Exit, Pursued By A Bear.


Two men of the same age in a sparsely decorated bedroom. One man (REYNOLDS) is an ambulanceman, the other (SPOTTY BLOKE) is a man suffering from Chickenpox.



Hello sir, can you tell me what the problem is?


I have Chickenpox.


(Slightly non-plussed): Yes, sir, why have you called an ambulance?


I have a pain in my chest. I went to the hospital yesterday and they said to take painkillers.


And what else did the hospital say?




Nothing? Surely they said something, they must have spoken to you.


They said I have Chickenpox.


See, that's something. So the pain is the same?


Yes – I want to go to hospital.


I don't think that they are going to do anything different from yesterday sir.


But I'm ill, my son has Chickenpox and it's not bothering him.

Reynolds is obviously biting his tongue.


I want them to do blood tests.


For Chickenpox?




It won't do any good, they'll just give you more painkillers.


I don't care – I want to go to hospital.


(Worried about being sued for leaving someone at home)

Fine sir, your choice. The ambulance is outside, we'll take you the 800 yards to hospital. Did you have an ambulance turn up like us yesterday? With blue lights and sirens?




(Wondering if someone at the hospital might sue him for bringing a potentially infectious patient to sit in the waiting room for a few hours)



REYNOLDS again, now with a WOMAN a year or two older than him. The WOMAN is coughing rather a lot. We join them as the initial patient assessment is nearing the end.


…So, you've had this cough for a few days now?




Would you mind putting your hand over your mouth please?


(The woman doesn't move) COUGHCOUGHCOUGHCOUGH.


Ah. No then. Never mind, it's been a while since I've had a chest infection, and I'm only in a *little* bit of trouble for being sick so much.



REYNOLDS buries his head in his hands and wonders how long he has until retirement. The WOMAN spits on the floor of the ambulance.

(And yes, I know the formatting is a bit wonky for a proper script, but it can be a complete pain to format stuff for this blog, some of the dialogue on REYNOLDS part may be slightly made up. But not by much).

34 thoughts on “Exit, Pursued By A Bear.”

  1. Made me laugh a lot, Tom. The whole scenario is horribly familiar – often in the early hours, to really rub it in.I do wonder whether there might be a way of introducing a charge for inappropriate use of 999? Something that required 2 signatures to activate – one from the ambulance crew and one from the receiving staff at A&E. If it was well advertised, it might not put genuine callers off. (sigh) But I think management are probably more interested in ORCON and chasing times than looking at the nature of many of the calls.

    Thanks for a great blog, by the way. I've only just signed up, but I've been reading for a little while πŸ™‚

  2. Take heart………It's not only Britain that suffers from this plague…….911 systems all over the US suffer from abuse of this kind. The problem is that the lawmakers are too afraid of making changes that would stop this kind of abuse, although, some people have been prosecuted for it.

  3. Lol! so true! 12 jobs Monday, 7 with the same cold/flu symptoms I've been off for 3 days with,thought i'd get the sack though if I told them to lie in bed with a hot whiskey and lemon and eat nothing but a ball breakingly hot curry!

  4. Having only had chicken-pox just before Christmas, I can sympathise with Spotty Bloke. Quite genius to call an ambulance.Good to meet you the other week at ZeroOne. Look forward to keeping up with the blog!

  5. I'd volunteer for that!!!!! I'd consider it my civic duty, and I suspect it might be quite therapeutic. (For me, not them. Obviously. Though maybe it'd help them think twice about getting 'ill' again).

  6. “I realised that my training was useful in less than ten percent of the calls, and saving lives was rarer than that. After a while, I grew to understand that my role was less about saving lives than about bearing witness. I was a grief mop. It was enough that I simply turned up. ” Frank Pierce (Nicholas Cage) “Bringing Out The Dead”I have not seen the movie, nor read the book, but I will say that that is one of the most accurate quotes about EMS I have ever read……

  7. It's really about time that the great British public were fined for calling ambulances out for things like this. They're clearly suffering from a misguided sense of entitlement.

  8. Bless you, you've got a fine grip on your temper. I would have been fired a hundred times over if I did your job because I don't think i'd be able to stop myself from saying what I was thinking. And if there's one thing that really grinds my gears it's being coughed all over by someone too effing rude to cover their mouth when coughing. I spent christmas with a charming chest infection courtesy of an office colleague who thought it was fine to splutter all over me. Witch.

