News Roundup

A round up of recent media stories about ambulances and the talk of the ambulance loading bay at the hospital the other night.

Dozens of patients were removed from hospital wards after two ambulances caught fire and exploded.

I'm glad there were only minor injuries.


Bottle thrown at ambulance on emergency call

“We were on blue lights on the way to a call and we heard an explosion. The next thing we were covered in glass – it was everywhere”

Ambulance bicycles stolen in the City

The London Ambulance Service is appealing for the return of two cycle response pushbikes after they were stolen from outside the home of a patient in Finsbury. The custom-built Specialized Rockhopper mountain bikes were taken yesterday evening (Wednesday) from Joseph Trotter Close, EC1, after staff had been called to attend a man who was unwell.

Which sort of sums up how some 'members of the community' treat ambulance services.


Woman Dies In Pub After Paramedic 'Delay'

Then there is this, which is very sad – but I know that there are certain pubs in my area that I hate going into because, well, people get killed in them. Once more it's a case of 'blame the person who wants to survive their shift'. And once more, as usual, the blame is being put on 'health and safety' – at which point I'd like to tell those commenters that if they would like to live without health and safety legislation I'll be seeing them later in the back of my ambulance.

This sort of story is happening more and more – I really should just do one blog-post that I can refer to when another similar story happens.

Incidentally, can someone explain the laws of grammar that have newspapers 'quoting' their own stories? I always read it as indicating sarcasm.


The current gossip outside the A&E department the other night was how there is a local estate where someone seems to have taken a shine to shooting at ambulance crews with an air pistol. Apparently the official advice is that if you get a call there the crew should wear their stab vest and safety helmet.

This is the sort of 'welcome' that we are dealing with.

7 thoughts on “News Roundup”

  1. I can only ralate in my limited experienc to one head of the posts above.There was a pub in East Mosley with a dodgy reputation. Dutifully, my crewmate and I ran on the call to be greeted by one of the most surreal images I can recall. On entering the pub we were met by a guy, whom I can only describe as a 'man mountain,' whilst carefully laid out in the recovery position was a young looking lout. But no problems this was strictly speaking a 'collapse' call.

    In reality, the guy who met us had a reputation when younger as a bit of a pugilist. The young man barely awake on the bench was one of three assailants determined to take his fisticuff crown from him. The first thug he hit was neatly laid out on the bench for transport. The secon lout struck lost several teeth and escaped out of the door with a third, who screamed loudly and proclaimed an unfair fight.

    What to do? No blue serge is 'turning out' for the call so it's me and my mate.


    Take the little scrote to hospital, and blame his fall on too much drink. Thank the 'tank' for not beating us to death, but congratualate him on his first aid, and bugger off.

    What do you think?

    I would not turn up, despite my liberal values in this day and age for a kicking, courtesy of the yobs.

    PS: What is someone, with ongoing medical problems doing in a wheelchair, out for the night with children at home?

    When young I used to make formula, not music!

    I dare say I will get a verbal 'kick in the teeth,' and so be it. But please these are our guardians your talking about, and not a disaffected thug with a dog fixation.

    Note: This is not a reference to the deceased, but to a very unpleasent social model.

  2. On the one hand I have every sympathy with the first responder -as a lone woman I would have worried about going into a pub too, especially when people inside were very worked up -and possibly 'tanked up' too. On the other hand I saw on the news that the authority's response was that “a responder was on scene within six minutes” -which does make you wonder if they are happy to have met the response time target even though they sent someone who could not do much in the circumstances. -I know you have written in the past about the use of first responders to meet target times etc, Tom.

  3. I believe my comment above could be construed as unduly harsh, as children have lost their mother and parents have lost their daughter. The fact of the matter, in my mind, is we have evolved a target driven society for the emergency services, which is uncomfortably combined with a H & S/risk assessment directions for staff, who are damned if they do, and damned if they don't.The responder, governed by her guidelines behaved correctly, though there was a terrible outcome.

    Tragic? Yes, but a sign ot the times.

  4. I know that we've been here before but the truth is that this isn't about targets and it isn't about single responders and it isn't even about Health and Safety.The problem is that society has now “evolved” in such a way that the emergency services are no longer safe when responding to calls.

    Society means all of us, be us ambulance staff, teenagers, pensioners and everyone in between, we all need to change our behaviours and reflect on what we deem as acceptable.

    In the mean time there will be casualties, they may be Paramedics shot at, or patients put in harms way waiting for “safety” to be assured. However the responsibility lies with us all, still I guess that's not a concept that sits will with journalists and the public at large.


  5. Mr. Reynolds, My name is Chris and I am a medic in the US (central Ohio area). I recently bought your book at a 2nd hand bookstore and quickly finished it. I just want to say thank you and good luck.

    The thank you is for your ability to publish our thoughts to the public without making them seem like the ill-tempered rants we might sometimes turn them into. I have also quite enjoyed seeing the differences in our work from our Brittish counterparts. Over and over again I find little things here and there that we do so differently. Yet, it's always erie the comonalities, especially in the thoughts and emotions of our work.

    This specifically brings to mind one of the stories near the end of your book talking about smoking parents, more specifically the arrest of a young girl who's father 'lit up' in the resus room after her death. I happened to read that while at work and it put me in a foul mood for a long while.

    The good luck is for your continued interest and devotion in this blog, but more importantly, in your passion for your career. From your blogs I believe that we view our jobs somewhat similarly. At the moment, I do a lot of work in the private EMS sector, so I see more indifference, apathy, and good ol' burn-out than I care to admit.

    Here's to the simple things in life (a shift without “incident reports”, strange body fluids on your uniform, a never-solicited but honestly-ment 'thank you'… and maybe a good cup of tea?)

    The AmeriMedic

  6. Hiya, just wondered if anyone had an update on this sad state of affairs. I dont blame the first responder no-one should put themselves into a situation where they fear for their safety. It would have been a different story if she had gone into the pub and been badly injured then the public would have said that she should have waited.I am waiting to start my Assistant Practitioner training (pending a medical and references etc) and would like to thank you for your books and blog it has made very informative reading and given me an invaluable insite into what my role will involve.

  7. My hubby is a firefighter whose ground covers the hospital where these ambulances caught fire(were set alight) within their area they have also had 1 police car torched and are worried that they will be next as the 3rd emergency service .they also have the same protocol from what hubby has said re waiting for back up – and it really frustrates me when Joe Public criticizes any emergency service for actually thinking occasionally about their own safety as they too have family to consider. I totally support the lone responder in he actions but also send my sympathy to the family who lost a love one.

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