Bit Of A Surprise

I got a call at about 5:30 in the morning to a “Collapsed female” with “shouting in the background”, not normally a problem, so I took advantage of the empty streets and raced there.
I narrowly avoided crashing into the ambulance also coming to the job from another direction, and so we both arrived at the house at the same time.

The patient was a middle aged woman who had been drinking with her family, and then there had been some sort of argument, and she was feigning unconsciousness.

Nothing unusual there.

Remind me to someday tell you how we recognise when people are pretending to be unconscious.

Still no problem – that the family, while concerned, were happy to agree that the patient was actually 'faking it'.

I went out to my car to pick up a bit of kit, just in order to rule out anything medically wrong with the patient, and on the way back two men in a car parked outside asked me what was going on.

“Nothing serious”, I replied, and went back into the building.

It was then that the sole male of the house cried out, “Who's shouting outside my house”, and went outside.

I ignored him, and we finished checking over the patient as suspected there was nothing medically wrong with her.

Then the male came storming back into the house, grabbed two kitchen knives and ran outside again.

The ambulance crew and myself thought that this would be a good time to call for the police…

We sneaked out of the house, and stood by the ambulance – meanwhile the six women who had just left the house looked as if they were (a) arguing amongst themselves, and (b) about to tear the men in the car to pieces.

The final result of the arguing, holding people back, pushing and shoving, and shrieking at the top of their lungs, was that the car drove off at high speed, missing me by about half a yard. Meanwhile the argument continued between the sisters/cousins/whoever.

The police did turn up (and to their credit, turn up very quickly), and while they went about collecting statements there was various talk about samarai swords and the like being waved around (which isn't too surprsing in this particular part of East London). We left the police dealing with what seemed to be some form of family feud.

Returning to station, we were all stood down by the duty station officer, so that we could fill in the relevant paperwork.

On reflection three things spring to mind,

1) None of us were wearing our stab vests – and probably wouldn't have felt safe even if we had.

2) Why, when I had my own mobile phone, my FRU car phone, and my work emergency phone, did I use the household landline phone when calling the police?

3) And finally, is it wrong to think “With the paperwork we now need to do, this job'll see me to the end on my shift”?

The 'phone' thing was probably because my brain saw it there, and thought 'I can dial 999 on that', rather than taking longer on wondering which pocket of many my mobile phones are in. Thus my brain was able to concentrate on the whole 'not getting stabbed' thing.

29 thoughts on “Bit Of A Surprise”

  1. given the nature of the call did you not feel the need to wait for police to attend before you pulled up on scene.Did the crew intend on doing so , or as so often happens only did when they found out that you had pulled on scene and felt duty bound to do the same.

    I used to go into most things without the police. Until I went to a 25 y.o.m who had overdosed, who when we were in his flat decided to lock us in his living room and start to make threats to kill us (and mean it)

  2. There is a system available now, combined mobile phone/personal radio with built in sat aerial and big red button for emergency use. Press it and gps co-ordinates are put on control room screen. Tried to get it for my staff.

  3. They were noisy, but seemed alright until the male completely over-reacted to the people outside his house. Partly why I think this is a long running thing…And it really _does_ help when the call-taker mentions that there is something out of the ordinary about the call – it lets us walk into a job awake, rather than half asleep like I normally do.

  4. I *think*, and I may be wrong here – that some District nurses have such a system…To be fair our “emergency mobile phone” has a similar premise – but also has lots of useful numbers on it – so it may be a bit redundant, and a 'big easy to hit button' _will_ get hit by mistake.

    But I do like your idea, because while we wouldn't need it often – when we did need it, we would _really_ need it.

  5. Work provide us with our emergency phone – with special phone number that goes to ambulance control and is (supposed) to be picked up immediately.And these students…are they the same ones who go galavanting around town at 3am drunk and without shoes, walking back alone through darkened streets from one nightclub to another?

    Just asking (based on my nurse training experience).

    And to be honest, I didn't particularly feel 'unsafe' and any point – more worried that someone would be stabbed and I'd have to do some real work.

