First Night

My first shift 'on the car' went fairly well – there are lots of things that are different between the car and working on a truck that I think you may be interested reading about, which means I'll have a series of postings about RU work to write about when I next get some days off.
While others were dealing with stabbings and shootings (at least two in the area last night) I, who is supposed to go to the most serious calls, had two patients who actually needed hospital treatment, a crying baby, and 5 cases of 'D&V' (Diarrhea and vomiting). I was not alone in dealing with this sudden increase of D&V, Newham hospital was very busy with an epidemic of similar illness, and it seemed that crews were persuading a lot of them to stay at home and nurse themselves..

If you live in the area I work then I'd stay away from the Kebab shops in Romford road (Manor park end) if I were you, as at least twelve cases were tied to one kebab shop, with perhaps as many as twenty seven people eventually falling ill with the same symptoms after eating from the same shop.

Now…can I name the shop involved? Legally and ethically, am I on firm ground?

Maybe I should study journalism at night school…

The other cases were all fairly simple, although at one job I had to wait over an hour for an ambulance to turn up – I was stuck in a house where the only person who spoke any English was a 4 year old child. Not normally a problem, but there was some uncomfortable silences. Still, the family understood that we were really busy and were all very nice – offering cups of tea and little snacks, which is something no-one has ever done for me while working on an ambulance.

I may have something more interesting tomorrow, but for the first night it was really pleasant to be eased into this entirely new way of working.

Now to sleep…

18 thoughts on “First Night”

  1. If it is the Kebab shop that I think it is, then it makes sense because it's bigger branch often has a lot of local news coverage about its food poisoning. And yet, I am starting to crave for a kebab now………….

  2. i think that slander is a type of defamation isnt it? i.e. defamation includes slander and libel. I think it would be more likely to be libel if it was written on this blog because it is a permanent record rather than a transitionary statement which would make it slander. With any defamation case the burden of proof is on the defendant and a true statement cannot be defamation so id think youd get away with it, especially if the authorities had closed the shop down!

  3. Considering that the hospital were collecting all the cases from the shop in one place – I would imagine that the authorities have been made aware (I'll have a drive past tonight if I can to see if it's open or not).Food poisioning is what is known as a 'notifiable disease', and should therefore be reported to the local authorites as a matter of course – so a huge spike like this would definately raise some notice.

    Just one more way in which the hospital serves the community…

  4. OMG! What will i do for my kebab tonight?!?!?I cant get a kebab from my favourite shop in Newham! Ah well, good job m goig to Newcastle tongiht! Go and see uncle Tony and Unlce JOhn and tell em all how they have knacked the country up!

  5. Glad you got your first night over all right. Hope all continues to go well – well, there's no harm in hoping, is there? 🙂

  6. HiMy recollection from my studies is that justification is a defence to any so called “slander and defamation”. Whilst if you name the “establishment” they may claim that you are slandering them (to be honest are a kebab shop going to have the knowledge and/or the money to pay for someone who does) you can defend any such claims on the basis that there is justification for your comments – ie most people ate going to think that 27 people claiming to have got the trotskies after after eating there kinda means there is something not quite right. Problems you may encounter is the establishment saying they didnt eat there but till rolls will show that they sold things and what, by price, they sold.

  7. Quick question. Can the controller give you calls, if you haven't finished a job? I would expect not since they expect you to be at the destination in <8 minutes.

  8. they can give you a ring on your (service) mobile phone at anytime. It's unlikely that they hassle you i fyuo are on a job – since they do have an idea what happens on the road.

  9. Cheers mate, but you know me – I let the politics deal with themselves.And 100% Orocon for the past two nights, including a couple of jobs in the Whipps area. It'll all change when I'm on days and there is traffic on the road…

    …then I'll be more concerned about not driving into someone.

  10. It's libel not slander: both are types of defamation.Legally, you're in a bit of a minefield whether you name them or not. Name them and get it wrong and you're stuffed. Name them and get it right and you'd still have to prove it if challenged. Name them and get it *half* right – ie suggest they were responsible for the entire outbreak when in fact they only caused part of it – and you're as badly off as if you'd got it completely wrong.

    *But* if you don't name them, then all the other shops in the same street with no connection to the sickness can claim that you libelled them by allowing people to form the impression they were the cause.

    Basically, the tests work like this. First they have to prove that you a) identified them (even if not explicitly, or if you did it by accident because you hid the identity of the real culprit) b) published the comments (which you did, on the blog) and c) defamed them. There are various definitions of defaming, all wonderfully archaic, for example damaging a person in their calling or profession, but the catch-all is the killer – lowering a person in the estimation of right-thinking people generally.

    Once they've proved these three things, which is usually pretty easy, then you need a defence. There are several. Truth is one – if it's true, you're safe (although you have to prove it – Robert Maxwell won numerous cases from people who knew he was a crook but couldn't prove it). Fair comment is another, but it has to be based on hard fact or privileged information or a mix of both (more on privelege in a moment). Fair comment is NOT the same as expressing an opinion – it HAS to be based on something. So if you know a place has caused food poisoning on three separate occasions, it's fair comment to say they probably have poor hygeine standards, even though you probably can't prove it.

    Privelege is where you are basing the statement on something said by someone in an official capacity. If a Met Police spokesman, or a magistrate in a hearing, or a councillor in a meeting, says the kebab house was deliberately trying to commit mass murder by poisoning, you can repeat it even if it's totally false. BUT you can't twist their words to make them go further than they were intended, use them maliciously, or rely on anything said outside of an official situation, eg a whispered tip-off. If an FA spokesman in a press conference says that Robbie Savage is a murderous psychopath, you're safe to repeat it. If an opposing manager says it in a post-match rant because one of his players has been carried off with teethmarks in his throat, you're not.

    I think there's a few more arcane defences, but those are the main ones.

    Note what's missing: accidental defamation. It does exist as a defence, but the tests are so stringent that you can forget about ever using it.

    This, by the way, is all the fruit of my journalism training from back in 1990. IF IN DOUBT, FIND A LAWYER.


  11. Now the evening standard has beaten you to it, all naming and shaming is fine! Sure am glad I don't live round that way!

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