Stood Down

As I hinted in previous posts I was exposed to a case of Measles, it all seemed to be a normal job, a young child with a high temperature, but the hospital confirmed Measles a few days later. The hospital contacted the Health Protection Agency who then contacted the LAS, then my DSO contacted me.

My mum writes down everything that happens to me, so when I asked her if I'd been immunised and she found no details of it I have to assume that I wasn't. This is backed up by the note she made that I had Measles on December 24th 1977 (I told you, she notes down everything). However, according to the Occupational Health nurse I went to see, childhood exposure to Measles doesn't grant an immunity.

Unfortunately, as I'm still suffering from the lurgy/man-flu I couldn't have the MMR vaccine due to it being a live vaccine. Anyway, the MMR would be the second dose of Rubella vaccine I'd get as I was given that particular jab when I started my nursing career (which caused my GP no end of confusion as he had no idea why a man would need the vaccine – I told him that I would be treating pregnant women, but I still had to fight for the jab).

Of course, Measles is in the news at the moment as there is a rise in Measles cases, particularly in London where I work. And, yes, I blame the idiot media who would rather print an 'interesting' story than actually employ a journalist who has some basic scientific/statistical knowledge. Even the Observer got in on the act last year. As an aside I cannot recommend Ben Goldacre's website enough as an antidote to the utter wibble that is being passed around as 'fact'.

So, as I apparently have become potentially infectious from midnight last night, I have been stood down from work for the next two days pending the result of a Measles IGG blood test. It might give me time to get over the lurgy that I'm still coughing up as well as some time to answer the emails that have been building up in my inbox.

It has been said that us ambulance staff don't have enough patient contact to contract Measles – although they haven't tried explaining it to the two staff who caught it from a patient a year or two ago…

Still, as I'm 'stood down' rather than 'sick' I won't be expecting any disciplinary action for my sickness. Kudos to my local management team for being generally supportive and for following the HPA's advice.

I shall now spend the next two days looking for spots showing up against my hairy, white belly and being a general hypochondriac.

I'd also like to mention in dispatches my stationmates and their patient who were hit by a car while they were loading the patient on the back of the ambulance. It was a hit and run and while the staff were flung about they don't seem to have been seriously injured – I have no news on the patient but hopefully they are alright as well. The crew's first thought was for their patient and they should be commended for that.

How do you hit an ambulance which is big and yellow, with a fully lit interior? My guess would be 'while drunk' and 'with no driving license' – the police investigation is in progress.

20 thoughts on “Stood Down”

  1. Of course, Measles is in the news at the moment as there is a rise in Measles cases, particularly in London where I work. And, yes, I blame the idiot media who would rather print an 'interesting' story than actually employ a journalist who has some basic scientific/statistical knowledge. Even the Observer got in on the act last year. As an aside I cannot recommend Ben Goldacre's website enough as an antidote to the utter wibble that is being passed around as 'fact'.No, I think you have to blame the idiot government. They insisted on having ministers and Tony Blair repeatedly tell us that MMR was not unsafe. In the face of evidence like that even I begin to suspect the scientific evidence in favour of the safety of MMR. As Jim Hacker said, “I never believe anything until it's been officially denied”. 😉

  2. Hope the short break allows you to get rid of most, if not all, your lurgy! Also hope your colleagues (and their patient) are OK.

  3. I wonder if the NHS could make a claim against the Daily Mail for the cost incurred arranging all these new inocualtion facilities. After all if they had bothered to do any fact checking using proper scientists they would have discovered how duff the “research” was. Of course that isn't as much fun as writing banner headlines telling the world that evil Doctors are murdering your babies.Even if it was unsuccesful the resulting publicity would damage the paper and might make them check things in the future. Of course it wouldn't stop Mr & Mrs Average prefering “fat woman on Trisha” over people who know what they are talking about for medical advice…


  4. //How do you hit an ambulance which is big and yellow, with a fully lit interior? //Obvious, really – he was a regular user of this road, driving normally (= without thinking) and there had NEVER been an ambulance there before. Perhaps the crew were lucky their parked vehicle and all its lights didn't distract him enough to 'cause' him to swerve and hit something coming the other way.

  5. I actually had to buy a copy of ****** (name removed in case I offend anyone!) the other day, not something I would usually do as I pride myself on being able to read more than about 20 words without losing concentration. But anyway, it was bought along with a copy of the Guardian so I can explain to my English students here in Spain the difference between Broadsheet and Tabloid (or newspaper and fish wrapper). Oh dear. I have not seen so much prejudiced rubbish in a long time! I wonder if tabloid journalists actually believe half the stuff they write or if they just like annoying people?

  6. Too early to look for spots, Tom (at least any spots caused by measles) they don't normally appear until day 10 (roughly) from initial exposure.A previous infection from measles DOES grant immunity in all but a tiny number of cases – in other words your chance of a second bout of measles is vanishingly small if your Mums diary is accurate.

