Me Elsewhere

For those that are interested, I was invited onto the Radio 5 Live show to talk about this very sad story. The BBC are lovely so I had a cab to a studio in London, while the presenter sat up in Manchester. Stephen Nolan the presenter obviously plays the devils advocate while I play the voice of reason.

As is normal with talk radio there are some… interesting viewpoints, although I'm quite sad that no-one surpassed the first caller in comparing me to the Nazis.

You can listen to it again here, my segment starts 1:08:50 into the stream. I don't think it will be up for too much longer.

I am grateful to the ambulance and police workers who phoned in to support me – It just goes to show that I'm not mad, or at least I share my madness with other people.

17 thoughts on “Me Elsewhere”

  1. I only listened to part of it before the thing crashed (I shall try and listen to the rest later). I quite agree. You are paid to save lives, not to put yours at risk. If you die or get injured today, you're not going to be able to save lives tomorrow. I found it utterly abhorrent that the first caller could even contemplate brining the Nazi's into that – there is no comparison. The Nazis committed Genocide and killed 6m people simply because of who they were.It is tragic that the young man lost his life, but it would have been even more tragic had the person sent to save his life also died as a result of trying to save his life.

    Real risk comes with your job, there is no reason to increase that risk!

  2. If you go in, and you die, you aren't able to treat people tomorrow.If you go in, and you are injured/killed, you have doubled the problem for those who respond after you.

    You HAVE to exercise caution and put yourself first. It's the first rule of any first aid course.

  3. Years ago when I was a Senior Staff Nurse I broke up a fight between to son's of one of my patients. I didn't stop to think they were terrifying my old and frail patients, they were knocking seven shades out of each other. I got pushed back roughly against a door frame, just a few bruises, but it had the desired effect and the more aggressive of the two ran off the ward leaving the other a gibbering wreck. I got torn off a strip the next day by the nurse manager. I suppose she was right; what use was I to my patients if I was hurt, that would have been particularly true if I had been on the ward on my own;not some thing that happens very often in a hospital. I really feel for the paramedic involved in this situation it must have been so difficult for her, but if she didn't know if the assailant was still on the scene she did the right thing. Well done Tom for putting the case.

  4. Yuck! knee jerk reactions from MOP who dont risk their lives or the happiness of their families as part of their job. It was nice to hear some support for our job, but why wasnt the 13 min response time of the police questioned? And too little was made of the fact that she was a solo responder and the inherent danger that is involved with that.Too be quite honest I find this level of debate where the presenter takes a devils advocate position puerile and just serves to goad his audience into an appropriate level of fury that they will ring up the studio – it adds nothing to the debate and stokes bad feeling towards the emergency services. The presenter should try some proper journalism, and maybe seeing what difficult choices paramedics/emts have to make everyday before getting on his high horse and telling us what we should be expected to do. The man is ignorant and shallow, unfortunately these appear to be qualities that ensure his continued presence on the airwaves of this country (along with Jeremy Vine and Jeremy Kyle).

    God the media makes me depressed nowadays.

  5. I'm afraid I only listened to the first part of the talk show – I had to get up early the next day and Mr Nolan was winding me up to the point where I wanted to shout at the radio.At the end of the day people like yourself do a fantastic job and shouldn't have to put up with violence and abuse.

  6. I've just listened to the whole debate- my goodness- the chap chairing this radio show is terrible, he is not acting as a neutral chairman, he clearly has a leaning to one 'side' of this debate- listening to his is like having to listen to the Daily Mail. Also, he keeps saying that we are not talking about this individual incident but clearly is constantly refering to it.I work for South Central Ambulance Service and totally agree with the standpoint that we should not put ourselves in a high-risk situation where we could end up being stabbed/shot/killed.

    A few points strike me as important:

    -It is NOT part of the job to put our lives at risk- that first caller is as good as saying that we are paid to sacrifice our lives for another. Would anyone sign a job contract that agreed with this?!

    -However, I think that most of us would take- as you pointed out Tom- reasonable risk; and indeed do so on every shift. We all risk-assess jobs whether we realise we are doing it or not and make the decision to wait based on the information we are given.

    -As pointed out on the show, any bystander who says they would do differently might only come across a high-risk situation like this once in a lifetime, if at all, and end up being fine-or not. If we were to enter high-risk incidents on a regular basis we would have a far higher chance of being injured or killed.

  7. bloody idiots!! iam a first responder and a fully trained member of ther Royal Air Force also i'm 6'4″ tall and well built. I wouldn't have gone into the situation on my own/in our fr car despite there being 2 of us in it.saying that though i have been in a similar situation, whilst first responding on 2 seperate situations. the first 1 there was so many coppers there we had to shout to make are selves heard. on the second one i was in an rrv (2 up) following an ambulance into the job “male stabbed” i had specifically phoned control wehn i saw the details of the job and had been reassured that the police were on scene and it was safe to approach. as we got close to the scene there are people all over the road and this forces us to pull up before the job, as we are slowing down i see the paramedic being dragged out of the moving, slowly, ambulance by an angry/hyped up mob of people. i then had to run into this mob of people to ensure that she did not get attacked. it turns out that there was only one cooper on scene at the time. eventually we managed to start extracting the patient (with his throat slit and had just lost his pulse) to the back of the ambulance, on the way we were joined by another crew so at this point there were 7 ambulance personell on scene, despite there being severall coppers standing around know by this point we were still threatened with violence and death to us. as we close the back of the ambulance up trying to sort the patient out, the ambulance is attacked by the mob they even try pulling out the emergency windows of the truck.

    just for note the paramedic who was dragged out of the ambulance was covered head to toe in the patients blood, not because it was flying allover the place, but because the the “locals” had mobed/attacked her.

    the trust did right! the question that needs to be asked is where the bloody hell were the coopers???

