This Week

Things that I have done this week.

  • Resisted punching a patient after they became incredibly abusive towards me because the nurses at the hospital decided that they were perfectly suitable to sit out in the waiting room.
  • Got a painful back and arm after trying to stop a drunk driver from breaking their neck after they had driven their car, at speed, into the back of a parked car.
  • Breathed in aerosolised blood from a patient with a high risk of having a blood-borne disease.
  • Dealt with a middle-aged woman who thought that her lifespan had been cut in half after being pushed over by a reversing car. Then wanted us to take her home before taking her to the hospital. She had no injury at all.
  • Called the police to someone who was beating his Staffordshire terrier in the street, winding it up and letting it chase young girls.
  • Picked up our regular, smelly, occasionally abusive drunk on three separate occasions.
  • Had someone cough all over me when I had my face next to their mouth.
  • Spent twelve hours sat in the seat of a Mercedes sprinter ambulance feeling my back slowly seize up. Every damn shift.
  • Kicked a bucket.
  • Had a grand total of three patients thank me when I settled them safely into hospital. That's out of approximately forty patients. Incidentally about the same ratio of patients who actually need an emergency ambulance.
  • Inserted one cannulae, gave one dose of Salbutamol, one patient oxygen and argued with one 'carer'. Did not have to engage my brain with anyone or any situation.

And I get to see what happens tonight…

(I'm going to try and follow rule #1)

11 thoughts on “This Week”

  1. “Spent twelve hours sat in the seat of a Mercedes sprinter ambulance feeling my back slowly seize up. Every damn shift.”Glad (or not so glad…) it's an international problem with the Sprinters… I wonder how many people will have to lodge complaints til it gets sorted?

  2. I cannot believe how selfish, ignorant, ungrateful people can be. People! it takes like five seconds to say thankyou to someone who could potentially have saved your life, whilst risking theirs!I'm sorry that people don't show you the respect that you deserve, because (not meaning to be obsequious) but I take my hat off to you for what you do.Thanks on their behalfLola

  3. You ARE appreciated!!! I know it probably doesn't feel like it but there's many many people out there that do appreciate the work that you (and all ambulance crews) do!

  4. It must be so frustrating for you when you go to a job and then dont get thanked.I recently had to call 999 as was having a severe asthma attack and also later found out i was in DKA. The crew that came to me were fab and after getting me safely into resus came back and checked on me and the went off on another job, when they delivered their new patient they came back again to see me.Although i know it wasn't alot i gave them a fiver(or rather a nurse got it out for me!!!) and they then got a nice cuppa and a danish from the coffee shop in the hospital.i wish i could have done more as i was very grateful for the life saving(literally) care they gave me. Is there any way i can get in touch with them.?I know it must be very depressing and make u very despondent re your job but just remember the ones who who you help and who do thank you:) keep up the good work

  5. There are days when we don't have oxygen masks for the patients, or lancets to take blood sugar measurements – *our* safety comes a bit further down that line of stock control…

  6. Hi – bit of a long time lurker, but was moved to leave a post by your comment on being thanked by only three people out of 40. When my son slipped on ice at school a couple of years ago and hurt his back and neck we were taken to hospital by a very friendly ambulance man. He saw us into the A&E which was very busy and frankly it was all a bit overwhelming. But I was so busy working out where I was supposed to be going and looking after said son that by the time I thought to turn round and thank our escort, he had disappeared. I've felt bad about this ever since, as he was so nice and brilliant at calming down a rather scared little boy. So if it's OK, I'd like to say thanks now to the brilliant man who took us in, and in advance to any other ambulance staff, should we be unlucky enough to be taken there again. We really didn't mean to be rude!PS Also thought you might like to know that after your post on the dangers of paracetemol a little while ago I sat all three kids down and told them to read it. I sincerely hope lesson learned! Thanks very much.

  7. Well, english not my native language ok?said that… the things you mention… That's what we do. That's precisely what our business is about in its daily ROUTINE.

    What exactly makes you feel so special about those things? That's simply what is expected by a whatever vaguely decent first responder.

    Being proud could be admitted and understood: being annoyed by what you have done isn't, instead, understandable at all. And you do seem annoyed, and even posing. Is this the way you mean to welcome your readers to the world of dedication to the service?

    But, more importantly: what makes you think that you have any right whatsoever to determine who needs your service and who doesn't? You are like the all of us: we are there to be called – if you don't like it change job.

