Another Night in the Town
Another night on the First Aid post in BigCity city centre. This time I was at the event with NewDoc and Organiser, as well as a couple of other people I know from around the County. We were lucky, it was nearly just NewDoc and I (not that I’d complain too much 😉 1), which, all things considered, would have been hard work.
Organised and I walked to HQ together, to get a lift to the post. Ideally, this is the way it should work every time, as it means we all arrive at the same time, and those people who drive have a safe place to park up. unfortunately, it required someone qualified to drive the minibus, and these people are rare at the moment. This also means a relatively long walk from the train station to HQ. A walk that nearly took us half as much time again as it should have done. Thankfully, we got to HQ just in time, and met our lift.
This time around, there were members of the Organisation in Ambulance Control. This meant they knew exactly what was going on when we logged in, and we got jobs sent our way when they were appropriate (as in, needed a response, but not an ambulance). I discovered through this that we are considered more than First Responders, as they get automatic ambulance backup, but they wait for us to consider it necessary. I’m not sure if I should be pleased that we are trusted with this responsibility, or scared…
This time, we had enough people for two response teams, as well as two more to man the post. Along with our contacts in dispatch, this meant we received and responded to more 999 calls than we got people turning up at our door. Along with one partner or another, I responded to three casualties, one where we were called directly to the scene, and the other two received as emergency calls. The first was someone who had collapsed in a doorway and was fitting. As far as we could tell it was a bad reaction between some powerful painkillers they were taking, and alcohol. Fortunately an ambulance car was heading past at exactly the moment we wanted one, and he summoned a full ambulance shortly after. With a bit of a lift, our patient was on a cot, and then in the back of the ambulance and out of our care.
Next was my first visit to a local hotel, accompanying NewDoc on my first 999 call.
We arrived, well within eight minutes (not that any of our calls are Cat A, in fact, all our patients are considered dead for time-keeping target purposes…). It then took us ages to be let in (despite being in hi-vis, clutching response bag and oxygen set). We were met by a friend when we were most of the way there, and got most of the details of what had happened. This included a comment that the patient had taken off their fancy dress and got in something more comfortable (hush there, at the back!) Filing that note away (or so I thought), we continued to the room.
Arriving, we met one lady, dressed in a modest red dress. To my surprise, NewDoc immediately started on his treatment routine, assuming this was our patient. Cue one confused look from the lady, and a quick redirect to the real patient, lying in her bed looking pretty flustered.
Turns out, she had had a very stressful past few weeks, and she, her husband and a couple of friends were on a hard-earned break to relax. She seemed stable, if a little uncomfortable, and we had no cause for concern. Giving her the stock phrase of ‘if things get worse, or if in doubt, call 999 again and get help’, we left her with what, as far as we could tell, was a cold or ‘flu caught after getting run down stressing over whatever it was she was doing.
After a small break on the post, complete with complimentary chocolate bars from a local friendly store keeper, NewDoc and I were sent back again to the hotel.
This time, after getting in much faster and reaching the room in double-quick time, we arrived to find a lady lying on her bed struggling to breath. With a bit of coaxing from her boyfriend and I, we managed to get her set up, which immediately helped her breathing a little. Then, using what I hope is my most confident, soothing tone, and the boyfriend holding her hand and rubbing her back, we managed to get her breathing under control.
Fortunately, it seemed to be a panic attack. Note that I don’t say ‘just a panic attack’. They are minor, and in many cases self-limiting (as in, the patient either calms themself down or faints, both of which solve the immediate problem), but they can also be very scary, and this patient was obviously quite distressed.
We never found our why she was so upset, but whatever it was she had a huge amount of support from her boyfriend. With nothing physically wrong with her once her breathing was under control, we gave them both some advice on how to deal with it themselves, got the paperwork finished, gathered our gear and returned to base.
This last patient took us quite a time past our anticipated stand-down time. However, she was the sort of patient whose treatment brings relatively fast, obvious results with a very simple set of techniques. I find treating these people very satisfying, and left the hotel feeling that we’d achieved something, instead of just holding the fort until the paramedics arrived.
This was my first time dealing with real emergency calls. Twice we responded, dealt with a patient from start to finish, and saved a paramedic a call out to a patient who didn’t need that level of care, saving them for the person who collapsed at home with chest pains.
Funnily enough, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself by the end of the day. Makes a pleasant change.
1 I might possibly have a little bit of a crush on NewDoc. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be reciprocated…