There is a common, but weird, syndrome that I come across on a regular basis, in this case the specific presentation meant that I got a cup of tea.
For some reason the patient feels an overwhelming urge to pretend to be unconscious. Normally this is precipitated by an emotional response – often an argument. This syndrome is more common in women, but has been known to strike men.
I will often arrive and the relatives, who are worried by this 'collapse', will often neglect to tell me that there was some form of disagreement previous to the sudden striking of the illness.
In this case the woman was laying on the bed and our FRU had been on scene long enough to determine that she wasn't physically ill and the that collapse was a response to some emotional cue. The woman was also being treated for depression.
We agreed that it would be best for her to attend the hospital and that an assessment by a psychiatrist would be helpful. So we then stood the patient up to move her downstairs.
Then she punched me in the chest and started pulling her hair out.
Us and the family restrained her and we arranged the police to attend. The police are helpful in a situation like this because people tend to calm down a little when there are police officers around. This combination of the emergency services managed to persuade the patient to peacefully come to the hospital.
The police asked me if I wanted to make a complaint against the woman – something that I would consider a waste of their time, so I refused.
But it did mean that I would have to fill out the required ambulance paperwork, partly to record an 'assault', partly to highlight the address for the safety of other ambulance crews.
But most importantly it meant that I could get a quick cup of tea at the station while filling out the paperwork – the only cup I had for that particular twelve hour shift.