Last Night’s ‘Off Job’

Take off your shoe.

Now remove your sock/stocking.

Get a ballpoint pen (red for added authenticity)

Lightly touch the nib of the pen against the sole of your foot.

You are now looking at the same wound that I went to last night.  As a Category A call.

The patient was a 25 year old woman who had stood on a sliver of glass.  The pain was apparently so bad that not only couldn’t she walk, but the pain was travelling up her leg and into her chest.

Chest pain = Category A call.

I had to wheel her out of her expensive riverside flat apartment.

Her husband told us that he would follow behind us in his car.


The only sound you could hear while she was being wheeled out was Reynolds grinding his teeth.

After she was safely dropped off at hospital I indulged in a little ‘Primal scream’ therapy.


I’m starting to come around to the idea of charging for certain ambulance jobs…

26 thoughts on “Last Night’s ‘Off Job’”

  1. I gave up taking any notice of codings for jobs a loooong time ago. Utter garbage most of the time. After having to let an eight y/o lad, on the pitch, November rain, ?#tib wait for us as, he was as an amber for nearly an hour, I gave up worrying. One job, one place, one me. The next call can wait. Let the pips defend their system cos I won't.

  2. Dear Mr Reynolds,I'm not wearing any shoes so I can't repeat your experiment. If I call 999 will you come round and show me how to draw on my foot if I'm only wearing socks?

    On the serious side, did you get any chance to point out that she was wasting your time?

  3. “Her husband told us that he would follow behind us in his car.” And why could husband not take wife to hospital in said car and leave you to attend jobs that actually need you?!Some people think that because they pay their taxes they can use ambulances as taxis.

  4. Fascinating stuff this Primal scream therapy – 'co-opted in many legitimate and not-so-legitimate forms of therapies, sometimes in dangerous ways'! This has potential!

  5. I'm surprised you took her, I've been at jobs where crews have heard the “I'll follow in the car” line and stated quite clearly that they're not needed and that the patient should travel with the family member.

  6. I thought that in cases like this paramedics used to get their own back by recommending stomach pumping or an equally unconfortable procedure on their handover sheets to the nurses?…

  7. well gosh, we can't leave the car at home, then we might have to take the BUS back from the hospital!What do you mean, not travel there in an ambulance? We've got RIGHTS dammit!

  8. i trod on a bit of glass and got it stuck in my foot a few months ago. admittedly it is very painful and not easy to walk on but i'd never have even considered dialling 999! after trying to get it out myself, i went to see the practice nurse at the local medical centre who prodded it with her finger a couple of times and said “well i'm not going to poke around, you'd better go to a&e if you're that bothered”. so off i went to a&e after a couple of hours at home trying to a) get the bit of glass out myself and b) decide whether i really needed to go. a nurse poked at my foot with some sterile needles for about 20 minutes and got nowhere, so i went home. eventually got the glass out myself using a completely unsterile sewing needle the next morning.anyway, your job last night – some people just really are the limit! there should be some kind of penalty scheme in operation for pointless call-outs – maybe a compulsory workshop where you learn about when you should dial 999 and when you should get your equally stupid husband to drive you to hospital. only time i've ever called out an ambulance was when my housemate was suffering from transient global amnesia (though obviously we didn't know that at the time) and lying on the lounge floor wailing. we tried to get him to stand up but he couldn't (wouldn't?) so we reasoned that the only way to get him to a&e at 2a.m. with no-one around to help us lift him into a taxi was to call an ambulance who could put him on a stretcher or something. the paramedics weren't too pleased when he stood up and walked to the ambulance of his own accord … and neither were we!

  9. Me and my practice partner have spent the last 48 hours getting a woman and her family NOT to call 999 as she was in early labour. Task accomplished as she is now in labour at hospital and no ambulance involved.Ambulance was involved earlier today for a woman I was called to see as an emergency. She had an infection in a surgical wound and physically couldn't move, sobbing in pain. I arranged everything- right down to the bed number on the ward she was to be admitted to, and we had to call 999 (as we couldn't move her any other way, she couldn't sit up let alone stand) and I think I was more than accommodating and helpful and still the crew spoke to me as if I was a) a nuisance for calling them and b) a moron. And it was only when she practically had hysterics getting into the chair that they realised why I'd got her admitted and not sent her to her GP. MEH.

