Today I had a rare treat; in fact to be honest it was a privilege. I was on my way home with RRD after a rare trip out together, without the RRDettes! His phone rang, not unusual in itself, but it is a colleague BASICS Doc, en route to a call, in far away town. A couple of trapped and unconscious patients, too many for him to deal with alone, can RRD assist? RRD calls into ambulance control, tells them he will run on the call & finds out more details. Car versus lorry, 2 people trapped & unconscious plus one other patient, Air Ambulance on scene, but no Doctor onboard.
We head for the motorway; heavy traffic greets us early on & I witness first hand the difficulties in getting through: the drivers who seem oblivious to the ‘heat seeking missile’ fast approaching in their rear view mirrors, lights & sirens blazing. The lorries, that move swiftly out the way, despite their size. As the cars part, I think of Moses parting the Red Sea! RRD heads for the hard shoulder and we cruise down steadily, through the dirt & rubbish on the road. Our passage blocked by stationary cars, we weave out into the clogged lanes. Finally we get through to our junction. We leave the motorway & speed up, soon we’re approaching a Police road block. We, unlike the other vehicles, get waved through. The roads are eerily quiet now; we approach another junction, another roadblock, another wave. Suddenly the road is filled with flashing lights, blue & red, there is a stillness I don’t expect.
RRD slows to a stop, a little way behind the helicopter, and we get out. I am handed the camera, for the BASICS–London website; to capture the scenes, the faces, to tell the story. He gets into the obligatory orange jumpsuit, grabs his heavy bag, his monitor and his helmet. He leaves my side and strides quickly forward, approaching the scene.
What lies ahead of him is a line of 2 fire tenders, two “ambos” and a crowd of uniformed personnel. Beyond, a car, the roof already pealed back, like a tin can, full of people, working together to extricate a victim.
I am suddenly struck by the collaboration of these professionals. So calm, so organised, no shouting, no running about, they all work as one. The teams don’t all know each other, nor do they usually all work together, but here they are, striving for one purpose. There are clearly those in lead roles, taking quiet control, guiding and overseeing, but everyone else is an integral part of an efficient team.
Suddenly the patient is removed from the car, clearly the most seriously injured of the three. She is smoothly & quickly transferred to a trolley where a cluster of emergency medics, paramedics, EMT’s, the helicopter crew & our two BASICS Docs all gather around, taking their part in saving this woman’s life.
We are so fortunate that we have such amazing emergency services; they are such an incredible group of dedicated and hard working people. So committed to supporting us all at our worst and most vulnerable.
I felt truly privileged to witness this today, so grateful to them all and those like them and so appreciative of their care.
Thank you all.