Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I'm sorry to moan, but...

I'm not the sort to moan, as regular readers are well aware, I hope. But, this morning, I just need to.

It's six am. I'm pretty much asleep, having only got in from work at 1am. "Ring, ring!" Am I available, crew request to a man who has electrocuted himself with a circular saw while up a ladder, has fallen and sustained a nasty leg injury.

Bleary eyed, I get up and kiss Mrs RRD goodbye, and find myself sitting in my car, dressed in my jump suit, address programmed in to the sat nav.

The journey was complicated by me driving past an important turning en route (must remember to activate the sound on the sat nav), which added a couple of minutes to the travel time. In cases of electrocution, like many other injuries, time is of the essence, and I mentally kick myself for my error.

I arrive to find two ambulances (never a good omen), and a patient lying motionless (another bad 'un) on the ground. I grab my kit from the boot and rush over, calling the HEMS desk to let them know I have arrived safe and sound (they do worry so).

He's about 30, looking up at me with a big grin on his face. Eh? I don't usually get grins, especially from my pre-hospital patients. And I notice, in his left hand, the mouthpiece of an Entanox (laughing gas) cylinder.

"What's occuring?" I ask the waiting crowd of ambulance paras and techs (remember, two ambulances.)

The story is as follows: Chap is cutting branches of a tree, comes down ladder with saw still running(!) and slips on last step. Saw falls from hand, striking left knee.

So, he has a deep laceration to his left knee. He is fully conscious, if a little happy from the laughing gas and morphine he has been given. He has a good pulse and blood pressure, and is not bleeding significantly. So, dear readers, what am I doing here?

"So, folks," I ask, "What do you need from me?" Blank looks. "We didn't think you were available." Hmmm. I ascertain that they had indeed requested HEMS or a BASICS doctor, but cannot find out why. No-one seems to know.

Oh well, let's just get on with it. I help log roll the patient on to a spinal board, and help lift the man on to the ambulance stretcher. Job done, I slip back in to the car, and look with dismay at the sat nav traffic display. Not good news, considering I need to be in work in an hour, and haven't had a shower yet...

Now, I've never had a problem with being tasked by Ambulance Control to a job based on history, only to find that the job is not as given. I also have no problem with crews requesting my attendance to assist with a patient, even if there's not much I need to do, apart from provide reassurance that they are doing everything the patient needs. But I do get miffed when a crew requests, and then hasn't got a clue why they did.

Let the flaming begin...


  1. You have a right be miffed! BASICS is something I really really want to do if I ever get into and through medical school, id not be a happy chappy on 5 hours sleep getting called out for a cut leg!

    Hopefully you mentioned it to the crew, before someone gets hurt responding to a similar call!

  2. Fair enough, from an ambulance man's prospective I may have called out for doctor assistance early on if it looked nasty, and then cancel them down if not needed, but I can understand your annoyance.

  3. Yeah, very confused as to why you were requested for this. There were 2 paramedics on scene so Morphine/fluids etc would be available. If arterial bleeding present then a combat application tourniquet put on and a heavy right foot/loads of diesel to hospital.