The Black Dog Has Been Taken Outside And Shot

I left work this morning with a song in my heart and joy in my step, last night was my last shift on the FRU car.

No longer will I be standing around with my hands in my pockets for 45 minutes while a six month old child lays in front of me with possible meningitis.  No more will I be told by Control to go and drive around and look busy when there is something good on telly, and no longer will my only conversation with people consist mainly of “where does it hurt?” for twelve hours straight.

I have four days off, and then from Friday I’m back to working on a ‘truck’, a nice big person carrying medical-taxi truck.


The Driving Instructor (frequent commenter and jolly good read) asked if I would miss the FRU.  Does this answer your question?

I was hoping that this last shift would fly by in an exciting cascade of trauma, life-saving and dramatic illness.


It was actually a fairly quiet night, I did seven jobs, four of them being people with coughs (one cough having lasted three weeks before he decided to call an ambulance at 5am in the morning), my last call was to an elderly gentleman with emphysema (and a cough) who actually needed hospital treatment.

However – my first two calls were to drunks.

The first call was a young man, who after having an argument with his family drank a bottle of wine and pretended to be unconscious.  We loaded him into the ambulance, and as I had a ‘funny feeling’ about the job I traveled in the ambulance with the patient and the ambulance crew.  During the transport it seemed that he took a dislike to me and opened his eyes just enough to plant a heavy slap to the inside of my leg.

I may have swore at him.

My second job was a ‘classic’ – ‘Male collapsed in street, unknown life status – caller refusing to go near patient or answer any questions’.  So I rushed round there and found two female police officers standing over a drunk male who was asleep in the street.  I did all my normal checks to makes sure that he was only drunk (as opposed to being drunk and in a diabetic coma, drunk and has had a stroke, or drunk and has been stabbed).  Everything pointed to him being just drunk.

We woke him up and were prepared to send him on his way.  He stood up – took one look at me, and smacked me in the mouth.

I ‘assisted’ him onto the floor.  The police officers and I then stopped him from injuring himself by sitting on him in a professional manner.

The police have been trained in restraint – they are all careful because they don’t want people dying of positional asphyxia.  I haven’t been trained in restraint (well not in the ambulance service) but I’m guessing that someone isn’t going to die because I’m kneeling over their arm while holding their wrist.

So we carefully restrained him (for around twenty five minutes), while he explained how he was either going to kick my head in, or sue me.  By then the police had tracked down a, now mortified, relative who came and took him away.

No damage done to me, although I would think that as he wakes up this morning he’ll have a number of bruises.  I hopped in my car, told Control that I had been assaulted twice in two jobs, so I asked if I could head back to station for a calming cup of tea – which they let me.  They also made sure that I was alright and didn’t need any other help.

As a question to any police officers reading this.  The man was drunk and had (in a minor fashion) assaulted me, and attempted to assault two police officers, yet there was a real reluctance to arrest him.  I’m wondering if this is because there would be little or no chance of there being a prosecution?  Or is there some other reason?  I’m not moaning, just curious…

When my mother found out about my being assaulted, did she ask how I was?  Did she ask if I had been hurt, or damaged?


Her comment was “At least you’ll have something interesting to blog about”.

Bloody lovely that is…


23 thoughts on “The Black Dog Has Been Taken Outside And Shot”

  1. What charming people you get to play with as part of your job. Reminds me of the lovely sods I met today while in the waiting room of Slough hospital. One decided he was bored and summoned a nurse to fix the aerial on the communal TV after comandeering it to the snooker. The nurse told him that was as good as the picture was going to get so he tried to start a fight with her. I stepped in and told him to be quiet and let her get on with her job, so he starts on me and does the whole “lets take this outside thing”. I pointed to my boyfriend who had severe lacerations to his face and ended up having plastic surgery and a skin graft due to falling off his bike this morning and said “If I can do that without even trying, Imagaine what I could do to you”. he promptly shut up, but I was appalled that everyone he spoke to he treated with such disrespect when I was brought up with the highest respect for medical people as at the end of the day they might be the one to save my life.

  2. well at least you had more jobs yesterday than we did! I presume the assault is exactly why they won't let me go out on nights observing!!

  3. Well, if you will do your ride-outs in foreign places (anywhere outside the M25)…Try East London – out at the start of your shift, and you won't see the station until the end of your shift.


