A Letter Of Thanks

I had my first letter of thanks yesterday, the first one I have ever had.

It was a simple little job, one of those jobs that you tend to do a lot of. The call was to an elderly woman who had maybe collapsed behind her locked doors. The problem that faces us was that front doors are often locked and it's hard to gain entry. We never really know what to expect from this sort of job, sometimes the person is fine and they've just fallen over. Sometimes the person is seriously ill and this is the reason behind the collapse.

Occasionally the person will have died in the night.

The patient's sister, who was also elderly, had gone to the house and was unable to raise her sister. She'd then gone to the police station and they had contacted us.

We arrived to find the police already there, as the door was sturdy they were waiting for the officers who had the battering ram. The sister had also returned with one of the police officers.

The battering ram arrived and the door splintered inwards. The police officers entered the flat and we followed them in to listen and see who found her first.

Thankfully the patient was alive and well and lying on the bedroom floor.

She's a stick of a thing and well into her late eighties. We quickly check her over to make sure that she doesn't have any injuries, then pick her up and lay her in bed. What then follows is little more than a more extensive examination of her and a bit of the old 'chat'. We talk to her and her sister while checking her blood pressure and the like about such diverse subjects as dead husbands and playing 'knock down ginger', about how out patient hates doctor yet how kind her GP is.

It's nothing unusual, it's nothing that we don't do for all our patients in order to put them at ease. They will often refuse to go to hospital so, assuming nothing too obviously wrong with the patient, we arrange a GP to come and visit then leave and make ready for our next job.

But somehow a card of thanks makes it's way to us. The younger sister had walked up to the hospital and asked the ambulance crews parked outside to make sure that we got it.

So I return to work, look in my letter tray and find the card. It's a simple little thing, it just says 'thank you', but it means a lot to my crewmate and me.

12 thoughts on “A Letter Of Thanks”

  1. I sent a card of thanks to the Rapid Response ambulance man who came to my sister a couple of months ago, and he wrote back saying that in a lifetime's career on ambulances, he had never got a card before. I was astonished.My sister was having a severe asthma attack, and I had no means to get her help other than call an ambulance. A rapid response car came in the shortest possible time it could take from Oxford to our remote town. The man was cheerful but not patronising, despite us both being young. After giving her the gas stuff, he stayed for ages making sure that she could hold a conversation and was well. We were both grateful that he didn't take her to hospital, but treated her in her home.

    How a man who does everything he can to make situations better (like he did for us) doesn't deserve a word of thanks from everyone he visits, I don't understand.

  2. My Mum described ” A wee volunteer lad in a car and then a proper ambulance attended in 2-3 minutes” when my dad collapsed earlier this year.Her description made me smile but those three blokes saved my dad. I asked if she had sent a card and she said “No, I thought about it once we got Dad home but it was 3 weeks later and they would think I'm rude if I send it now”.

    Elderly logic !

    I contacted PALS ( one for each ambo service) they identified the station the crew came from so I posted three cards to the manager there with a cover note to identify the men and to thank the call taker who had kept Mum calm.

    We are fast enough to complain. Get your pens out Britain a Thank You goes a long way.

  3. Sometimes just having a patient say thank you or a relative tell you how much they appreciate what you do is a great boost to your day.

  4. When I get that letter, or the patient or family thanks me in person, I always treasure those. I don't often get followup, and it is nice to know we did make a difference for someone.

  5. FIRST ONE… i think my mum bought the doctor a bottle of wine when i had scarlet fever and he came to our house! In my opinion, old people are usually the most polie people you can meet!

  6. Since I started reading your blog over 2 years ago, 'thank you' has been a big part of my vocabulary when dealing with my very patient GP and any other medical-related staff. I don't take them for granted any more.I am sorry that more of your patients do not take the opportunity to thank you for what you have done for them, but I for one am grateful you are here.

    Thank you.

  7. I commented a few days ago how I had waited an hour and ten minutes for the police to come whilst our vehicle was under attack. This was in fact the second assault we had undergone in a 7 day period and I was pretty weary of being scared. The decision to go to work the next day was not an easy one, and I turned up with my head hung low, my feet scuffing the floor and wondering why I was doing this anyway.That was the point at which I found the card in my tray from a patient we'd treated several weeks earlier who I thought could just as easily have gone on to die as to survive. Not only was she very much alive, but she was also very grateful.

    That thank you card got me back in the van again and got me back on the road.

    They are worth so much more than the authors will ever realise.

  8. My Dad was collected by ambulance earlier this year. I lost track of the date with all the stress of him, my mum and work so did not end up sending a card by the time he got out of hospital then care, in total over 3 months.I have often read this blog and wished l did send a card but l would have to check the date with my mum and this would not be easy for various reasons.

    If, as has been said it is never to late to say thanks, can anyone suggest a way round asking my mum the date so l can get a thank you to the crew concerned?

    I have promised myself that in future, if any of my family need an ambulance then l will mark the date and make sure that l thank the crew.

  9. It's disgusting that so few people take the time to send thanks. Last Christmas Eve an ambulance was called to take my Dad from his GP to hospital as his heart was beating far too fast. He was later diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, so the ambulance crew may not have 'saved his life' that day, but the kindness and humour with which they treated him made both him and my Mother deal far better with an unknown and frightening situation.So of course we sent them a card saying thanks and telling them they made that difference to him. And I hope that receiving letters saying such things both makes their job a little more bearable at the tough times, and helps when they have annual assessments.

  10. I sent a card and a cheque for choccy biscuits to the crew who did first response when I fell off climbing some years back. Least I could do after all that swearing. Also it took 2 people to get my fingers off the male EMT after my forearm muscles spasmed.Note to crews: Fat ginger bloke, big scar on right leg? Don't give him Entonox, he becomes rude.

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