There is a 'genuine' job that I dislike above all others, and that is someone who has had a seizure in a public place and is now 'post-ictal'. The post-ictal stage of a seizure is the period after the fitting has stopped when the patient can become very drowsy or, and this is the bit I hate, can be extremely confused. These patients can also become violent and very distressed. It's normal and something that we learn to deal with, but I still don't like it.
We were called to a collapse in a supermarket, it's fun to go to these as you try to guess if the collapse is real. Wondering if the person was caught shoplifting, yes, I have a nasty cynical and suspicious mind.
Out patient was a young woman in her twenties, she was being restrained in the first aid room by the security/first aid officer. They could see that she was confused but probably didn't understand why the patient was fighting with them and wanting to walk off. The problem that we have is that we aren't really meant to restrain patients, but on the other hand if I let her waltz out into the traffic I think I'd be getting negative newspaper headlines unconnected with my book.
So we tried talking to her but she was still very confused. A quick check revealed nothing physically wrong, she was just in an agitated post-ictal state.
So we found ourselves essentially frog-marching the poor woman out the door to try and get her into our ambulance, she was fighting us the whole way. Again we aren't supposed to do this, but I believe that we are protected under common law to prevent someone from hurting themselves (something that really needs a post of it's own and some expert advice). She adamantly refused to enter the ambulance but she was in no fit state to be left alone.
Then our angel descended from the heavens.
A girl, about 10 years old, appeared from nowhere. To take one look at her you would instantly mark her down as one of those wasted youth who hang around on street corners. She came over and started talking to the patient, it turned out that she was her next door neighbour. After asking us if our patient had had a seizure she managed to persuade our patient to get on the ambulance where we could do further checks and provide a bit of treatment.
After some talking (and some persuasion from our 'angel') the patient agreed that we could take her home and as she was starting to recover we thought that this was a reasonable idea. It's something we sometimes do – provide a bit of treatment until the patient recovers and then the patient will ask to be either left where they are or to get a lift home. This is one 'taxi-ride' we don't mind.
All throughout our 'angel' was superb, she went back into the shop and bought the item that our patient had originally came out for, then she kept talking to her in order to keep her calm. Finally when we reached her address she made sure that our patient was safely indoors and offered to stay with her until her family returned home.
So because of our 'angel' a very tricky job became much easier and much more pleasant for the patient.
The reason why I don't like these jobs is that all the public sees is us 'fighting' with an aggressive and confused patient and no doubt forms the impression that the patient is either drunk, on drugs or insane. I hate it for the embarrassment that the patient must feel afterwards when they realise what had happened. I hate it because it's such a show we get the maximum number of rubber-neckers and you can hear people tutting as they walk past.
…And yes I hate it because I don't like forcing people into my ambulance.