of drink, violence and total befuddlement of the masses! Only this night shift played out like a scene from a horror B movie. Let me sketch the outline for you…

In  cities and towns up and down the length and breadth of Great Britain there is usually one main road, one street, one square that channels the hoards of drinkers and revellers into a selection of drinking emporiums and bars. One main meeting place where like-minded souls intent on alcohol induced oblivion come together.

Early into the shift we were on our third foray into the battle ground of ‘Bottle Street’ in the city centre. Turning into the street it looked like we had happened upon a ‘Majax’ (ambulance speak for a major accident). As far as the eye could see it was a mass of blue lights…ambulances and Police personnel carriers were parked in the road, on pavements and crawling slowly through the throng of short skirted women and T shirted males.

Our call was to a ‘female collapsed’ in the street. Eventually, after carefully negotiating staggering, swaying people and others oblivious to the big yellow truck with the flashing blue lights,  we find our patient. She is laid on the pavement with her skirt around her waist, her hair slicked back with fresh vomit and black mascara covering her face like some sort of commando. Her friends are all busy on mobiles still swiggging from small bottles of gin or vodka.

‘Her drinks bin spiked mate!’ shouts one male friend into my ear. Looking at our patient and her friends I shudder…and pull my collar up further against the biting cold wind. The fashion seems to be minimal clothing, maximum alcohol and a distinct lack of common sense. ‘So how much has she had to drink?’ I ask her friends. I know the answer before it is even uttered….‘Shes only had a few!’  It’s always the same, just a few drinks…just a few in each pub…this is on top of the bottle of wine and / or bottle of spirits before leaving home!

We lift her onto the stretcher and place her into the truck. Pulse, BP, blood sugars and levels of consciousness are checked and then we motor off to A/E. Oh how the nurses are going to love us bringing in another drunk female…as if its our fault that she is drunk! We arrive at A/E and add our patient to all the other drink related cases queuing up on trolleys. After a brief catch up with colleagues and tidying the back of our truck we press ‘Clear’. Within seconds the MDT starts squawking and we are off again…back to the city centre and ‘Bottle Street’.

Once again we turn into the street, this time we are alone. No other blue lights can be seen and the masses seemed to have thinned out a little…not a lot but a little. And once again we find a ‘female collapsed’ ….what a surprise. And once again we pour her into the truck, do the baseline obs and prepare for egress to A/E. Only theres a problem….the back doors will not close on the ambulance!

Whilst my crew mate tends to our latest customer I try all manner of Jedi manoeuvres to release the door from the holding catch and to close it. Suddenly my mate calls out ‘Behind you!’  Turning quickly round I am confronted by the sight of a male covered in blood. Swaying unsteadily on his feet he tries to get past me and into the truck. ‘Whoa fella! Where you going then?’ Ignoring me he grabs the door and tries to haul himself in. Grabbing his hand I prise his fingers off the door and gently spin him round and push him away from the vehicle.

I now notice that the street has filled up again and a swarm of people seem to be making a bee line for us. Maybe they think we are a mobile discotheque with our blue flashing lights and the welcoming glow emanating from within the back of the truck. Like a scene from a zombie movie they move steadily and inexorably towards us. A shout goes up followed by the bump of a coppers helmet as it bounces across the road. Two coppers are engaged in a wrestling match with one of the zombies near to us.

‘Get the door f*****g shut and go!’ yells my mate. I pull at the door again and again whilst trying to fend off a couple of zombies muttering ‘Taxi…home…club…home…’  With one last heave I manage to release the back door by ripping off the retaining pin at the back. Slamming it shut I make my way to the cab and pull one of the zombies out who has managed to climb into the driver’s seat. He hits the deck in a drunken sprawl. Keys in ignition and hitting the central locking I fire the truck up and pull away at speed.

In the wing mirrors I see the receding figures of zombies, arms outstretched behind us. Another typical night shift ends with a change of truck at base after numerous door closing practice! 

10 Responses to Back Door Blues…!

  1. Rach says:

    I think this is a case for SWAB Team 6, imagine the fun you could have with all those zombies…stay safe out there hun!..xx

  2. LC says:


    Nah, when ambos/coppers have to attend “Zombie attack in Pisshead Avenue” dont waste resources on SWAB 6.

    Just borrow a steamroller from a road crew and drive up and down the centre of the road a few times. Afterwards run the road paver along the it and you have a nice new road for the next nights zombie horde.

    Plus those potholes in the road _finally_ get fixed with an “organic, biodegradable, 100% natural filler”.

  3. tom gane says:

    Okay. I am an old git, and I served some years ago. But for this level of madness, I could never be paid enough.

    As a father, and grandfather, I can assure you this is less than appealing. My daughters, and in time perhaps my granddaughter will say to me ‘if it was good enough for you, then it is good enough for me.’

    I was when I was in the service an absolute p%%s head. Only when I joined the Ambulance Service did I control my actions, and think before I did something.

    The imagery is tragic, but yet more evidence of broken Britain. My question is given this Government, and it’s morals where do I get the moral authority to say no more.

    Sorry, it is a bit of a rant but I always worry about access to a vehicle these days. Must be my age?

  4. joan ludbrook says:

    Happy xmas pp to you and your family xx

  5. kingmagic says:

    Rach…thanks, take care x

    LC…some good thoughts there, not sure if my management would take it on board?

    tom gane…I’m ex forces too and got shitfaced many a time but still got up at dark o clock in the morning and went on 5, 8 and 10 mile runs. And I did’nt beat anyone up unless someone started on me. Since leaving the mob I still enjoy a drink and still manage to make my own way home.

    joan ludbrook…thanks Joan, Happy Christmas to you and yours. x

  6. MMcM says:

    That is an awesome story. Though probably less awesome in the moment. As an aspiring Medic in the states, your story makes me both apprehensive and excited to get into the fray.

    Happy new year!

  7. Eileen says:

    It’s not just broken Britain – it’s beginning to happen all across Europe, although they are about 20 years or so behind. It’s not quite as bad for the blue lights brigade because they (the drunks) would get the bill for the journey which is a bit of a put off. But in Germany, at least, the teenage babies ****ed out of their minds are being admitted to paediatric units for care until they are sobered up, lying alongside real little patients, not just in A&E. And I find that REALLY disgusting. Not that the situation in Britain isn’t equally appalling.

  8. Cheesy says:

    Is it wrong that when I saw the first picture in this post I was initially dismayed at the idiotic state people get into. When I looked more closely though I thought mmmm, nice boots…?

  9. michael says:

    Yoiks! Scarry stuff. Over here in we have the same problems but with more drugs and guns…

  10. chj says:

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