Turn Left

It's rather strange how things work out.

Take the job that we had recently – it was given as a woman who'd fainted but was breathing fine and had nothing else wrong with her.

We were pretty much round the corner, so it wouldn't take us long to get there.

We arrived at a junction smack bang in the middle of the road that we wanted. Do we turn right or left? We turned right and found the address.

The address was a bunch of flats, the name that we had been given was spelt wrong but as we are clever ambulance workers we went straight to the correct address.

I walked into the house, for some reason I was carrying pretty much all our equipment with me, I can't say why I was doing this, some sort of intuition I would guess.

And our patient was on the floor and wasn't breathing. Her heart was beating a quarter of the speed it should have been and she was not so much knocking on Death's door, but halfway down Death's hallway hanging up her coat*.

So we set about doing a few things for her, breathing for her and monitoring her heart. After we'd pushed some oxygen into her she started to breathe for herself and her heartbeat sped up to more normal speeds.

We left her at hospital with a pretty good prognosis.

But that only came about because of good luck – if we had been further away she would have died. If we'd turned left instead of right she could have died. If I hadn't carried some of our weirder bits of equipment into the house she could have died. If she lived on the top floor of the flats instead of the ground floor she could have died.

With the exception of her stopping breathing in the first place, it would seem that luck was with her.

*Stolen from the rather excellent Alan Moore.

19 thoughts on “Turn Left”

  1. This remind me of the film 'Sliding doors.' And how lots of small, seemingly innocent decisions can have big consequences.

  2. We were pretty much round the corner, so it wouldn't take us long to get there“Surely not a success for AAC???? Please tell us this was 2 mins from station/hospital or just a coincidence!

  3. It's like those who have made the great discoveries. Imagine…If John Logie Baird had never invented TV.If Alexander Fleming had never discovered Penicillin.If Edison had never invented the light bulb.If Faraday had never discovered electricity.It would only have taken one slight turn in their lives to send them on a different path.Imagine of George bush and Tony Blair had taken different careers.Oh, perlease.

  4. nothing to do with the post sorry, but just wondering;can you go to A&E completely anonymously, even if your under 18 (not for any illegal purposes like immigrants etc) or will the nurses somehow coax your identity out of you?


  5. Did you nick the post's name from dr who (episode 11) or am i the only person sad enought to watch that AND remember the episode names?but well done anyway! fate obviously didn't want that person to die:)

  6. Where I am working now, we have MDTs that have GPS to help us out… in theory anyways. We run into the same problem and have learned not to rely on our technology because the green dot on the screen is often wrong by a little and sometimes a lot. What helps us is the use of cross streets to narrow the area down.I hope people understand why it might take a bit longer to find their house at times, especially at night with poor signing. Bye the way, do you guys over there get many reports that are at times a mile or more from the given location? We have that problem on our interstates and highways with “drive by 911ers” as we call them. Quick story, I was dispatched to a possible stroke where the report was second hand. The caller gave a normal ETA to the town we were stationed and said they could see a grade percentage sign. The dispatcher's best guess put the call in our area but in fact the patient was about an hour south of our area. The patient was found by a State Trooper, I have wondered how they turned up since.

  7. But would you think about what could have happened if the patient actually did die? You can't say with these things, it happened the way it did and you can't know what would have happened otherwise.

  8. I believe the staff will try to get your details on arrival but these will be treated with confidentiality.Depending on why you wanted to go to A&E you could ring NHS direct on 0845 4647 for some advice and support instead. Or if you would like the morning after pill for example you could go to a pharmacy, where I believe you do not need to give your details.

    If you need to go to A&E please go, in my experience the staff are very respectful and will help.

  9. Indeed – also remember that there are no huge checks on who you say you are – so registering under a false name is also something that a lot of people do.And as said – A&E staff will help you out no matter what.

  10. Indeed – and there are no doubt patients out there who have died because I was just that bit too far away from them when the call came down.I don't believe in fate, but I do believe that these random little chances do sometimes make a difference – and for this job it was particularly noticeable.

  11. I've always found the story of United 232 (an air incident in Suiox City) a good example of just how much of an impact luck can have.Summary if you don't want to google it: An uncontrollable aircraft was landed just off the centre line of a runway with amazing (for the state of the aircraft) survival rate.

  12. A few weeks ago I was on duty and at the required refresher class my service was offering. We got called for a chest pain+difficulty breathing in the classroom one door down. Strange thing was he initially wanted to refuse transport.I'm always amazed at how often “intuitive” equipment bringing works out. You have no reason to bring something other than a feeling and it ends up being useful.

  13. Although they may well do well off the story for yearsas did an ex-GF of mine who, after a few drinks, would delight in telling of the man who'd come in with a parsnip stuck firmly up his bum. Her trump card was the Polaroid she kept in her handbagof said bum complete with turnip!

  14. And there are some of us with a remarkable tendency to turn the right way at the wrong time. Or perhaps the wrong way at the right time.

  15. I have had similar luck. I had a cardiac arrest while driving. I crashed the car in front of a house where a police inspector lived. He and a first aider from another car kept me alive by CPR until a paramedic car arrived with defibLucky:

    I was driving slowly at the point I passed out. Any faster and the injury from a crash might have finished me off.

    On the whole journey I happened to crash outside the house of someone very experienced in CPR

    The police inspector was at home

    The paramedic was on his way back from a shout a very few minutes away

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