Twit One And Twit Two

I've just finished the fifth 12 hour shift of seven and am both tired and angry. It's been a slow build with very few 'worthy' jobs, the normal roster of drunk and people who can't be bothered to see a GP.

But I have a story of pure stupidity to entertain you.

A man brings his little child into A&E because she has suffered a very minor injury, not treatment required to be honest. While in the department he starts to feel unwell.

So he goes home.

And dials 999 and calls for an ambulance.

…Which he obviously gets, and is returned to the exact same department that he recently left.

I wonder how he can breathe and walk at the same time.

We do sometimes get people who turn up at the A&E department, decide that they don't want to wait, so go home and call an ambulance thinking that it will get them seen quicker. This is the first time that I've heard this particular variation on a theme.

My last job of the shift was for a drunk 16 year old girl who had called an ambulance because “She has drunk too much”.

So we whizz round to the hostel and find her just having vomited on her carpet. We start off being nice but she is obviously playing us around so I decide to be honest with her.

“Why did you call an ambulance?”, I ask.

“Because I don't feel well”, she replies.

“Why do you think that is?”

“Why do you think!”, she pretty much shouts at me.

“Is it because you drank too much alcohol?”, I remain polite throughout this questioning.


“Don't you think that ambulances have better things to do than pick up drunks?”, I venture.


“I mean, I should be going to dying babies and people having heart attacks shouldn't I?”


“No? Is that because you consider yourself the centre of the Universe and therefore much more important than other people?”


“More important than babies choking to death?”

“Yes – stop being rude!”

“I'm not being rude, I'm just asking some questions”

“Be quiet”

“Ok, please be comfortable on our trolley bed, but do try to stop spitting on the floor of the ambulance, I find it most disgusting”.

And then we took her to hospital where she will no doubt sleep it off on a comfortable hospital trolley before returning home and getting someone else to clean up the vomit burns to the carpet. But of course I was the one who had to mop out the ambulance where she had been spitting.

I do wonder why I do this job sometimes.

34 thoughts on “Twit One And Twit Two”

  1. Just be glad you're not in Israel. People call for ambulances for two reasons which have nothing to do with emergencies: (1) if they take themselves to A&E the health fund won't pay unless they are admitted to hospital (the health funds run walk-in clinics but the waits are usually long), and (2) if it is on a Sabbath or Jewish holiday a religious Jew cannot ride in any conveyance unless it is a life-or-death emergency. He doesn't have to decide whether he's dying or not, but going in an ambulance makes it an “emergency” (Even so, I've known religious Jews, supposedly really ill, to specify a “non-Jewish driver” when calling for an ambulance, because it's religiously “better”.

  2. …Because she wanted to go to hospital and we aren't allowed to refuse.If the patient wants to go then, unless they are abusive, we have to take them. Even for a papercut.

  3. Not really – it's because I like driving down the wrong side of the road…*grin*

    But seriously I think that you have hit the nail on the head – it's because I can go to sleep at night knowing that I'm trying to make the world a bit better, if only for one person.

  4. I think it was entirely appropriate and completely professional. If it means that that time-wasting, boozed and brainless toejam will think twice before diverting our limited emergency service resources for their own entertainment, then you will have done a great service for your country! Bravo!

  5. Because every so often you give someone back their mum/dad/brother/sister/partner, which is worth it even if it's only for a few extra hours.Hang in there, soon you'll have another job where you're glad you could make a difference

  6. I don't know why you do it either. Maybe it's because you couldn't bear watching from the sidelines. Despite the stupidity and tragedy you've probably known rewards that few people will ever experience. Is it really about helping people? I wouldn't have thought so (not that that isn't important). It's more about getting amongst it, being part of something. Isn't that right?

  7. I know you are not there to pick up drunks but I don't think you have got the right to talk to your patients like that either, sorry.I love your blog and I appreciate the work you do but I don't think what you said was appropriate and/or professionell! And whats the point? She doesnt bother.

