We were met at the door by a man whose face was covered in blood. The blood wasn’t his.
There were two ambulances parked outside, one of which was mine. There was also a FRU. We had been given the job as ‘Male, suspended’ and if the manpower is there then Control will send two ambulances. As we were all running from our station we had followed each other down the road.
We had arrived on scene to find the man, in his 50s the only living person in the house, his mouth was covered in the blood of his childhood friend. Standing outside were a lot of crying women. Laying on the kitchen floor was our patient, he was surrounded by blood. There was blood on the cupboards and the walls, there was blood on the floor. In the sink there was blood and lumps of lung tissue.
It was obvious that we were not going to be able to do anything for him.
His friend had been doing mouth-to-mouth, but the blood that filled his lungs had rendered this best of intentions useless.
The patient had been suffering from lung cancer. While watching the telly he had developed a coughing fit and, coughing over the sink, had showered everything with blood and then died.
So we did what we thought was best. After talking to the relatives, we cleaned the kitchen and our patient, we took away the blood-soaked clothes. Putting a dressing in his mouth to prevent leakage we placed our patient in a carry chair and took him upstairs and placed him in his bed. Once there we arranged him so that he looked like he was sleeping.
By the time we were finished the kitchen was spotless, the patient was clean and looked restful.
We then helped the family get in contact with the undertaker and with the GP. We offered them the only help that we could – they had lost their husband, their father and their friend. We couldn’t save his life, but we could try to reduce the hurt in those who he left.
And you go away from a job like that thinking that you did some good, even though you didn’t save a life.