  8. Mairi Lennon is a victim of the spreadsheet management.Sums it up. Management intent on covering their own backs.

  9. Don't pay any attention to it. As a MOP I completely understand and support the views you expressed. It's the only sensible view.The BBC has been at the forefront of dumbing down & R5 is ahead of the game with programmes like this. Followed closely by the likes of Jeremy Vine, the , Juhn Humphries, the Dimbledroids & so on. It's all about “entertainment” now. Headlines & soundbites for morons.

    High quality real debates, such as those broadcast a few years ago between Enoch Powell and Anthony Wedgewood-Benn, would be seen as elitist today. Pity. They were excellent.

  10. Well done Tom, you stood up for the ambulance service on this story.Those that dont work for the 999 services and do not understand what actually goes do not live in the real world. That might seem harsh of me but its the truth.

    I would like to put a member of the public in the same postion as the paramedic and see how they deal with it, not very well I think

  11. Absolutely agree awith you Tom, you must keep yourself safe. Interviewers job to promote discussion but could have been a bit more balanced and professional about it. Ambulance nut, who works in same division as Mairi Lennon, has posted on this subject with statements from management. Worth a look

  12. If any readers are interested, I work in the area this incident occurred in. I have blogged about this is detail. My blog refers to the station release of the call transcript and the Chief Executives investigation into some of the allegations.I hope it helps to clarify some of the Daily Records artistic liscence.

  13. that first caller is a numpty. first and foremost its a job, yes, saving lives, but still a job, and unless you're someone in a risk taking profession, risks are not part of the job.Yes, in an ideal world you'd rush in and be the hero, in the real world, you could end up dead.The ambulance woman was right, those two police community officers were right, u don't take risks, u get proper backup, you're not paid to die, or paid enough to take risks.

  14. My first experience of Five Live, and judging by the performance of the debate chairman, I'm afraid it'll be the last.The attitude shown by Stephen Nolan was nothing short of offensive, questioning the committment of professionals who face a greater degree of personal risk on a daily basis than most people would expect to deal with in their lifetime.

    It's unfortunate that none of the participants were able to represent the Ambulance Control role. The question asked concerned balance of risk, and risk is all about assessment of information. In situations such as this, much, most or even all of the available information is taken during the 999 call. In any 'assault' call – especially where a patient is seriously injured and a 'stand off' instruction is likely – efforts are always made to realistically assess the safety of the scene for responders. Along with information gained from family or others present, this is key to the dynamic risk assessment made when deciding whether to move in.

    The ridicule by Mr Nolan of this risk assessment belittles the efforts made by both call takers and responders to deliver an effective response, safely, to the patient. It also encourages resentment by the public to the questions asked during the 999 call which are often percieved as delaying the arrival of an ambulance. In fact, full and credible-sounding answers to scene safety questions will often avioid the kind of stand-off which tragically resulted in the loss of a young man's life. This programme has not helped the situation at all.

    Mike – 999 call taker.

  15. I've managed to listen to the rest of it. I must say it was a struggle to sit through it and listen to it! I was appalled by the lack of impartiality shown by the presenter chairing the “debate”. I'd hardly say it was a debate, it was clear what the opinion of the presenter was an the whole item was biased towards that.I must commend you Tom for standing up for the Ambulance Service in the way you did.

  16. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh listening to that has made me soooooooooooooo angry. As a prospective paramedic student starting at Uni in September – I for one would not be so keen on joining a service that took a patients life over the safety of it's staff first. What on earth would they have been up against if the paramedic had gone in and had also been stabbed??? What would everyone be saying then? 'aaaah poor girl – oh well thats the risk you take when you join the ambulance service' – er – don't think so! Yes, I understand there are going to be risks – and working in London I will no doubt come up against them often – but knowingly putting yourself in a situation where you may also end up a victim? That's not what I am joining up for – yes I want to help save lives but I don't think my husband and two children would be quite so supportive if they thought that one night I might not come home. Also that fireman who was on – I can't believe what he was going on about! That hasn't done any favours for 'Trumptons' reputation! He knows full well that they have very strict risk assessment guidelines – I know because my husband is a fireman. I have no doubt that fireman do put their lives on the line and I worry every time I know that my husband is on a big shout – but the fact is they have the equipment the training and the back up to do what they do – that girl was on her own – WITH NO PROTECTION! NOT EVEN A STAB VEST! Anyone would be crazy to go into a situation with such a risk. And above all – stephen nolan – I will never be listening to his show again – what a bias, arrogant, stupid man. I wish I could tell that to his face! In fact if I have the time I will be emailing the BBC to tell them my thoughts – I thought radio presenters were supposed to be UNbias – what an idiot. It is a tragic tale that is not the first and no doubt will not be the last. Unfortunately that is the society we live in today.Maz

    PS. Oh yes, and where were the police? Maybe they could have done with a representative from the police to give there side of the story – oh no sorry, the debate had 'nothing to do with that particular case' it was just a good excuse to have a bloody moan at another public service!

    PPS Rant over!

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