Two Up

This is why I'm not a manager – I am working seven days this week – and seven days next week…
I did manage to pick up two people who were drunk last night – one had a nosebleed, while the other was a 17 year old who had been fighting with 'friends' in the park at midnight, and had gotten kicked in the ribs. Lungs were both alright, although the way he was behaving you would have thought that he was about to drop dead.

Stand out job of the night was getting a 22 Stone, immobile woman, who was dizzy and vomited whenever her head moved, down some stairs and into hospital. This could have been a complete nightmare of a job, but is wasn't, if only because both the patient and her daughter were very pleasant people (and it helped that they had a stair-lift in the patient's home). It went a bit worse because the hospital was exceptionally busy, and we kept being pushed from pillar to post while they searched for a bed for her. It took us nearly two hours to do this one job.

We also went to a five year old who had a swollen top lip – probably because of a minor allergic reaction, not a real emergency (she'd had it for over an hour, and it wasn't getting any worse). What made the job memorable is that the rather large family, wanted to go to the Royal London hospital, and not the closest (by about 2 miles) hospital at Newham. I might have taken them to the Royal London if they hadn't been so rude about Newham… (by policy, we are supposed to take people to the nearest hospital, and can only take people to other hospitals “at our discretion”) I took the mother, daughter and sister (who apologised for the behaviour of her brother) to Newham and within 20 seconds of arriving, were met by the rest of the family, who had driven up in two cars full of people. There was one patient and nine relatives (I counted nine, it might have gotten even more) most of which were 'angry young men'. They spent the next two hours dominating the Paediatric waiting area, and I was reminded of the Toronto hospital which only allows one 'support person'.

I apologised to the nurse at the hospital – but it's not my fault they all turned up…

So far the count is 10 Sober jobs, to 2 Drunk jobs.

15 thoughts on “Two Up”

  1. My favourite type of job is Hypoglycaemics (diabetics who's blood sugar has gone low). They look nearly dead, they are confused, sweaty, and are kinda scary. We turn up – give them an injection and make them all better. And we look really good to people who don't know what is going on…To be honest I don't mind doing stuff for people who are _nice_ to us. It's people who take the micky I don't like, those who expect us to cater to their every whim because we are there to serve them.

    I don't even mind going to 'crap' (because they have no idea about medical stuff) just so long as they are nice to us.

  2. To be honest I don't mind doing stuff for people who are _nice_ to us. It's people who take the micky I don't like, those who expect us to cater to their every whim because we are there to serve themEe, got a confession to make. I'm a climber who decked out on Jubilee Sunday 2002. Open tib and fib, no bump to the head. Got one of the guys present to ring 999. Unfortunatley, when the entonox kicked in I started swearing. The crew attending were understandably miffed. I apologised, they said it's OK, I insisted they shake my hand, then my forearms went into spasm. Nearly broke the guy's hand. This is me being carried off:

    Many apologies.

    Mind you the only place yould ever find a bust climber in Newham would be at Cordova Road.

  3. I cannot imagine nine relatives with one patient in emerg.I was my Dad's “support person” in an ER a city outside Toronto last year. It took a while for them to admit him (long story) and the rule was one person with a patient at a time, for a very good reason: there wasn't room for more. There wasn't really even room for me. At times I was napping on the floor.

    Aren't the ER staff in potential danger from a crowd of angry uninformed relatives who want something different, or sooner, for their family member? Why don't the hospitals restrict the number of visitors in ER?

  4. Why doesn't the 999 call put you through to trained paramedics who can call an ambulance but also ascertain the seriousness of the situation? Would that not save a lot of callouts? Perhaps taking those first 30 seconds to ascertain the problem might free you up for an emergency case.From what I've read so far, you must have amazing patience and I can just thank god that there are people like you still willing to do the job!

    Great blog.

  5. Hello there,two points on the comments. Firstly I seem to recall a case where a patient sued an ambulance crew for not taking them to their Trust of choice and they got done for kidnap?

    Other point on screening calls, we tried a triage service run by nursing staff to weed out the non urgents. we found that under a third needed a blue light and it made a huge difference. However didn't get rolled out…madness!!

  6. I found your blog via route79 via bowblog. Funny old world. I love the image of nine relatives jamming up a cubicle and making a fuss about which hospital they went to – as if they had been collectively waiting for this chance for years. They must have all been quite excited to be in hospital. I'm surprised there are less alci-related pickups this week. Your blog is usually alarmingly full of them! Xmas and New Year must be a weird time what with the usual drink related bash-ups and more so, the sad and lonely that just need someone to talk to. Oh well….lets hope the swollen lip eventually deflated.

  7. It is a big problem, given that many of the people in the area have big families (they tend to have mattresses on the floor around here, and they also 'hotbed' throughout the day). A lot of the time the nursing staff will ask people to wait out in the waiting room, and just have one person with the patient – but it still means that loads of people are wandering through the department, and blocking up the waiting room with screaming kids, and arrogant teenagers.Plus if there are nine people sitting around, then the chances of one of them getting bored enough to 'kick off' only increases.

    I have no idea why they don't restrict visitors to one person…suppose they are worried that folk will complain – remember that people expect more when service is free.

  8. We do have a TAS (Telephone advice service) which is supposed to weed out the truly crap calls – but they are worried about getting sued, so the policies in place are ultraconservative.Plus, remember that a patient with a cough often comes up as “severe difficulty in breathing” on our priority system…

  9. Re: “remember that people expect more when service is free.”In Ontario basic medical services are supplied out of tax revenue also. So we didn't pay out of pocket for our emergency visit or the subsequent two months in hospital. (We could go off on a tangent here and discuss various modes of supplying health care, but I won't.)

    And still, in no emergency room in Ontario that I've ever been in, have the posted rules ever permitted more than one person to be in the ward with a patient at a time.

    If there are more folks than that, they have to stay in the crowded waiting room outside the doors, and sit on uncomfortable plastic chairs, watching the shopping channel on TV or reading old magazines, and eat out of the vending machines.

    I find this policy difference very curious. What could explain it?

  10. I have to ask which hospital you visited in Toronto. I worked at Mount Sinai (known for its curmudgeonly, highly demanding patients) and was one of a team assigned to enforce the 'one support person' rule. It was hell, I can tell you. Of course, this was when SARS was at its peak (hence my really bad job – the only one I could get that sad summer). Did you visit a hospital recently where that was the rule?

  11. I believe that it was indeed Mount Sinai – or at least it was in that area. I got turned around a couple fo times with my map so it may have been a different one as it seems that there are half a dozen hospitals all sharing the same area.

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