Hand Over Mouth

No sooner do I hope for a quiet hour or two than the activation phone goes; it's sending us 200 yards up the road to a “Collapsed Male”. We are met by two police officers who tell us that the patient was walking along the street, saw the policemen and then collapsed.
We get to the patient and can't smell any alcohol on him, but he is coughing and spluttering like an Oscar winner. He complains of a headache, coughing, leg pain, back pain and an inability to walk. Other than that he is refusing to talk to us. Examination is normal and the patient is obviously play-acting.

He then does one of the things that I really hate (given the prevalance of TB in Newham); he coughs all over us and the vehicle without putting his hand over his mouth. Then he starts to spit on the floor of the ambulance, again something I take a dim view of – but I'm driving so I leave it to my crewmate to sort out.

Forty seconds later and we pull up outside the hospital, and our patient decides to roll around the floor – by now both our patience is wearing thin, so we haul him up and throw him in a wheelchair.

In the hospital he refuses to speak to the nurses, says he cannot stand and doesn't acknowledge any requests.

We leave him there and within thirty seconds are back on station.

While at the hospital I induldged in a little bit of teaching – the nurse who was assessing our patient was trying to check his pupil response (by shining a light in each eye and making sure that it reacts to light) but the eyes don't appear to be reacting. I then suggest turning off the ceiliing light that the patient is laying on his back staring at.

For some reason I don't seem to have much patience tonight, it started with the drunk panic attack and has continued to get worse over the course of the night. A friend of mine would suggest that I am having a “sense of humour failure”; could it be that everyone else is drinking and having a good time tonight while I'm working? Normally I enjoy Friday night shifts, but tonight I'm just grumpy – I'm attending on Sunday, so I better get over it quickly.

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