  6. The stab vests are apparently pretty good and can stop anything short of a rifle bullet. Not that I'd like to put it to the test.

  7. Well…If the dispatch have mentioned something that I don't like, then I _will_ wait for the police (normally stuff like “upset, cut self, locked in bedroom”, I don't like that because they have cut themselves and so have something sharp, are probably not in the most rational frame of mind and are hiding behind a door that I can't see past.)

    But most of the time, especially things that are happening in the street, I'll rely on my 'danger sense' assessment of the scene.

    And at all times the desire for someone to hurt me is going to be a lot less than my desire to run away. So if I have to run I have the motivational edge.

    And for the reason you give in your comment, I tend to stay between the patient and the exit, so that I have a clear run.

    At least working on my own I don't have to worry about a slower running colleague…

    (Or rely on them running slower than me).

  8. An advantage of using the house phone is that if you were unable to actually speak to the operator to explain the situation, they would at least know where you were located and maybe able to work out what was going on in the background and send the appropriate response. Unfortunately, in Australia anyway, they would only get the billing address details on a mobile call through CLI.Cheers Spike

  9. By using the landline, though, you didn't have to pass along your location, right? So really you were being ueber-efficient and clever!

  10. I have a feeling I took that call. Terribly noisy people, they were, if it's the ones I was thinking of.

  11. I wonder… someone should invent a small transponder that you all could carry. It could have a GDPS feature, and one big, easy-to-push-in-a-scuffle button. It should also have a carabeener clip on it, so you could clip it on your person. Hit it, and it's the same as you calling the cops. The technology is certainly there, just in other forms.

  12. Do work provide you with an “emergency phone” or is this your invention? – Were having terible troubble at the moment with students refusing to goto community calls alone. – which is their right! The unions say that we've got to be supervised 100% of the time.. But supervision is open to interpretation. Did you feel safer having two extra ambo bods with you or would you rarther they not be in the situation and you only needed to look after No.1Just Wondering….

    (Learning Nursing) off for another 12 hour shift with a mentor who hates me.

  13. I always hated those family confrontations. I had one son of a patientonce who ran after us with a baseball bat. And people ask me why I

    don't work on an ambulance anymore…. Oh, and my favourite way to

    tell the fakers was always the hand drop. Rather unfortunate if they are

    not faking, but then they are unconscious and won't remember anyway.

  14. The stab vests that pub bouncers wear do their job. I used to work as a pub chef and the bouncers took great delight on testing my knives in each others jackets. House phone is safer. I sit between 2 mobile masts and can often not get a signal.

  15. I collapse quite regularly but am only ever unconscious for a few seconds.Some of the things people have been trying to do to me to see if I'm faking it have been very annoying as I've come round… “huh? oh, I'm on the floor, ow, I hurt.. AAARGH! I'm conscious already, you didn't have to pour water over me!”

  16. Trouble is, that time of time, there is something unusual about most of the calls, but I do try to make a note of it.There was a bit of a drama last night when a crew was nearly assaulted by a man with sore testicles… the crew rang in and complained that the call taker hadn't warned them that he was abusive and we had to dredge up the call to find that he was actually the picture of politeness to the call taker and that she had no idea he was going to kick off. I guess some people just don't like green.

  17. “Remind me to someday tell you how we recognise when people are pretending to be unconscious.”Please do!

  18. Now, see this was the one I was picturing. When I showed my (squeamishly un-medical) spouse this one, he thought it was terribly funny. He had to make me try it on him several times.He wants to try the hand drop on a real unconscious person someday.

  19. I was told a good starting method – hold patients hand above their face then release – if hand falls onto face (and of course, you would catch it…) then they are probably unconcious, if the hand stays in the air, they are not.True or false ?

  20. “Remind me to someday tell you how we recognise when people are pretending to be unconscious.”Is it that unconscious people, like sleeping people, don't swallow and conscious people do?

  21. Not true!!!! The hand does not stay in the air. It falls right above their head.Only the really unconscious hit themselves in the face….

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