First off, a big 'thank you' to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday. You are all very kind. Also a big thank you for keeping the comments in 'Two In Two Nights' so civil. The internet is often used as a place for willy-waving and I am proud that my readers are so atypical of this.
One of our more regular jobs is to the Newham Mental Health Unit (MHU). It is one of the more bizarre side effects of the way that the NHS is structured in that while the MHU shares a physical site with Newham hospital, they are completely different trusts.
As each trust has it's own portering staff, if a patient needs to be moved from the MHU to A&E… they call an ambulance.
So we get calls to patients who need to be moved a grand total of 400 yards down the road. I've worked in hospitals where you would need to wheel patients on trollies for longer distances just to get them to the wards. Unfortunately neither Trust will take responsibility for wheeling patients between the two buildings.
It doesn't help that I'm not enamoured of the medical care of people in the MHU…
Sometimes we will be called for something as simple as a chest infection, or that the patient needs blood tests or an x-ray. Sometimes you will go to something that sounds 'genuine', but which ends up being something simple.
Take for example the last time I went there. The patient was a young girl and her diagnosis was 'Pulmonary Embolism', now this is a serious and life-threatening illness, it is a clot on the lungs which causes severe difficulty in breathing and shock.
This patient however had none of the risk factors or symptoms for this. She was shaking like a person with Parkinsons disease but her vital signs were all normal. Without turning this post into a list of symptoms found and not found she had nothing that suggested an embolism. She had also been in this state for a couple of days.
It looked to me like a toxic amount of one of her anti-psychotics.
Oh well, 400 yards later and she was safely in A&E where they quickly ruled out an embolism and sent her back to the MHU with one of the private contract ambulances. I'd be interested to see how much that trip cost the hospital.
The cause of her illness?
A higher than normal level of anti-psychotic in her blood.