    It is in the nature of the thing that many calls may not be exactly for the disaster of a lifetime where your so brilliant capacities could find a milieu worth of their outstanding and amazing and grandiose worth. If we have to judge as worth of our attention only those cases where our CPR is required, it is time to get a vacation before we get a final burn-out.

    Nothing, simply nothing, absolutely nothing warrants in the least even the least feeling of sufficiency or annoyance towards whatever patient.

    If over time, with experience, you came to that behaviour, it is to be hoped that such “improvements” are not the ones that go with experience.

    Maybe, like many, you have developed this attitude towards the patients, namely of considering most of them a bunch of asses that call you without a valid reason, because your environment considered particularly fashionable behaving in this way but the fact is: ETSI OMNES EGO NON – even if everybody would behave like that, I will NOT.

    If you don't like a sore back, it is time to quit thinking you are a hero. And if you want to be a hero, it is time to quit complaining. You, not your patients.

    I am sorry to sound a bit harsh, but it was truly appalling seeing that in your front page this attitude was sported. Maybe I misunderstood, of course. Wouldn't be my first time! Maybe.

    But if you cannot do this job without wanting a thank you, it is time to remember that either you can do it without any thank you, you deserve no thank you in the first place…

    It's a thankless job. It may even be a moneyless job. And your thank you consists in knowing you have done something useful for somebody.

    For the reward of the good action, is the good action.

  8. Sorry, but I'm a human being. That means that I sometimes get annoyed.But, by being annoyed at things you work to make them better.

    For example – I've always called for better health education.

    And if you expect me to not be upset by someone insulting me for no reason except that they didn't like what the nurse told them, then you must be some Buddhist Master…

    How about when I get punched by a drunk – should I stand there and take it, after all it makes the 'patient' feels better

  9. I hope that this is a lack of understanding of the in and outs of conversational english vs proper english and not a piss take. I agree all of the things above are part of a lot of our ordinary days but that does not mean we need to like them or that we can't get frustrated about it. As getting frustrated and sometimes a little angry shows that we still deeply care about the job we do, the people that we serve and the people we work with. While we may not like everything we see we still go whenever we are called and thats not heroic thats a job. And i think the day we don't mind what we go to and don't mind the misuse of the service is the day we stop caring and thats the time you need to get out. The same with grumbles over the gear that is supplied as it is a little disheartening to know exactly how little the government etc is prepared to spend on the gear that might saves other peoples lives. As it may only be a crap seat in a minimum tender spec van but it may mean one more ambo on sick leave with a crook back and if cover can't be arranged then thats one less ambulance on the road which is frustrating!Anyone that needs thanks to survive, would not last that long in the job but it is very nice to get thanks and to have some appreciation once in a while. So the thanks comments are definately in the nice have categoryand are always very welcome.

  10. (repeat to self, remain calm, remain calm) Oh dear me. Dear Greco Roman, (your latin and your english sentence construction lead me to that possibly erroneous conclusion) – perhaps it's our shared Anglo saxon heritage – or vestiges of British manners – but I am totally understanding of where Tom is coming from. A short wander through the archives of his blog would give you a deeper understanding of the quality of professional individual whom you see fit to criticise so readily.When it comes to our expectations of behaviour on road, either of ourselves or our patients, it comes down to the societal standard. We have the right to expect a minimum standard of behaviour of others, just like they do of us. Without such a standard society would be cast aside, anarchy and barbarism the norm.

    The extent that this decay has already occurred is no reason or excuse for me or my compatriots to cease expecting a minimum level of manners, a minimum level of care for the wellbeing of others (including for ourselves) from others, a minimum level of personal responsibility and the exercise of a minimum level of common sense.

    I've always been taught by my more experienced workmates that you cannot expect anyone to notice when you do a good job, and that you will be criticised roundly for every mistake. Fair enough, this job is one where your satisfaction has to be internally provided. I'll be damned, however, if I'm going to cease expecting a level of manners and appreciation from those who have the opportunity to provide it. I'll be damned if I'm going to start treating as acceptable the deeply mistaken belief that Emergency Service workers are there to be treated as the soakage points for the dross and dreck of society.

    Remember, EOEN, everything you really need to survive in the world, you should have been taught in kindergarten. Cough into your hand, blow your nose into a tissue, wash your hands, say please and thank you, and be nice to the nice people in uniform!

    Lastly, we come here to this blog to learn the inner life and thoughts of Tom the London ambo. Feel free to perhaps criticise what he does, but don't tell him he is wrong to think a certain way or to hold a particular opinion. After all, thats what we read his blog for. Perhaps, as i said before, a little more reading of Tom and a little less criticism would see you better informed.

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