  10. Ah-ha – you see I've given up on telling people off as a bad job. They never listen and just get the hump.I occasionally like the easy life.

  11. It was our last job – by just 'getting on with it' we were able to get of shift at the right time. If we'd kicked up a fuss we would have been left stranded out of our area with a patient who might put in a complaint against us and a very strong chance of us getting a job that would make us late in getting off shift.This job is all about protecting yourself – sad, but true.

  12. It's the sort of patient that, when I was a nurse, I'd put their card in my back pocket for a couple of hours.But then I was a naughty nurse…

    We never did any unnecessary procedures – too much chance of getting a complaint and losing your job (or being prosecuted for assault). It's just not worth it.

  13. #1 I don't pay attention#2 She's married, therefore “off my radar”.

    #3 No – she wasn't.

    #4 Everything I wa looking at was tinged red for some bizarre reason.

  14. It's one of our problems – we deal with so much inappropriate work it's very easy to become overly cynical. Especially if the description of the job makes it seem like a 'crap' job.I'll apologise for their behaviour though.

  15. my dad had glass inbeded in his foot. there was no way to get it out, he could not walk at all. did we get a taxi with blue lights, no. a good strong dining room chair 2 able people (me and my mate) carried dad to my car. trip to the to his doctors, then off to a&e at the doctors request. funny thing is they said “we get a ambulance to take him” we replied no thanks.A&E staff give you funny looks when you take a wheelchair outside and come back in a min later with a bloke in it.

    Dad had to have a op on his foot to remove the glass, as it was not a easy removal. all done without the help of the boy (and girls) in Green.

  16. A colleague recently referred me to your blog and it's become a bit of a daily habit now. It is amazing though, how true the saying “same shit, different city” applies to the international community of paramedics. However, I do have to say this lady would definitely NOT have got in my ambulance – normally. I did read though, that you were out of your area and looking to end your shift so, under those exceptional circumstances, I agree with the 'protect thyself at all costs philosophy '- I would have done the same.

  17. I presume she's now back at home with her foot beautifully bandaged…'d better be on standby in case she needs an ambulance to take her back to hospital to have the dressing removed!

  18. What an idiot to call an ambulance for that – she could easily have put a plaster on it and gone to see her GP the next day! And for the husband to follow in the car was unnecessary – grrr.But, there are times when following in the car is the only option. My middle daughter had meningitis symptoms, an ambulance was called (by NHS24 – the Scottish version of NHS re-Direct), and being on my own in the house with 3 children at 6 in the morning, I had no option but to follow in the car (especially as we live in a rural location 45 mins drive from the hospital) with 2 children. Believe me, it was a painful decision – but the ambulance cannot take a patient, a parent, 2 siblings as well as the paramedic! Had I had someone to look after my other two children, I would have been in the ambulance like a shot.

  19. Is ok dude.They changed their tone quite quickly when I was supernice to them, had every clinical detail off pat to tell them when they got there and then as they got her into the ambulance I was like “OK, so she needs to be readmitted to this hospital, this ward- it's in East Block, floor 5 and she's going to bed 12. The doctors and midwives know all about her and know she's coming, all you have to do is get her there”. (details changed obv.) Tell you what, that totally shocked them, lol. I can completely understand the cynicism, because we see so many 'people in labour and pushing' coming in via LAS, 2cm and contracting 1 in 20, talking through a contraction and barely noticing anything is happening. And because they've come via LAS they get seen immediately, and bypass waiting like all the poor women who come in the proper way and have to wait in reception to be seen. 🙁

  20. glass in foot?yet more rich scrotes who back up my justification to introduce an ambulance fireams unit:

    a little snipers nest ontop of a tall building staffed by an ambulanceman with good eyesight and anger management issues…

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