I'm 'third manning' at the moment, which is a way of easing me back into work. I'm a third person on an ambulance, which means I get to see how other people work.
We were called to a man who had been pushed over following an arguement over payment at a shop. The man (the customer) was sitting on the floor wailing and shouting as our patients who feel aggrieved often do.
My mate attempted to get a history from the patient, but he refused to talk to us. He would talk to his friend, but not to the ambulance crew who were trying to help him. He was being generally obstructive.
We gathered, from other people, that he had a painful leg – he didn't tell us this himself, he just ranted about how he wanted the person who had pushed him over arrested.
So, without being able to get a verbal history my mate decided that he would physically examine him – so he got out his scissors and cut the trousers off of the patient so that he could examine the injured leg. The patient still refused to talk to us, he was too busy trying to get the other man 'nicked'.
I mean – he'd been pushed over, he was hardly going to hurt himself in anything but a most minor way…
Except that his femur – the strongest bone in the body had snapped.
We have no idea how this could happen in a middleaged man with no other illnesses and (after the x-ray) no sign of pathological bone disease. It's the sort of job that you pick the person up off the floor, dust them off and they refuse to go to hospital.
So we got him into the back of the ambulance to discover that the traction splint that we would normally use was missing a small, but vitally important, bit.
So I got the job of hanging on his leg providing traction while my mate gave him some excellent painkillers and *his* crewmate drove us into hospital.
The hospital was impressed as well.
It's a good job my mate decided to be 'evil' and cut his trouser legs off. The patient didn't have an accident history to suggest a broken bone, the patient themself didn't suggest a broken bone and we could have quite happily taken to lifting him off the floor.
There is a reason why we don't cut the clothes off everyone who falls over, it costs them money, it's very cold at the moment and it's frankly undignified. But now I'm wondering if I need to start stripping everyone I come across…