“Report on arrival”, it's something that Control ask us to do when a call seems serious. It's really a way of reminding us that if we need extra ambulances or the HEMS team to help deal with a difficult call.
This job was to a 'fall from height'. to be honest I was a bit worried about what we would find.
The patient was a ninety-five year old man, he had needed to change a lightbulb on his upstairs landing. He had gotten a stepladder, climbed up it and in the process of undoing the bulb had toppled backwards.
He'd fallen, cracking his head on the lintel of the bathroom door, he'd then rolled down his stairway before coming to rest halfway down the stairs.
When we arrived he had picked himself up and was sitting on the downstairs sofa. His concerned neighbours (who were the ones that called us) had already changed the lightbulb for him.
A quick examination showed exactly two injuries. He had a small bleeding wound on his arm and he also had a bump on the back of his head.
He hadn't hurt his neck, he hadn't been knocked out, he hadn't broken any of his frail looking bones.
He was also a very nice chap.
While I can often examine someone to decide if they have injured their neck, and indeed this patient apparently didn't have any neck injury, in this case I thought that it would be best to err on the side of caution. Ninety-five year olds tend to have crunchy bones.
Half of this job is how you relate to people, so I told the patient that I was going to strap him down to our spinal board so that when he got to hospital he wouldn't be sent out into the waiting room but would instead be seen immediately. It's sometimes better to say this than, 'You may have broken your neck and I don't want you dying as we go over one of the many speedbumps on the way to hospital'.
So we took the patient to hospital – they saw him straight away and it was determined that he had indeed only minor injuries.
A very lucky fellow. And we didn't need the HEMS team, which is good, because when I do need them it means that someone has been seriously injured.
Ergh – I can't type today. I think the heat has made my fingers swell up…