Some calls are a pain in the arse, not because anyone is particularly ill, but instead because you can see complaints coming in, and there being a high possibility of losing your job.
Tonight was a case in point, we got called to a wedding reception where the bride had collapsed. A quick history revealed Multiple Sclerosis, and that it was likely that this was the cause of the collapse. Unfortunately the patient and the patients new husband were adamant that she wasn't going to go to hospital, particularly the hospital that was nearest. Things weren't helped because they had called an ambulance for an aunt who had collapsed, but had cancelled it before it had arrived because it was “taking too long”. Throughout getting a history from the patient, the new husband was generally acting like an arse – he was questioning everything that we did, interfering with our talking to the patient and generally getting in the way. We managed to get rid of him for a short period and the rest of the family came over to us and apologised for his behaviour.
Luckily the patients hotel is next door to the hospital so, after 45 minutes of persuasion, I managed to get the patient to agree for us to take her towards the hotel, and if she felt better then we could, in good conscience leave her there. On route I called up on the radio, and arranged for the duty officer to meet us at the hotel – he did and the responsibility of leaving her without treatment now fell on his shoulders (thus, saving our jobs should anything go horribly wrong).
I know M.S. is a horrible disease, I know it isn't fair that it would strike on your wedding day, and I can understand why you might not want to go to hospital – but if you can't move half of your body, then please understand why the ambulance people might be a bit unhappy to leave you laying in the middle of the street.
It then all 'kicked off' in the Hackney/Homerton area. There was a big fight in a pub, with everything in it being smashed – multiple casualties with various head and facial injuries from flying bottles and broken glass. We were first on scene, and I needed to call up to let control know that at least another three ambulances were needed. At least it gave me a chance to practice my 'five second triage' skills. None of the drunks there were particularly aggressive, but there was a ton of police there pulling me from one casualty to another around the pub, and even 300 yards up the street. This was just a taste of what was to come as another pub was attacked and it basically overloaded our resources. It got so busy our Duty officer was transporting severe asthmatic attacks in his car (and he doesn't carry anything other than a defib and oxygen) and Control was holding 35 calls across the area. That is, 35 calls at three o'clock in the morning. That'll teach me to wonder if it will be busy in a previous post.
Watch this space…