I've written before on how the future of the ambulance service is to have solo responders in cars go to calls, rather than ambulances, firstly to assess and then, if possible, to transport the patient themselves.
It's partly the reason why we have the Zafiras as our FRU's now rather than the Vauxhall Astras. The Zafiras have started to sprout removable seat covers, the implication is that we shouldn't be scared of transporting patients.
I've spoken before of some of the safety implications for this, solo responders get attacked and patients can get suddenly more unwell and need a proper ambulance.
I was working on the FRU the other day and I came across another concern for my safety.
I was sent to a woman in her thirties who had collapsed in the street. She was laying in the middle of the road, shivering from the cold. A couple of bystanders had started to look after her as best as they could, so I suspect that they were glad to see me turn up.
There wasn't an obvious cause for her collapse, although the woman was extremely thin everything checked out.* To leave her lying in the street as the sun disappeared below the horizon would only add hypothermia to her problems.
So I made the decision to sit her in the FRU with the heater turned up full.
Here is my safety issue – all witnesses had disappeared, all it needed was for the patient to make a complaint of sexual misconduct against me and I'd be out of a job. It's dangerous in this world to be sitting in a darkened street alone with a female patient.
I was very grateful when the ambulance turned up.
As someone who had to deal with a frivolous complaint, and as someone who trained as a primary school teacher, I'm always aware of the potential for someone to make a complaint of sexual misconduct against me. It's one of the reasons why I like working as a mixed crew – my female crewmate can deal with anything intimate with women, I can deal with the men.
Imagine if I needed to do a twelve-lead ECG on a young woman – as a solo responder how safe would I feel in exposing the woman's chest? Not very, I can tell you.
It's a dangerous world out there – especially if you value your career.
*It turned out that she had collapsed due to drinking too much – once more I curse my inability to smell alcohol.
I have a day off – so I'll be doing my 'clear my email inbox' today. If you have sent an email and don't get a response by the end of the day, I'd send it again.