Just Desserts

Another call from the police, another assault in the street that was somewhat unusual as it was given as an injury sustained in the course of a mugging. Despite what the media would have you think I would suspect that the fear of mugging is much worse than the actual rates of muggings.

I base this on no evidence apart from the distinct lack of assault calls that I go to where mugging is a motive.

We arrived to find the police already there and a young man sitting, somewhat battered, by the side of the road. Cuts and bruises from a couple of punches to the face, nothing too serious, but painful nontheless.

What made us smile was that this was the mugger, not the victim.

In broad daylight this scumbag decided to steal a woman's handbag. He'd grabbed it and started running down the busy street.

What he didn't reckon on was a bit of 'community policing' and someone gave chase, punched him in the face a couple of times and disappeared before the police arrived.

Not a serious injury, but our 'victim' was left whinging about the pain while we, and the police, contemplated the mugger's bad luck. He'd need some stiches to his face, but was otherwise not seriously hurt.

Obviously I treated him clinically as I would any other patient, but perhaps without the same 'bedside manner' as I would give to, say, a little old lady who'd spent a few hours on her bedroom floor.

The police officer and I discussed how much of the money that I pay as taxes would go towards this person's treatment.

I don't think (and hope) that the police will look too hard for the person that stopped this thief.


Monday's question – In your own work, or day to day life, what events give you joy? Obviously the above story made me happy for the rest of the day, but I also like going to patients that say 'Thank you' at the end of their time with us. I also like transfers to the country, where there is green stuff, trees and the like. I'd think that even if I worked in an office there would still be something that would make my day, so, what is yours?

38 thoughts on “Just Desserts”

  1. I enjoy reading this blog, even if sometimes the postings make me think about things I normally try not to…I like reading about people and situations that other EMS personnel deal with. It is good to hear other views… And to know there are others in the world who have to deal with the same kind of stupid we deal with this side of the “pond.”

  2. gives me joy? standing under the moon & stars under a clear, unpolluted sky. listening to my 18mth grandson laugh. watching my 2 & 1/2 yr old granddaughter annoy her mother by acting *just* like her. finishing a book. hmmm- none of this has to do with work! imagine that.

  3. I've seen my share of assaults, I had a guy during hogmanay who had quite a bad head wound blood everywhere and very very drunk. Weirdly he didn't want to go to hospital and eventually stumbled out on his own.But I loved that story it really brightened up my day, well night anyway.

    Monday Q:

    I'm unemployed right now. So anything that isn't eggs is nice.

    I like anything that gets me out of the house (except fire) and any sort of change of pace.

    And recently: Being told I wouldn't have to pay for a course because I'm on benefits

  4. i like listening to my two yr old chatting and singing to herself in bed before she falls asleep. makes me giggle 🙂

  5. There are lots of things that make my day. Being able to breathe is one of them. I had to call for the emergency services because I was finding it difficult to breathe. I'm a closet asthmatic – I have asthma attacks so rarely that if the makers of Ventolin had to rely on people like me their business would collapse. Usually cigarette smoke is the trigger, and chucking smokers out into the street (what constitutes a 'public place' in the eyes of the law, for God's sake?) has at least had the benefit of making me carry my medication with me at all times, rather than on a hit and miss basis. But when I did call for an ambulance, doing my obscene caller heavy breathing act down the phone to 'control', the guys turned up very quickly (the FRU was there in two minutes!) and stuck me on a nebuliser and took me to hospital where I the most uncomfortable thing I had to put up with was the electronic BP machine.The problem is, since reading your excellent book at least twice, I feel very guilty about calling the ambulance service. (So to the Oxfordshire Ambulance Service – especially those based at the JR – who were kindness itself and reassured me that they'd far rather deal with me breathing than not, many thanks, guys!) And then I think about the stuff you all have to put up with. And then I think, all those who use the ambulance service as a taxi service, all those who are out of their skulls on drink or drugs, should be chained to a chair and given a copy of your book to read. Would it make any difference, do you think? Sadly, perhaps not.

  6. What brings me joy? Well, Friday evenings, mainly :-DCompleting an assignment for my Open Uni degree and getting good comments and a good score (hah!).

    Teaching someone something and watching them go on to use that in their practice in some what.

    The cat (Patch) not stripping lengths of skin off my arm.


  7. Good calls; the ones where we are actually needed, where I can control the situation and make a difference for someone. Add to that nice road conditions (no ice, no deer/moose) and friendly nurses at A&E.On a smaller scale: Spring

  8. Watching my better half release a bird that was half-dead when she received it. There was a swift once which flew a fifty-metre circle around us one metre off the ground before climbing to begin its first journey to Africa.

  9. And then I think about the stuff you all have to put up with. And then I think, all those who use the ambulance service as a taxi service, all those who are out of their skulls on drink or drugs, should be chained to a chair and given a copy of your book to readI've said this in the past, and I'll continue to say it – get the weekend drunks working on the “booze bus” and washing out hospitals and A&E for a few weekends. It would (probably) reduce the cost burden on our overstretched emergency services and would hopefully put them off the whole “drink 'til you puke” mentality they seem to have. Maybe.

