I honestly can't believe it, a Friday night and I went to someone who had genuinely been mugged.
Please allow me to explain…
Now, I may be accused of being overly cynical and those accusers may have a fair point, but given the amount of street violence that I see I have come to a few conclusions.
(1) Many people who get beaten up have done something to 'deserve' it. even if it is a stupid, childish or other pointless reason.
(2) As someone wiser than I said, 'For instant a$$hole, just add alcohol' – a large amount of beatings are fueled by alcohol.
(3) Truly 'random' violence is very rare.
This is what gives me confidence when I'm walking down the otherwise frightening streets in the dangerous parts of town during the hours of darkness. I'm not involved in drugs or gangs. I have no bank of 'respect' that I have to protect and, for this year at least, I'm not drunk and combative. This means that it is unlikely for myself to get mugged.
In the three and a half or so years I've been doing this job I can count the number of genuine muggings I've gone to on the fingers of one hand. This is obviously a good thing, I'd rather have frequent jobs to drug dealers who have beaten each other up than to an innocent who has just been robbed. With the former you can turn up and treat them while with the latter there is a distinct feeling that you will feel sorry for them – something that does your 'ambulance street-cred' no good whatsoever.
The poor soul that I attended to had been punched in the face and the criminals had stolen his bag. The local kebab shop had taken the victim in, had called the police and ambulance and had sorted him out with a towel (for his bust lip) and a bottle of water. The unreported kindness of strangers often makes my job bearable.
I was first on scene and quickly determined that while shocked, he wasn't seriously hurt. He'd need hospital treatment for a cut lip and eye, but wasn't in any danger to life or limb.
The 'street crime' squad arrived a minute or two after us, we let them use the back of our ambulance as an impromptu interview room so that they could get a description of the attackers. Two of the team questioned the patient, my crewmate attended to his injuries, meanwhile I stood outside (to give them room) and chatted with the final officer. As is often the case the police were sympathetic and professional.
With the details collected we took the patient and his friend to the local hospital. The problem the patient has is this – as the injury itself is fairly minor, they are often a low priority and are sent out into the waiting room. But I think that the psychological trauma of being mugged should warrant a cup of tea and a bit of a sit down somewhere quiet (not out in the waiting room with the noisy drunks). Unfortunately this doesn't happen because there aren't the resources available and this is a damn shame.
This is why we try to make the transport to hospital as nice as possible, as it's often the last time they'll get proper one-to-one care.
Today in 'school' we had a whole day on 'diversity', while I don't think it taught us East London crews anything new it was more interesting than expected. I have no idea what is in store for me tomorrow.