Medical stuff is easy, I know exactly what to do when someone is having a heart attack, has a broken leg, or has driven their car at speed into a wall.
It's the 'social' stuff that is really tricky.
3am in the morning, and I find myself going to a call, “Female, fell down stairs”. On arriving outside the flats I heard two people arguing, and initially the female wouldn't let me into the flat. Then a young looking boy (he looked and sounded about 13 to me), 'buzzed' me into the flat.
The patient had a black eye, and a possible broken nose. She was covered in blood and was extremely upset.
She also refused to go to hospital, because she had her young daughter asleep upstairs.
The patient maintained that she had been out drinking, while the young looking lad had been looking after her daughter – she didn't want to go to hospital because she didn't want to leave her daughter with the lad anymore.
I did confront her over being happy leaving her daughter to go drinking, but not to go to the hospital – she was still determined not to go to hospital
I also asked her if she was telling the truth, and that she hadn't been assaulted. She stuck to her story that she had simply fallen down the stairs.
Unfortunately, I can't drag people off to hospital, and even if I could, I'd have to arrange care for the young daughter.
I asked the young man how old he was, and he told me he was 22.
If he is 22 then he has some serious hormone imbalance problems, as his voice hadn't broken.
So, I had a woman who looked to me as if she had been punched, refusing to go to hospital. I had a 13 year old boy (or thereabouts) looking after her and her daughter. And I had heard them both arguing loudly from the street about something.
I couldn't just leave them like that. But what to do?
At 3am, there is only really one thing to do – although I hated doing it.
Call the police.
Contacting Social Services would have taken weeks to sort out the problem, and there was nothing us ambulance folk could do – so that left the police.
I know that they are busy, I know that they don't like attending this sort of thing, and I know that their hands are tied as much as mine. But I live in hope that they could do something about this situation – at the very least get it calmed down.
I'm still not 100% sure that I did the right thing, but compared to ignoring the problem I think that getting the police involved is 'the path of least evil'.
For all I know they have a huge file on this woman.
So, to all the police who read this blog – Sorry.