I don't like it when we get 'dropped calls', where someone has called for an ambulance, yet put the phone down (or been cut off) before all the details have been given. I don't like it because, without all the information in place it is hard to get a 'feel' for how dangerous the job might be.
I don't like being stabbed.
The call as we got it was 'child reporting mother cutting wrists', then the child hung up. This could run the whole spectrum of calls from a hoax to a psychotic woman running around with a kitchen knife. I've been to both types of call, and it's why I don't get too wound up by hoaxes…
We arrived to find the police already on scene, Control had called them in advance as they had realised that the scene may well be dangerous. The two police officers were standing outside the address, they had been unable to gain access and were contemplating kicking the door down.
“Is everything alright?”, a woman shouted down from the flat above our position.
We explained that we were looking for the woman of the house and asked if the neighbour had seen her.
“She left about ten minutes go, her and her husband got into a car and drove off”.
I used my finely tuned experience of watching CSI to note that there was no sign of blood in the area and drew my conclusion that the call had been a hoax.
“Hey!, ambulance man with his nose to the floor looking for pools of blood”, the neighbour shouted again, “her son is over there by your ambulance, maybe you can ask him”.
The police and I walked over to where we had parked, the child was talking to my crewmate who rolled his eyes as we approached.
“I'm sorry I called you”, the ten year old said, “My mum was angry at me, so she locked herself in the bathroom and told me that she was cutting her wrists. So I called for an ambulance, but she was only pretending. Then mum and dad threw me out of the house and they drove off in the car. I don't know where they went”.
One of the police officers asked the child if he had any relatives he could stay with. The child knew of no adults to lok after him.
“Sounds like a social problem”, I said to one of the police officers.
“Not a job for an ambulance”, I continued.
“Nope”, the police officer looked crestfallen with the amount of paperwork that he was going to have to do. I've read enough police blogs to realise that any job involving children is a huge pain, more so I would think if the child has been through the experience this one had been through.
“We'll be off then”, I said with only a little schadenfreude. I could trust the police to look after this situation.
Little was I to know that our next encounter would be with a stereotypical 'world's worst mother'.
To be continued…