    I was a bit shocked when I read it to be honest 🙁

  8. Personally I thought it was perfectly appropriate, and who knows, maybe when she has sobered up or grown up a bit some of it might just sink in.I wouldn't dare do your job Tom, I wouldn't be able to contain myself with a line of pointed questions. If I was there I'd worry that by the time they got to A&E they'd definitely be needing it…

  9. I don't suppose talking to her like that will have made any difference, but *someone* has to get it through her thick, staggeringly selfish head that calling an ambulance in that situation was utterly inappropriate. Tom's right – someone could have died needlessly because of her.

  10. It does read a little harsh, I suppose, but given the circumstances, I think it was entirely justified! I don't mean to have a go at you “Guest Blogger”, but there is a limit to the number of time wasting drunks any human being can physically see before they want to strangle one of them!Anyway, a 16 year old girl shouldn't be drinking! She's got her whole life ahead of her, and she needs help to turn it around. She won't receive that help if each time she does drink, she ends up being taken to Hospital by a nice polite Ambulance crew, and then being pampered whilst in hospital by those lovely Nurses. Where's the incentive to change?!

    Molly-cuddling seems not to work, so maybe it's time to use a bit harsher treatment. Such as the Police arresting people when they're drunk and disorderly, rather than just ringing for an Ambulance…

    Just my 1.08's worth.



  11. Exactly what I was thinking!And maybe for that rare Thank you.

    You are great and so are all your collegues, and , having been treated by you guys in an emergency just want to say I appreciate you!

  12. i totally aggree with what you said to her, but why on earth did you convey her to hospital??? she could have quite easly slept it off at home.. she did not need to take up a bed that some one who as ILL could have used…i know i would have left her at home..

  13. why do youthink it was inaproprate for him to speak to her like that? have you any idea how frustrating it its to do years of training just to end up with drunks giving you abuse.. what a waste of time and resourses!!!!Drunks are not physically ill.. they do not need hospitals to sleep it off!!!

    they may need mental health services, but they also need to seek this help themselves

  14. I still find it astonishing that you are not allowed to leave these people where they are. Surely someone medical can come up with a protocol for dealing with this kind of scenario. Preferably one that involves the police and a fine of some sort. And as for “Guest Blogger” – Tom was not rude. His questions were perfectly reasonable and to the point and (by his own account at least) made in a civil tone of voice. It would only have been rude if he'd shouted or sworn at her.

  15. You gotta love that state of affairs!The Ambulance Service seems to get used by members of the public as nothing more than a low-cost Taxi. Well, low-cost is a bit of of an exaggeration. No-cost, really.

    What's to stop a person ringing for an Ambulance with “stomach pains”. Getting a lift up to A&E, and as you off-load them, getting magically better and discharging themselves from your care and popping into the Shopping Centre next door?



  16. I learned that most who think of us as a free taxi soon change their tune when we tell them the will have to get a taxi home, though we have about 10-15 miles to take them in to A&E . Problem is, there's too many who seem to forget that while the NHS and it's ambulances may be free and readily availible, they soon forget that ambulances are intended as an emergency medical service, not for some selfish tosser who expects everyone else to sort their miserable life out pronto. No excuse, never. I mean a drunk 16 year old… what on earth do the parents do with raising kids?I hate the drunks. I hate the idiots who abuse the 999 service. I hate the fact that every minute delt with the two twits you mention is time away from actually dealing with somebody who actually needs help. QED.

    Shame about your floor Tom. An old hand once told me of his way for dealing with drunks (more the male ones). Unbutton the first two or three buttons of their shirt. When they want to be sick, most usually put their heads down, you simply lift the shirt up to cover their mouths and…we'll, you can guess the rest.

