Saturday, 16 July 2011


I lead a surreal existence, I think to myself at 04:45, lying next to MrsRRD, sleeping soundly.  Only an hour ago I was asleep too, after a long day at work, and a relaxing(!) evening with the family.  And yet, 45 minutes ago I was in a dingy alleyway, cutting across a man's sternum in a vain attempt to save his life after he had been stabbed in a robbery gone so fatally wrong. 5 minutes after that I was holding his heart in my hand, stitching up the wound in the left ventricle, knowing that no amount of surgery was going to save him.

And now, only 30 minutes after I have pronounced life extinct, I am back in bed, chasing sleep once again, knowing that, for now at least, it will be just beyond my reach. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011


The car is on its roof, having collided with another vehicle and gone off the road, onto a tree. Three youngsters are lying on the ground around the car, one trapped by his legs, all shouting out, but it is the fourth that holds all our attention. He is quiet and almost still, perhaps a flicker of one arm, trapped by the wreckage and the tree.

We can't get to him. His left arm is accessible, and a paramedic has already cannulated him. His head is pressed against the door, and we can't get to his airway. The dashboard has come forward, and is tight against his chest. We watch his chest rise and fall, slower and slower. There is no way to get him out. We will need to roll the car over if we have any chance at all to extricate him, and we can't do that at the moment, because of the chap whose legs are still entwined in the wreckage.

There is nothing we can do, except watch.

His breathing slows.


Saturday, 9 July 2011


I told one of my best friends that I was planning to do the Brands Hatch Cyclothon in September.  After he picked himself up off the floor, he explained the humour of the situation.  You see, Brands Hatch is not the flattest of race-tracks.  In fact, it's rather hilly.  My friend showed me a youtube video of the track.  It's very scary.

And now he's thrown me a challenge: get round the track once without getting off my bike, and he will donate £100 towards BASICS.  That seems worth it.  Not so bad, really.  I accepted the challenge, and went out on my bike to find some suitable hills to ride up.  I found one.  I couldn't get up it.  Hmmm.  Think I need some more practice.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


It's late, as usual.  I am on my way back home, after having been called in for a paediatric trauma - the patient, a 13 year old boy, was bigger than me, and virtually unharmed.  I am driving along the motorway, looking forward to bed, when I see, right in front of me in the fast and middle lanes, two cars, both stationary, one pointing the wrong way.  Brakes, swerve, stop.  I can see one of the drivers, but the other car, the one with it's bonnet towards me, is empty.

I flick my blue lights on, park appropriately to warn other drivers, and get out.  I don my flight suit, so that I am safe, and approach the driver.  He is unharmed, somewhat shaken, and rather worried about his cargo of china that he has in his car.  I help him across the motorway, where the other driver is sitting on the hard shoulder, unharmed but somewhat shaken.

I call 999 and let the police know what has happened, and tell them that I am in a blue-light vehicle, and that I have parked appropriately, in order that other drivers can see.  The police officer I am speaking to tells me that is inappropriate, and that, as long as there are no injured parties, I should continue on my journey.  I think this is somewhat odd, but decide to do as I am told.

Making my way back across the motorway, I watch in horror as a car hurtles towards to the accident scene at breakneck speed, swerving all over the road and coming to a very unsteady stop, mere inches from the cars.  I think about what might have happened had my blue lights not been visible, and know that I would have been called back.

I'm staying.