    (I've been watching that video again…)

  4. You were assaulted by a drunk in front of two police officers and they were reluctant to arrest him????So as far as they're concerned, this guy can wake up in the morning thinking it's OKAY to get pissed to the point of passing out in the street and on waking, land one on a person who's trying to help him? A person in an NHS uniform, no less?

    Enjoy your few days off 🙂

  5. Mums eh?! That reminds me of John Cleese's story about meeting his Mother off the train in his first very posh car (Bentley, Roller??, I forget) to show her he'd 'made it', and her first question was…Are you sure you can afford the petrol?Hahaha…they just have that way about them sometimes.

  6. Her comment was At least youll have something interesting to blog about.It keeps us happy though! Seriously though Tom, thanks for all your work on the FRV. Really interesting to see the job from a frontline position, thanks.

  7. I wonder if Think Geek could do you a sew on badge that says “I'm blogging this”… oh how often have I been threatened with the t-shirt that says that on… I settled for “No I will not fix your computer”.So will you be commenting on the FRU's from Friday… from another person's perspective?

  8. > Her comment was At least youll have something interesting to blog about.Tell her she made me laugh out loud at work. That's an accomplishment. Thanks to you both!

  9. I'm with batsgirl on this one. Surely two police officers and a your good self are ample witnesses to the incident to get a conviction?! But I suppose then you'd have to find an appropriate sentence, which is probably much harder to achieve. Maybe just a calming night in the cells and no hangover treatments might do the trick 😉

  10. What if you'd said you wanted the bastard charged for assaulting you? would the cops have done something then?Suppose it would depend how close it was to the end of their shift.

    Mothers always seem to have a weird perspective on things dont they?.

  11. Enjoy your four days off.When you get back remember ambulance – bigger than FRU, tight gaps bad idea.

    take care

    Do you have a pseudonym for your new 'partner' yet?

  12. The police cells were probably full, I am astonished at the difference in behaviour you can (or cannot) get away with in respect to space left in cells.I've seen a man arrested for simply swearing at a copper he was upset and would have got away with it in different circumstances.

    I have also been astonished in what people can “get away with” including assaulting NHS staff.

    Sadly its not worth the hassle us poor nhs types pursuing the matter ourselves, I would like to see that these incidents reported AND FOLLOWED UP. I.e. have the service follow up assaults.

  13. I'm sure A&E departments in hospitals get their share of violence too but in my experience, its actually at its worst in acute psychiatric wards. Violence and assaults are sadly far too common and I'm sure there's a massive amount of under-reporting going on as many nurses view it as part of their job. As for involving the police, dream on. They won't do anything as the person who has just smacked you in the face, or attempted to come at you with broken glass has “mental health issues.” Certainly, if they are genuinely “mad” and not responsible for their actions then fair enough as they'll be “assisted” to the floor and injected. However, its the ones who are “bad” that really piss me off as they play the system. They know the police will never charge them as they have “mental health issues” and basically can do what they want. Acute psychiatric wards tend to attract these sort of people and they're always nightmare patients and nasty pieces of work. And as for drug dealers targeting the wards, don't get me started!!!

  14. Disappointing performance on the part of your coppers; I can't believe they put up with this guy's shit. If that happened here in the States, that guy would have woken up in a jail cell, probably with more than just a few bruises, but then we're generally less tolerant of many types of 'behaviour' than you guys in the UK (death penalty stands out in my mind). In many states it's actually a felony to assault ambulance personnel.

  15. The only adequate reason that I can think of for the officers not arresting that man is that they thought he was too drunk and as such would be too great a health risk to be brought to a police station. I know… it sounds stupid but it does happen. However, I would imagine that it's more likely to be a combination of laziness and the end of shift approaching.

  16. Day of typing up the report, only for local court to toss it , because the bleeder suddenly has an hearing english problem, or the Man in Blue said an un PC word and he be the one ending up in the can. ?dungbeetle

  17. In Oz there is no reluctance at all on charging almost anyone who assaults an ambo. The ambulance service and police are very proactive on this front. An assault on one type of uniform….The one area where they are reluctant is where there is a question of a psych hx. The police are under impression that charges wont hold up in court. Have explained many times that just because there is some psych element involved does not mean that insight was absent nor absolve personal responsibilty for actions

  18. darling,at least your mum said something along the line,told my mom that i'm quiting my job and going somewhere,not sure where and she responded:i'm going in the backyard to pull the weeds:)so you see our moms might be sisters:)

    love your stories:)

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