We are in the middle of a shift and one of our mates asks us if we could do a job for them as a favour – they are off shift in a hour and the job is for an emergency transfer from someone's home to a hospital waaaay outside of our patch. We do it because it's awful to get off shift late, and to be honest, for us a change is as good as a rest.
The job is a simple one – pick up patient from their home and take them to hospital as quickly as possible – no thinking required and I don't even need to do any vital sign measurements on this job.
The patient is a one year old child in liver failure and her parents have just been told that a donor organ may have become available.
When we arrive at the home the whole place is in uproar, it's late in the evening and every member of the family is scrabbling around gathering things into no small number of bags. Clothes, food and the sort of supplies you need for a very sick little one year old.
I do my best to try and bring a little calm to the chaos but the family aren't having any of it, they are in near panic and their emotions are somewhere between fear and joy. I know when to admit defeat and I leave them be.
The transport itself is fairly smooth although the child alternates between crying and griping for the whole trip, I can't really say I blame her as I would imagine that she isn't too happy to be going back into hospital again. Her parents do pretty much everything that they can to keep her happy but unfortunately for my sanity nothing seems to work.
They seem like nice folks, they have another older child and from what little I saw of them they were well behaved and happy, always a good sign when there is a seriously ill sibling in the family.
We reach the hospital and the nurse beds them down, there is going to be a lot more testing before any operation but I've done my bit.
I like going to strange hospitals, the nurses on the ward always offer us cups of tea and I am way too polite to refuse…
So it's a nice job and we manage to get back into our area for the end of our shift, but I do wonder about the donor.
The donor must have been young, and their last journey was probably in an ambulance staffed by colleagues of ours. Their parents would have been distraught and panicky, and then they would have had to made the decision to allow the doctors and nurses to stop trying to save their child.
And then they made a decision to allow their child's body to be used to help others, a wonderful and brave decision. And because of that decision a one year old child they will never know is going to get a chance of life.