There is nothing I like better than coming back from an exhausting shift to find that someone has personally dropped spam comments all over my blog. They aren't even good spam messages as the person placing them appears to have forgotten to link to the 'Online pharmacy drugs' that they are supposed to be promoting.
What they don't realise is that every comment made gets emailed back to me, so I get notice of those spam comments even if you try burying them in posts I made three years ago.
There are fewer pleasures in this job than being able to sit down and relax a bit. It's not often that we get the chance while we are with a patient.
We had been working all day and after a pretty long dry spell the heavens had opened up and it had absolutely poured down with rain.
“We'll have an RTA next”, stated my crewmate as the rain stopped.
Our ambulance terminal buzzed and the job appeared on the screen – 'Three car RTA, man unconscious, multiple injuries'.
The location was one of our local 'A' roads, it's easy to hit 50, 60 or 70mph on these stretches of road, and it was obvious that the recent rain would make the roads more slippery.
So we drove off, lights and sirens going, not knowing what we would expect.
It was indeed a three vehicle accident, two cars and a van. The ambulance service were the first on the scene, an FRU was already there and looked fairly relaxed, we were the first 'proper' ambulance' on scene. Luckily it would seem that we wouldn't have a repeat of the triple death we'd gone to a few days earlier. The FRU told us that there was one patient in the middle car and one in the lead car. Neither of them seemed seriously injured, definitely there was no-one unconscious. We left the FRU to arrange with the police to close off the road (so we could work without getting run over by an inattentive rubbernecker), also to call off the helicopter ambulance as it wouldn't be needed.
While my crewmate checked the lead car I went to the car in the middle, it had been struck from behind by the van and shunted into the car in front. So both the front and the back of the car was pretty mashed up.
My patient seemed not badly injured, he hadn't lost consciousness, nor did anything seem to be broken. He only complained of some pain in his neck and back. I had a quick feel down his neck and couldn't rule out a serious neck injury. He needed a hard neck collar and spinal immobilisation. Putting the collar on was the easiest bit, but you can't just leave someone waggling their head with just a collar on – they don't work like that.
So I pulled open the back door for the car (with a bit of effort as it was jammed due to the damage), sat myself in the back seat, carefully avoiding the broken glass, and grabbed his head in my hands.
“It's alright mate”, I said, “All we are going to do is keep your neck nice and still so that it protects your spine. Then we'll open the car up around you”.
We called for the Fire Service while I chatted to the driver, he was a nice bloke – but the car was his wife's. I explained that 'Trumpton' would cut the roof off the car so that we could get him out safely. Meanwhile he joked about how his wife always wanted a convertible.
The Fire Service arrived and did the things that they do; chocking the wheels so that it doesn't move, spraying shaving foam on the windscreen where they cut in order to protect against glass fibres, and placing protection around the patient and myself. Meanwhile I was having a relaxing time of it, explaining what was happening to the patient while holding his head still. The great thing was that I was able to do all this while sitting on my backside.
I don't know if you've ever been cut out of a car, but it gets a bit noisy, even if you are wearing one of the wonderful LAS safety helmets which block both your ears and, because the visor is so scratched, your vision. My job was simply to keep the patient happy and minimise any head movement.
Snip, snip, snip, snip went the pillars of the car and, by sliding a back board behind him, we soon had the patient out nice and smooth. The patient was happy (well, happyish), the Fire Service were happy (they like cutting cars into small pieces), and I was happy (because I had got the chat to sit down and natter for half an hour).
A smooth ride to the hospital and I believe that the patient was released an hour or two later with no serious injuries.
The only problem was that the traffic, which we had stopped, was still tailing back when it came for us to go home. So I had the pleasure of sitting in the traffic jam that I had 'created'.