    Either way hope you're feeling better soon.

  7. How do you hit an ambulance which is big and yellow, with a fully lit interior?The same way someone hit my Royal Mail artic, which was big and red and lit up like a Christmas tree. By being stupid. Being from California and driving an unfamiliar car round Mill Hill Broadway was a bonus.

  8. To be fair to the Mail (and to be honest I don't want to) any issues surrounding the prevelance of measles should be directed to Andrew Wakefield and the Lancet. Both of whom should have acted more responsibly and who frankly shoud be held to account for their behaviour.

  9. Twenty five years ago I got into a discussion with a fellow worker about the whooping cough vaccine. She said she had not had her daughter vaccinated because if she had done and her daughter had become ill it would be her fault, if she didn't and her daughter got whooping cough then it would be an act of god and therefore not her fault. It's an attitude that does still exist and is encouraged the pseudo-science we see too much off…still, it sells newspapers and numbers mean everything

  10. When you're better( soon I hope) you can have MMR – having another dose of rubella is not a problem.It used to annoy me when parents went on about the MMR – did they really think I would want to inject babies if I thought it was dangerous? I told them about our nursing tutor whose daughter had been damaged by the old whooping cough vaccine. Despite that she allowed the local paper to write an article about her in which she recommended having the vaccine because she had nursed children with whooping cough, some of whom had died.

    Trouble is , you can't prove a negative.

    Apropos the hit and run, did you see the recent pictures of a horse drawn hearse which had been knocked over because an idiot driver had tried to overtake and spooked the horses? Hope your colleagues are ok, best wishes.

  11. It's TB and mumps that bother me! I haven't had either vaccine and I gather, that as a woman, mumps isn't a worry. However, I work with kids in a “deprived area” and it'll cost me 40 quid to be vaccinated against TB – because it wasn't done when I was a child (I lived abroad)!!! I thought they were trying toeradicate these diseases? Charging for the vaccines ain't going to help!

  12. Bless you Tom,I hope you are feeling better soon.

    As for being invisible, being a lollipop lady I know all about it, some days I feel like a *stop/go* board!

    I hope your colleagues and patient are ok.


  13. TB?You know they don't routinely vaccinate children these days, even though the number of cases are on the increase…

    (And I think it only lasts 13 years or so, I may be wrong on this)

  14. I was under the impression that Rubella immunisation is now reccommended for boys as well. Unless it can be guaranteed that every girl is 'immune' anything that reduces the reservoir of potential infection must be of benefit.

  15. Hope the few days off helps get that flu under control.Having seen someone drive into the back of a stationary fire appliance in broad daylight in the middle of a straight piece of road with no other vehicles involved nothing would surprise me. That gentlemans reasoning was that he never saw it and it came out of nowhere.

  16. There's an article in the paper today about a child dying several days after an MMR vaccination. So here we go again. Sometimes it's like assuming that all murder victims must have been killed by their last meal. Don't get me wrong , it's a tragedy when a baby dies.I used to work as a ward sister on a rhematoid arthritis ward for young girls and women. People always tried to find a cause for the onset of their RA, especially the parents – eg it happened a week after falling off a horse. It's understandable.

  17. I'm REALLY not trying to play devil's advocate here, but I know – personally – two cases whereby a child started to show symptoms of autism and IBS within 28 days of having the MMR vaccine.I'm not making a case either way, and before anyone jumps on me I'm not blogging this, writing editor's letters about it, or anything, but EITHER the combined vaccine may cause a problem that has as yet not been found, OR the parents need to be warned somehow that it is given within less than a month of the point at which previously sound and responsive babies start to withdraw and show autistic signs. And, IBS.

    And regarding people taking scare stories as truth, when the medical industry (ie big phamacuetical companies, NOT Tom and his peers) tries to downplay and deny “side effects” of drugs because it hits them in their pocket, then I'm sorry, there will always be a number of people – and hands up on this one I AM one of them – for whom a doctor's say so comes second to personal experience.

    It's a slight digression, but look at the current controversy about vaccine-associated feline sarcoma – and the whole controversy now (especially in the States) about the very concept of yearly vax for animals at all.

    V-AFS had to reach ridiculous levels of “anecdotal” reporting, before anyone took it seriously though. Doubly so for some vets who were sending out yearly reminders, and guilting pet owners into paying for the jabs.

    One thing that people who investigate herbal and other alternative medicines are told, is that “anything powerful enough to work has potential to harm if misused” – something that the docs who over-prescribe antibiotics and antidepressents may do well to bear in mind, and a good reason for the rest of us to to stay ever so slightly on the cynical side when it comes to prescriptions and vaccines.

    Sorry for the rant, but I've been up the sharp side on this and it has cost me dearly (anyone wants to e-mail me, via my profile, and I'll fill in the deets) and I give blind trust to nothing anymore, if I can help it.

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