  9. Euhhhh, spitting; where was she dragged up then? Or have the spitting gobbing footballers made spitting socially acceptable? no wonder TB is back on the agenda.

  10. such lovely people you have the pleasure of working with Mr R, glad I decided against joiningLiz & Josh 28w 4d

  11. Great post, didn't know you were writing a movie now, haha.Would have stuck an N95 mask on coughing woman whether she liked it or not.

  12. Wow! Until I read your blog, I thought calling an ambulance was something you do when you are afraid that someone might be seriously injured or die… Guess I was wrong! πŸ˜›

  13. I remember when I was a kid, and my Mother would occasionally say “if you don't stop that I really WILL give you something to cry about”?I'd be sorely tempted to tell these type of patients “you call an ambulance again and I'll make SURE you really need it!”

    -perhaps it's just as well I'm not in your line of work…

  14. Blood, Sweat & Tea – THE MOVIENow that Tom would be a cracking idea!! But you would need to add a bear just for the action sequences, you have to have action sequences. Would you play yourself do you think? or a big Hollywood star?


  15. A cattle prod would be handy, as would something my colleagues and I frequently talk about: A Paramedic Pillow for putting certain patients out of OUR misery. On balance however, I think the most efficacious piece of kit would be a General Purpose Machine Gun.

  16. Once had a patient who coughed on me, when asked to cover mouth stated he was unable to do this, I pointed out that 5 year old children could do this so why couldn't he? He got a bit angry and started shouting at me and stormed out of the department shouting and swearing at everybody – upshot was he was lifted and spent the weekend in the jail charged with breach of the peace. Why do some people feel that they have to share their illnesses with everybody?Have just finished reading your book, very good I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  17. I've always wondered how volunteers could help the Ambulance Service. Now I have it! You need volunteer insulters.If you let rip you'd be fired. Instead you should step to one side and let your volunteer rip the idiots a new one. They'd complain and the volunteer would be fired and another volunteer would step in.

    How many readers does this blog have? We'd volunteer.

    ps: Would they let the volunteers go armed to hammer the point home? There would be an ambulance near-by, after all. 😎

  18. Its always handy when you are in the ambulance service, and – whilst off duty in civvies – walk past a patient who is being a twat with your colleagues. You can call him all sorts, and he hasn't the slightest idea you are in the job. Very, very satisfying.By the way – the next series of “London Ambulance” (the series which was on TV a few months back) should not include major trauma or serious illness. It should feature the time wasters: at least the stupid bastards would be made to look stupid on telly!!

  19. Bob – what a great idea – will you come and work with me? Will you? Will you? I promise to buy you tea, and help you think up new insults!!

  20. well i am glad someone else had a day like mine but instead of being coughed on we had to go to someone caked in his own faeces cause the carers were too lazy to go to him over easter so he hadnt moved for 5 days and i got a death grip by a faeced covered hand all over my shirt – needless to say i rushed home to get a new shirt!!! Just think it could have been worse!!!

  21. nah just a good old glock like the Police Firearms Units carry would do the trick, handier to carry too… LOL

  22. I got coughed all over last night aswell. And separately picked up a poss TB patient. I don't feel so great this morning.

  23. Tom, you have the patience of a saint lol As a patient who has frequent need for our local first responders and the crews help alot and the stories they bring with them shock us. I am sure as well genuine callers wouldnt be put off by a risk of a fine if wrongly calling, because from personal experience genuine callers really do not call at the drop of a hat, from my point of view alot of soul searching and trying everything I can first kicks in and then when there is no choice we disturb the piece of our local 999 peeps who I have to say are life savers just like you all !! You only have to touch a persons life once to have saved it many times over !!God bless you guys and gals for the work you do !!

    The patients really do appreciate you !!


  24. Yeah, well be careful – I'm up for my 'formal interview' over my levels of sick.I'm actually looking forward to it…

  25. reading through and noting the compete lack of manners & courstesy to be afforded to our para teams, why not don a mask or a bio suit inc the responder, para and technician and scare the living shit out of them. casually mention ebola in passing and ship them off – initiate a full scale biohaz at the hospital, isolation room and let the trust staff have some fun!

  26. The truth be known, the only qualifications you really need for the job are 1 a cleanish driving licence and 2 a cast iron constitution, take every body to hospital and don't go sick !

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