Child Not Breathing

I've just had two weeks off work, two glorious weeks where I could maintain a reasonable body clock, could sleep and could be normal for a change.
The constant nausea that has crept up on me vanished and tension drained from my shoulders.

Then on my first shift back at work I suddenly get insomnia and that familiar nausea returns. I'm making an effort to eat some decent food and to get some good rest. Perhaps I may even have an attempt at exercise.


We were called to a ten year old who'd fallen down some stairs, nothing serious and on further discussion, the sort of thing my crewmate and I used to do for fun. Would we take the happy, healthy and fundamentally unhurt child to hospital?

Well yes, you see the mother was conviced that the child stopped breathing for three minutes.

Apparently the child was fully awake and looking at her mother during this 'respiratory arrest'.

It's one of those weird things, that parents will often state that their child stopped breathing – now, given my medical training, I find this hard to believe.

But the trick is never to mock the parent, they were there and witnessed the accident, so we take the child into hospital and let them sort it out. While I'm sure that it's the parent panicking, no-one ever lost their ambulance job by taking someone to hospital.

And besides, the family were nice, so it wasn't a hardship to keep them happy.

4 thoughts on “Child Not Breathing”

  1. On the topic of panicing mothers…Short story: Sister has had an operation. Things weren't working right, and we realised that the place that had been operated on, was not the nice white bandage that it potentially should have been (Mum couldn't remember what it looked like before, and I'd never seen it.). I reckoned it was fairly serious, if the bandages were left like that, she was going to end up with an infection, which I'm guessing would be fairly serious when she'd just had a lymphectomy (am VERY much open to correction here šŸ˜‰ ).

    So Mum rang the hospital, gave them the story, was told to go to A&E. She told them to go jump. She wasn't going to take her daughter who'd just had a lymphectomy and told not to get an infection, into a large room with really sick people in it. Sounded slightly mad to her. They eventually told her she could bring my sister in, and she could hear the nurse saying to someone in the background that it was a “panicked mother”.

    That was til my sister walked in, and they started treating her. They didn't say anything, but the look that they gave each other (according to my sister), said it all. Steri strips came off the second the bandage was removed. I think they were quite glad they paid attention to my mum… šŸ˜€

  2. unfortunately this can also hit the other extreme. When I was young my mother took me to the doctors, I was ill but as murpheys law would have it I didnt look as ill as my mother insisted whilst I was sat in front of the doctor. As my father had just died he actually noted she was a 'neurotic mother'. A week later I was in intensive care, during my stay there I nearly died twice. Admittedly a lot has changed since the early eighties but still had she not insisted to multiple doctors how ill I was I wouldnt be here now.

  3. I alos had the same thing when I grew up, as a baby my mum thought I looked unwell and called the Locum GP out, he took a look at me and said it was just normal baby stuff, Luckily my mum being a nurse decided not to take the GP advice and called teh ambulance later that day when i took a turn for the worse3 times my heart stopped and 3 times i resusicated, I was diagnosed with Meningocical Meningitis,

    But as you said things have come on a lot since the 70-80's and this is due to the education the Health Service give to us 'MOP'

  4. I have learned to trust parents. They know when their child is “not right”. Head injuries are a good example. The child may just seem aloof to us, even though they make sense, if the parent tells you, “That's not how he/she behaves”, listen. A parent's intuition can really be an awakening. It was to me in the past, and it will be again. While there are “panicked parents” who overstate illness and injury, many don't. Just listen to what they say. Clues, clues, clues!

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