  17. I wonder why you do a job like this too Tom, you are far too good a person to have to deal with trash like that.Sometimes the scale of peoples arrogance and stupidity leaves me lost for words 🙁

  18. I don't think Tom was being rude at all. But that girl was probably too drunk to remember what he said. However, he was right to take her to the hospital. A friend of mine's teenage son once drank so much vodka, he had to have his stomach pumped, and he had severe alcohol poisoning. (My friend's medical insurance wouldn't cover his hospital treatment, because of a little clause about injuries or illness that are the result of illegal activity, and underage drinking is illegal. My friend made her son pay back every penny of his hospital bill with his after school job money!) I've heard of college kids dying after a night of binge drinking. It's potentially really serious, even if we're disgusted by their behaviour.

  19. i think it was totally appropriate. obviously she is not getting told the truth and it seems it was about time she heard the truth. well done for helping her there.

  20. that is so funny. you really had me laughing. the contrast of the ridiculous interwoven into the seriousness that is our work. i love it.

  21. Tom, I applaud you for having the guts to say that to her when I imagine most people wouldn't have been brave enough to speak up. People need to realise we are very priviledged to have the NHS in this cuntry and we should respect it and not abuse it.

  22. i'm not sure the decision to take him to hospital has much to do with how disgusted we are. most of my professional career has been dedicated to the “scum of the earth”. what i think of them can't play a part in my treatment of them. i do my job. that is all. i think he had to take her to the hospital because that is his job. i think he is great.

  23. I asked a drunk 16-year-old how long he'd been a complete plonker. This was after he had turned up in my department, completely unconscious, then when he woke up, he claimed he didn't know what had happened. Problem was, he had taken photos of himself on his mobile phone, drinking in the school playground. Plonker!! Sometimes you have to just tell them straight. Go, Tom.

  24. Sorry mate. They do it all the time. Its a rare Saturday night where I don't convey someone with curious symptoms who also curiously lives within a mile of the hospital. We know we're being stitched up, they know they're stitching us up, but still we have to convey them……AND be professional and polite. You know what Tom? You go guy!!

  25. wow that really does demonstrate the difference betwenn services, i work for a large but mainly rural service, and we can decide weather a pateint would benifit from a hosptal visit, and they cant just demand to go if there is not reason.. however i wouldnt stand and argue with someone about this, but i can probally count on one hand the number of drunks i have taken to A&E, some of our local police are very good and will arrest from D&I if we say they dont need a&E and they are in a public place…keep up with the blog tho.. oh and excuse the poor spelling.. just finished a very long night shift with a late job on the end..

  26. I have to say I marvel at your ability to remain calm and civil in the face of overwhelming stupidity and selfishness. Had I been you I'd have been tempted to drive the ambulance to the nearest canal and tip the drunken bint into it. That'd sober her up a bit.

  27. I think Tom was right to try to get through to the girl and I don't think he was rude or un-professional at all. Dealing wtih drunk people can be seriously frustrating. I worked in a+e as a student at christmas time and the amount of drunk people was beyond a joke.

  28. I wonder if these idiot teenagers grow up to be NHS managers? I mean, they seem to have the same attitude – 'I am more important than anything or anybody else, and I will waste money however I like'Just a thought…….

  29. We do have discretion to leave people where they are, and often do, but the smart ones know exactly what buttons to push to ensure we really have no choice but to take them in. A spurious bump to the head or a twinge in the chest will inevitably having us loading them up, to discharge themselves immediately on arrival. Sometimes some glorious higher power intervenes though. We were carrying a patient with a “head” injury who was well tanked up with an address 100 yards from the hospital. En route he emptied the contents of his stomach into one of our disposable kidney bowls, and moments later we went down a pothole. The entire contents of the very full kidney bowl emptied itself ALL OVER THE PATIENTS VERY EXPENSIVE SUIT.By some miracle, not a drop went on the cot or the ambulance, though I did suffer some pain from biting the inside of my cheeks so hard they bled to stop me laughing out loud.

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