    It's got to be worth a shot.

  10. Have you thought about a transfer outside London? In Hertfordshire when I see the ambulance staff at the station, they're wandering around and drinking tea. We hear sirens once every few days. There's more open space, less chance of having your car nicked and it's pretty laid back compared to the smoke.

  11. I'm always happy to go to asthmatics, especially if my treatment means that they get discharged from hospital earlier.So no guilty feelings please – you are the *reason* why we exist.

  12. A thank you from a patient (or the person making the 999 call) is as rare as hen's teeth, so any time I get one it makes me smile.Failing that – soppy moment approaching, be warned – a hug from my other half never fails to brighten my day. Awwwww. 🙂

  13. I used to work in IT and a heartfelt thank you then was as rare as it was welcome. Especially when it came in an email, cc'd to my boss.

  14. Tom, Things that make me smile like a madman: First a couple of work related ones I'm an engineer and if I have specified something huge (you know millions) and I finally see the finished product working / helping people with their daily lives 😀 Alternatively, I help junior engineer's get their full qualification level (Chartered Engineer) and when they finally get their CEng :D)For non work … I'm with petoskystone – the sky from a dark site with a telescope / binocculars to hand … Bliss

  15. The guy who spent ten minutes abusing staff at an Underground station then as soon as we (the police) arrived turned around to run away. Unfortunately for him his first rather hasty step led him face-first into a lamp post. We arrested him once we'd stopped laughing.

  16. Before I retired, I worked for the Ministry of Health responding to constuency requests. While many of them were people trying to get around the eligibility rules, some were truly heart breaking. One was for a Canadian woman who had married a US man and had moved to his home country. After numerous beatings (apparently, it takes at least 25 abuses before a women acts to stop the abuse), she fled back to Canada for treatment and family. However, Canada's health eligibility rules state that one must be in the country, regardless of citizenship, for three months before one is eligible for coverage. This poor young woman had received urgent medical care and was being looked after by a social worker, but was being asked to pay for the expensive care with money she certainly didn't have, as she had fled only with clothes she wearing that day. I was able to backdate her eligibility so that she could begin her life again without fear.

  17. What made me smile after choking was this post, thank you Tom. (aaaaaaaaaaaaaah divine justice)also reading the replies makes the world seem a better place.

    as for what makes my day, well it's the kids at school when I get a wave or a big good morning – nothing better.

    Keep it up Tom, and I hope they don't catch the *samaritan* either.



  18. mine is a bit soppy. it when i can reunite a lost pet with its owner. it makes my day.or the difficult call you can turn around from the person swearing and shouting at you to them saying thank you calmly at the end of it. (that one does not happen too much on a friday or saturday night, alcohol makes people so rude!!!!)

  19. In my day to day life, anything that helps people – no matter what.May I risk an OT digression – I have an open mind on the MMR/vaccine issue – but members of my extended family have had reason to believe, rightly or wrongly, that their child first showed autism symptoms days after the jab. Be that as it may, a new report (http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted_h.html – so admittedly on an agendered website) is now saying that they have seen NO unvaccinated kids with autism.

    The Amish, it appears, among others, have no vaccination – and no autism, and in statistically significant amounts as well.

    Since autism is becoming an increasing issue in the developed world, and since I've seen the tragedy first hand, I do hope someone here has the knowledge to comment on this?

    Sorry if I'm threadjacking Tom, and please delete my comment if you want – but this is a big issue for my family, especially with the current economic situation that threatens the care they can get for their kids, and while I lean towards the scientific evidence-based approach, as this issue has been discussed here, I'm hoping that someone can pick up on this and add some new evidence.

  20. Thank you – that's more or less what the guys on the ambulance said. I think we are so blessed to have people like you around! xxGoing back to the issue of self-inflicted damage through alcohol and drugs, if people are rich enough to get slaughtered in this way in the first place, perhaps the NHS Trusts should levy a charge on them for the use of the noisy white/yellow/green cabs with the pretty flashing lights on top? It really does make me cross that there seems to be no accountability or responsiblity expected of these people particularly. When I was a youngster of the age I see many decorating the pavements at the weekend, although we drank socially, I think I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times one of my friends got themselves so badly drunk they needed attention. And not use all of the fingers, either. How did we get ourselves into this sort of culture?

    Cleaning out the ambos wouldn't be a bad start….

  21. hmm what makes me happy at work?I would say simple things really.

    – Hearing a good song that I can sing/dance along too on the radio.

    -Getting time to have a hot cup of tea

    -A simple thank you

    -Helping people fix/need/find something

  22. @smoochie597 – if you want a balanced roundup of the evidence here is a good summary from a GP and a mother of an autistic spectrum child coming down in favour of MMR vaccination

  23. Not sure it's joy but certainly a warm feeling that the job is worthwhile and there are good people out there. It was Boxing Day and the call was to a 93 year old lady who'd fallen, always a worry as two of these calls we'd been to in the last couple of days had been dead, one for some time. The neighbour, who kept an eye on her, had called that morning and got no response. He looked through the window, saw her on the floor and called the police and us.We arrived and could see she was still moving, that was the first nice bit. The police arrived moments later and forced an entry. We entered and started examining her. She was a little cold but otherwise fine and in good sprits. By the time we left she was scooting all over the place using her frame and was surrounded by her family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who had arrived within 20 minutes and were tidying up, making tea and toast and mending the lock the police had broken to get in.

