As predicted, none of my patients were worse the wear for alcohol – I expect this trend to continue for the next five days.
I thought I was working seven days, but that is actually next week – I'm only working five days this week, plus a visit to the Old Bailey on Monday – my day off.
We did however have a delivery driver, who was allegedly robbed by having CS gas sprayed in his face. The police present asked me very politely if I wouldn't park my ambulance on their crime scene – I obliged because they were bigger than me. The patient didn't want to go to hospital, and after letting his eyes dry out we left him in the care of the police present. Medical tip, don't wet your eyes if you have been sprayed with CS gas, it will only make things worse – instead face into the wind and let your eyes dry out that way.
We also went to a five year old who was apparently having an asthma attack – when we got there the child was asleep and had nothing more severe than a runny nose. I had to put on my teaching hat because the mother didn't understood what asthma is, so I had to explain the difference between that and a runny nose.
We had a 73 year old lady who collapsed in a GP surgery and when the GP measured her blood pressure as 90/40 (rather low), he thought it would be a good idea to sit her in a chair, rather than lay her down. Luckily for him, she didn't faint again…
Our last job of the shift was to a 91 year old man, who had become unable to stand – the carers who helped his elderly wife look after him didn't know what to do, and refused to call out the GP despite the wifes request. The wife called the GP herself. The GP visited, took the patients blood pressure and told them that they should call an ambulance to get the patient into bed, and then they would arrange a hospital admission in the morning. As the GP is a locum doctor, I doubt that this would happen at all. This is disgraceful – the GP should have referred the patient at that time, rather than pass the patient onto the day doctor. As it was, we thought that it would be best to take him into hospital that night (which is what he wanted), so that they could try and find out why he was unable to walk.
Last week we went to a 70 year old female who had chronic leg ulcers and terrible eczema, her husband had called us because the district nurse, who is supposed to dress these types of wounds, hadn't visited in the last 10 weeks. The patient had have what appeared to be a stroke in the last two days, but the husband who called us “didn't want to bother anyone”… I was glad that we could take the patient into hospital, because it seems that this is the only way should could receive the care that she required.
I told the handover nurse about the lack of community care, and she has promised to do something about it – it's one of the few things that I miss from nursing – being able to shout at useless 'professional carers' over the phone. The situations that people find themselves in, where their final resort is to call for an ambulance, make me extremely angry, yet there is little I can do in this job to change that situation.
On Sunday we remembered those who fought in the various wars, and yet the best that we can do for the elders who lived through those times is to treat them like a problem and pass them on to someone else. Is it really so difficult to provide care for these people who have worked their whole life?