The other interesting job yesterday (for with one exception, today was a day full of maternitys and elderly chest pains) was a maternity, but one with a difference.  The patient was supposed to have a home delivery, but the delivery was taking too long, the mother was getting tired, and the baby had meconium stained amniotic fluid.  Meconium is babies first poo.

The midwives decided that it would be better if the baby was delivered in hospital, so called for an ambulance to transport the mother to hospital.

What was different was that the patient lived on a houseboat.

Cue myself, carrying a load of heavy, expensive equipment down narrow docks, narrower walkways and unbelievably narrow boat walkway.  Then out again carrying even more  (of the midwifes equipment).

We have a new version of our computer priority system, one that seems to classify most of our maternity calls as top priority ‘category A’ calls.  This means that I get sent on them.  So I turn up, the mother wonders why I can’t take them to hospital (being on the rapid response car means that I shouldn’t transport anyone), and I stand there making sure that they know that the pain they are currently feeling is slight compared to what is about to happen…

It also surprises me that they will tell Control that the contractions are a minute apart, and yet when I turn up and ask them, the contractions seem to slowed down to one every five or six minutes.


And congratulations to Liz, a frequent commenter who just lost her bump and gained a baby.  And whose blog site, for some reason I can’t load…

I did have one interesting job today, a diabetic with an exceptionally low blood sugar.  I turned up first, gave her some glucagen (which raises blood sugar), and the ambulance turned up.  We got her in the back of the ambulance, and because her blood sugar was so low we thought that giving some sugar straight into the bloodstream would be a good idea.  Our brave paramedic popped a cannula into the back of her hand and got a kick in the head for his trouble. 

Oh, and plenty of laughter from his crewmate and myself.

Obviously he wasn’t hurt, and the patient never meant to kick him, she was just confused.  But it was such an amusing thump with a hilarious hollow sound as she bounced her foot off his skull…

20 thoughts on “Matern-a-water-taxis”

  1. Where I used to live you generally had to pay for an ambulance (in case of abuse) and that was about 300 GBP (if you wasn't insured) and about 600 GBP if a doctor was involved so everything would be cheaper than calling for an ambulance. People always hesitated and made sure it was absolutely necessary because if not you were automatically charged but as long as it is for free where is the point in calling a taxi? (That's my opinion – sad but true and that is NOT a complain about your “fantastic” NHS in this country or something like that)

  2. Thanks for that announcement Tom, yiu made my day lol. My blog wouldnt load for you cos erm, i gave the wrong site (im such an idiot…) there ya go 😀

    Liz & baby Josh 12 days old

  3. OK, am not in revising mood (exam tomorrow, eep) so will tell you why women stop contracting when they get into the ambulance, or when ambulances arrive on the scene.When you're in labour, your body tells you to find the safest place to have the baby. If you are threatened, embarrassed, scared, knackered, any negative thing, you produce catecholamines- the body's defence (so if you were 'in the wild' and threatened by a lion or something you could stop being in labour and run away). So the labour slows down. This is why women have great contractions at home, and come in to hospital and… nothing. And I look after them, make them feel at home (all the while they sit looking perplexed, going 'but they were there…' and I say 'give it half an hour and they will be back'. And sure enough, half an hour and they have relaxed from the change of scenery and the fear of coming in to hospital, and they go back to contracting strongly and they have a baby.

    There's lots of research on it, but I think it's something you need to talk to midwives about because it's not a 'Mother and Baby Magazine' topic, really!


    Nearly Midwife

  4. oh, and for anyone who doesnt know what catecholamines are, they are more generally known as adrenaline and noradrenaline (epinephrine and norepinephrine to the yanks)Merys

  5. Do you only go to CAT A calls (without exception)?What is categorized as a cat a call then?

    How many percent of those calls you are sent to are actually real cat A calls?

    What does DIB mean?

    (if you've mentioned it before I'm sorry I haven't read that much yet and I'm not really familiar with the system) Thanks

  6. I had an argument with my brother-in-law last week about the whole matern-a-taxi thing. They live a couple of miles away and their first child in due in six weeks. I thought I was doing them a favour when I offered to be on hand to give them a lift the hospital when the time was right. Instead, he said “No, we'll just call an ambulance”. I patiently explained that this was probably not a good idea unless something was going seriously wrong (I became a dad for the first time a few years ago – so now a little about the whole childbirth process). Unfortunately, he was utterly insistant that they'd be taking a matern-a-taxi. The NCT classes they'd been taking didn't seem to change their mind either…Fortunately they've now seen sense and, rather than concede I was right and let me or the missus drive them, they're now buying a car. Oh well, better than taking an ambulance, I suppose.

  7. Hey Reynolds, think I saw you today (25) on Prince Regents Lane.You looked really bored. 🙂


  8. I mean.. there are those things you can use in case you haven't got a car.. can't remember how they are called actually.. let me think about it.. was it.. a cab??I know they are more expensive than a 999 call but at the end of the day you should be able to afford them if you're able to afford a child:-) (I mean in general)

  9. Fair enough, although I much prefer my more cynical explanation that people lie all the time to us in order to be assured an ambulance.But I'll begrudgingly bow to your experience. Cheers for the info.

  10. Yep, the address I got was “A boat, XXXXXXX Dock, YYYYYYYY Road”Then the *glorious*…

    “Will be met by partner”.

  11. DIB means “difficulty in breathing”, apologies, I normally don't use too many acronyms, but yesterday I was so tired it slipped past me.As for the CAT questions – I think I'll do a big juicy post about it next week when I'm off work.

  12. Give that man a medal.The problem I have with them, is that they have about 9 months to plan for everything, yet seem to ignore the idea that the woman is (normally) in perfect health, and so doesn't need an ambulance unless, as you say, things are going horribly wrong.

  13. You are probably right, I look bored a hell of a lot.Oh, and I'm in Prince Regents lane a lot as well.

    I'm the only FRU driver with too much hair at the moment. You wern't the weirdo with the scary eyes staring at me from the bus stop were you?

  14. We've got cabs where I am that won't take a woman in labour, because amniotic fluid rots car seats if it gets on them, so their cab is buggered if the waters go while she is in transit.I think it's a BIG waste of everyone's time going in an ambulance though. We thankfully get very few where I am, but I think some years ago it was what you were supposed to do, call an ambulance. My mum certainly went to hospital in an ambulance with us lot. But then she probably didn't get told any different.

    People should just stay at home and have babies and it would be a whole lot simpler 😉

  15. Um, I think I might have been. I was in a bus stop when I saw you, at about half eleven? Didn't realise I was staring, sorry, I wasn't actually looking at you though- the tree was reflecting on the window of your RRU so I was watching that. I don't think you saw me though, you were bashing your hands on the steering wheel with your head tilted backwards, at the time…-PP

  16. (The staring thing was a joke…)I'd imagine it was me then, as I tend to drum and sing along to what I have on the CD player (Probably Alabama 3 if I was singing along).

    Actually, head back = mostly asleep.

  17. They should – I love delivering catching babies.I'll have to ask my mum, but I'm sure she got a bus to hospital when I was about to be born. Either that or she walked…

  18. Well, being as how I was in a bus stop, I wasn't sure.Asleep? You want to be careful, you'll be causing your own RTAs soon. Just make sure I'm not there when you do, right?


  19. I wonder: would it be cost-effective for hospitals to explicitly run a taxi service? After all, presumably ordinary hire cabs make a profit, or they'd go out of business – could the hospital get in on the action, make a small amount of profit, and release some pressure on the ambulance service?

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