    We left her surrounded by a loving family and drinking tea. Sod ORCAN, that's what l call a sucessful job.

    As for joy and muggers. We had a woman up here who was mugged whilst out walking her dog. The robber got away with nothing but the plastic bag she was carrying which was full off…well, lets just say the dog was feeling much more comfortable :). My joy would have been complete if I had got to see the tossers face when he opened the bag and seen what he'd got….

  24. Getting feedback about cases so that I know the outcome, bad or good (preferably good, of course!)Dealing with a student who actually wants to learn how to look after people and isn't counting the days till s/he can pin up that diploma/degree certificate and retire behind a desk.

    A manager I knew and loathed, once inexplicably ventured into the sluice and happened to be standing by the dispo-bedpan masher when it exploded. No, I didn't see it but just hearing about it made my day…..

  25. My colleague told me about a group of tourists who were attacked by someone in the street outside his house at 3am. Unfortunately (for the attacker) they were on tour with their rugby team and were not easily scared. A few minutes later the police arrested the would-be mugger, after he'd had his broken nose seen to by an ambulance crew. I don't think the tourists were even spoken to by the police and they received a cheer from the residents of the surrounding flats who'd all been woken by the commotion!As for what makes me happy – holidays, not necessarily going anywhere, just having time off with my boyfriend (who's a casualty doctor and seems to work all the time) and being able to relax.

    Also spring and the first day I can sit outside on the terrace in the sun after the seemingly endless winter – I think that's one of the happiest days of the year!

  26. the 'evidence' behind the link between MMR and autism was only given credit because of the 'expert' who wrote the paper. the fact that his research showed a very small sample and that this was therefore non-transferable to the general population didn't get questioned for some time. there is no significant link between the vaccine, nor is there any evidence that they are linked.if you would like more information look in the department of health guidelines or NICE (national institute of clinical evidence) which are both available online. also refer to the british national formulary (bnf) as this also has plenty of information.


  27. A good day at work is a training session or case work meeting I walk away from when I know I've made a positive difference to someone's (work) life.But no matter how good or bad the day, nothing beats my daughter's delighted shout of “My Mommy” when she sees me at nursery to collect her 🙂 She does an excellent rendition of Dancing Queen with her own lyrics that cracks me up every time (digging the dancing ceiling anyone?!)

  28. Hey, you have been mentioned on David's Post of the Day. He's been having some trouble commenting on here, so I'll pass on his message:G'day from Australia. A friend of mine (Chapati) told me I had to come here and read this post. Well done!

  29. things that make me warm and fuzzy recently my mate and i who work for manchester ablulance were called to what is more commonly called a “Maternataxi” and at the vital moment i.e. arriving at the address our control kindly advised us “i think this one is on its way” and low and behold as we entered the address we were met by a panicky husband saying its on its way. now to be kind and leave the details out, the lady in question was in full labour and her last labour was 26 hours. she had had these pains for two hours on examining the head was on its way out with the cord tightly over the middle no chance to move it so with a bit of help we were able to adjust the position to allow gravity to work its magic three contractions later and only being on scene for 15 mins we were party to the most magical moment i can think of in life. The birth of a healthy baby!!! and just being there able to help gives me the biggest high in life better than any of these so called chemical highs that we deal with how luck are we in these situations it still seems sureal now

  30. i've been off work for past 18 months having had major foot surgery, so not much fun. however, being able to spend it with my wife & daughter (2 going on 22), i realise i'm a lot luckier than some fathers are. i've seen her come on in leaps & bounds over the duration, and that makes me smile!also, i've applied for a care practitioner role with YAS, so fingers crossed for that.

    any advice you can throw my way tom, or anybody else, is always appreciated!

  31. Have been following your blog for a while now, but never signed up. I find the way you write so interesting, and as an ICU nurse, I have learned from your stories…For me, things that make me happy are playing with my 15 month old son, or workwise, making someone feel “human” again, either by washing their hair, or by showing them some sunshine after a lengthy stay with us… Little things like that make me smile…

  32. Thank you for replying – I don't wish to be contentious, so suffice to say that obviously the NICE report has long been read and digested.I do have an open mind – meaning I don't come down on either side. I've experienced both medical excellence, and medical failures, at profound levels. We're all only human, operating the best we can, given the best information we have at the time.

    With GREAT respect, that I posted about some (possible) new info, and the replies I got were to one anecdotal post, and one report that has been kicking about for ages, demonstrates how frustrating it can get trying to find out more.

    I offer this link (I can't seem to URL it no matter what I try) as an additional factor – comments (informed and up-to-date) most welcome:


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