As far as religious dates go, Ramadan isn't too bad of an idea as part of the fasting is to have sympathy for those less fortunate than yourself. Of course that all goes out the window when you start stuffing your face as soon as the sun goes down.
This year it has seemed to 'sneak up' on us ambulance people, there was no memo or announcement that we'd have a month of Muslims falling over and collapsing. You would think that, in my area of London where there are many Muslims, the ambulance service would think to let their workers know.
The first I knew about it was from a patient who kept changing her story. She'd collapsed at work with abdominal pain and one of her workmates said that she was fasting. I was a bit surprised as Ramadan is normally later in the year and I'd heard nothing about it being this early. I asked if she was fasting because of Ramadan and she told me no.
Then, as we were rolling into hospital I asked her why she was fasting and she told me that it was because it was Ramadan.
It wasn't the only time that day that a patient changed their story, sometimes in front of the nurse that I was handing them over to.
The problem with Ramadan is when, as a friend of mine puts it, adherents try to be 'more Muslim than you'.
The Koran says that you shouldn't fast if you are pregnant or have a medical condition that means fasting would be too hard or dangerous.
Unfortunately some folks want to prove what good Muslims they are and fast anyway.
Then you end up going to Muslims who've collapsed. I wold also suggest that we get more calls for 'chest pains' as well, when people with indigestion call us out. It doesn't help that for a lot of our Bangladeshi population indigestion and gastric reflux is a very common medical complaint.
On the other hand, you still find yourself going to Muslims who have hangovers…
I'd like to see if Ramadan really does increase call rates or if it's just the impression that us road staff get. Might be an idea to increase staffing in heavily Muslim areas for the month if it is true.
It would perhaps be churlish to point out that I go for twelve hours at work without food on a regular basis. I can tell you that it doesn't make me feel any more charitable.