Unwarranted Uncharitable Thoughts

The first job of the day was to 'female slipped on ice – police on scene'.

I'll admit that, at half past six in the morning my thoughts towards people, actually towards anything, are often less than charitable.

'It's not that cold', I said to my crewmate – although years of working in all weathers mean that I'm perhaps not best placed to judge, 'I bet she's found the one tiny patch of ice in Newham and fell on that'.

It's the end of the financial year, and so there are roadworks and temporary traffic lights everywhere, unbeknownst to us there was also a 'fun run' in the area – no-one had told us road staff about it. So it took a fair bit longer than normal to get to the patient.

She was stretched out on the pavement and there were four police officers standing around her. As she was partway in the road they had parked their vehicle to 'fend off' the oncoming traffic.

As we pulled up one of the police officers knocked on our window, 'be careful – it's like an icerink out here'.

Well, I have nice boots, they tend to be alright on ice, so I suspected the police officer was being a bit dramatic.

I stepped out of the vehicle and instantly felt my feet sliding under me. The officer was right – it was treacherous.

I decided to forgive our patient for falling over.

My crewmate started to assess the patient – she had a painful knee and with one gentle feel from my crewmate through the patient's jeans she knew she'd done something serious and crunchy to her knee.

Time for a stretcher then.

So, being the driver, I pulled the stretcher out and started towards the patient.

My crewmate describes the next few moments as her seeing the stretcher flying towards her, and her putting herself between the careening stretcher and the patient.

From my point of view, while moving the heavy and awkward stretcher both of my feet slipped and took off skywards. The horizon disappeared and I found myself admiring the beautiful blue sky. Then there was a crunch as I hit the floor and skidded a few inches to a halt.

I knew I hadn't hurt myself so I found myself laying there laughing.

The police officers ran over to me to make sure I was alright – I'm heavy after all and I have a lot of things in my pocket that made an awful noise as I fell on my arse.


The rest of the job went quite smoothly, our patient was very brave despite being in a lot of pain – pain that we controlled the best we could with immobilisation of the knee and some nitrous-oxide. Further examination in the ambulance revealed something rather wrong with our patient's knee, so she needed a trip to the hospital.

My crewmate's insta-diagnosis was proven right as our patient's kneecap – normally one bone had decided to become at least six separate bones…


As for the road, the police had got in contact with the council to come and grit this small section of road. What had happened was that the was a large puddle in a bus lane, as the night buses had gone past they had each laid a thin layer of water onto the road, these layers had then frozen, aided perhaps by the nearby river. This wasn't helped by being essentially invisible against the black of the road.

Unforeseeable and unfortunate, it was no-one's fault and it'll teach me to think ill thoughts at the crack of sparrow's fart in the morning.


9 thoughts on “Unwarranted Uncharitable Thoughts”

  1. I just finished reading your book. I am an EMT B, currently going to school to become a paramedic. I thought it was amazing. Keep up the good work in everything that you do! 🙂

  2. Oh, that was you! We were all confused about the patch of ice too. Glad you weren't hurt and glad we didn't have to send a second ambulance for you as this may have led to a comedy situation with lots of people flailing around on the ice…

  3. Glad you weren't hurt. Many of us develop those attitudes at times, and yes, sometimes it takes us being affected by it (directly or not) to remind us that we need to realize that there are those who, through no fault of their own, become injured or ill.Thanks for the write-up on this, and the reminder. 🙂

  4. Ha – similar story here.Got an early morning call for an RTC. When we arrived, I got out of the ambulance, stood on the black ice, and promptly fell flat on my arse.

  5. Whatever happened to all those boxes of grit there used to be on the side of roads (Old green rusty ones, new yellow plastic ones…)? Where have they all gone?

  6. Ouch ! Glad you didn't do any damage…. Funny that when we're kids we fall over all the time in the normal course of things. As adults, not so much. I watch the Rugby sometimes and think about how much it would hurt if it was my body involved in that bone crunching flying tackle. Makes me feel old and frail…!How come you still have icy patches ? I thought it was spring over there ?

  7. “At the crack of sparrow's fart in the morning”?Never heard that one before… but it's awesome. Good times!

    Talk about instant karma.

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