I'm on station at the moment, as it seems that the people of Newham are taking a break from being seriously ill. Of the three jobs we have done so far, none have really warranted an ambulance. The first job of the shift was a 50 year old male with a painful elbow – we took him into hospital, and he was a nice enough bloke, so we were quite happy at this.
Our next job was to a 70 year old who had tripped over in the street, the police were on scene (for a pub fight – stopping one that is, not arranging it) and so called us. There were no serious injuries, and the woman wanted to go home, so we dropped her off into the care of her son.
The award for the most 'misunderstood' use of an ambulance went to our last call, a 32 year old female who had painful eyes. Essentially she had swollen eyes due to an infection, and had called us to take her to hospital. She had been to the hospital three times in the past two days, and wanted to go to a different hospital. Unfortunately for her, she lives 300yards from the local hospital.
She then let slip the real reason why she dialled 999 for an emergency ambulance, “I want to go to Whipps Cross hospital, but I don't have any money”. As she said this I took a long hard look at the cigarette she was smoking, and the way she held that cigarette between her painted nails. I felt like giving her the “An ambulance costs over £800 per call out” talk, but to be honest I couldn't really be bothered. So we walked her the 50 yards to her GP surgery and left her waiting to see her family doctor.
While some people might be annoyed by this sort of job, I'm not too upset – if the patient walks on and then off the ambulance, and doesn't try to hit me, or spit on me, then I'm happy with the patient.
I'm yet to start working with my new crewmate, as she is on a training course that will last about 8 weeks. And I might not be working with her then, if things go according to plan…
For those that are interested, I'll be at the 'Bell, Book and Candle' for the first London Blogger Meetup of the year on Wednesday. Feel free to turn up.