Lets call her Gladys. I meet a lot of people called Gladys in my work. Gladys is in her eighties.
Gladys had taken a tumble but not your average tumble, she had fallen down the escalators at one of our tube stations.
Not just a few steps. She'd fallen down at least 30 of the hard metal stairs.
Two members of staff met us at the now familiar 'Rendezvous Point'. You can spot them outside the stations, they are the little plaques with 'RVP' written on it.
I arrived to see Gladys sitting on the now stationary escalator surrounded by Underground staff. I'd come fully expecting to see someone covered in blood who would need to be 'collared and boarded' out.
Instead she was sitting up, apparently not in pain and in good spirits.
Now, I'm a bit of a 'nervous Nelly' when it comes to people injuring themselves in such a manner – I have a strong desire to take them to hospital to be looked over by a doctor.
Unfortunately Gladys was refusing.
I checked her out. She had a lovely lump on the back of her head, and that was about it. I checked her neck and she told me that there was no pain. I wanted to make sure that she hadn't collapsed or fainted, she told me that it was her luggage that made her fall backwards. I let her know that I wanted to take her to hospital, she refused.
I did manage to persuade her to come to the ambulance for a blood pressure check, and there I was able to confirm that, apart from the bump on her head, she seemed unhurt.
A little trick for my fellow ambulance personnel. After an accident people will often feel fine and this is the effects of adrenaline pumping around the body. Then, as the adrenaline leaves the bloodstream, the person becomes a lot more 'shaky', and may feel sick. It's best to wait until this 'shaky' time is over before you leave them. Sometimes the effects of this will let you persuade the patient to come to hospital.
Gladys didn't get shaky.
I sat chatting to her for twenty minutes, and she was fine throughout. She was adamant that she be allowed to continue on her train journey home. If she'd lived in London I would have taken her home myself. Unfortunately I think that Control would have a dim view of me wandering across into Kent.
And this is where I was impressed by the staff at the Underground station – not only had they looked after her really well while they called for the ambulance, but they then arranged to have her met by staff at the other end of her tube journey. The staff would also talk to the tube driver so that he could keep an eye on her. Then one of the Underground staff stayed with her on the platform until she got on the train.
I wasn't hugely happy about her heading off on her own, but she seemed a sensible soul and she wouldn't be on her own sitting in a busy tube train. She also promised to call an ambulance if she felt unwell at any point, and as she lives in a warden controlled flat she wouldn't be alone there either.
All that was left to do was the paperwork (meticulously written to cover my back should anything happen to Gladys), then get ready for the next job.
Over the weekend both my brother and I will be at the Birmingham Comic Convention. Where I may be pimping a script idea for a comic about ambulances. If you are around feel free to say hello.