“I pay your wages”…. Pt II

If the people who use the above statement knew where scary amounts of their money were used, they may have a greater respect for ambulance crews. So here we go:

A significant number of the jobs I was called to involved drugs & alcohol. No great surprise, but the day after often saw more time wasters. While more of the jobs were to overdoses or D&Is (Drunk & Incapable), those patients were actually are at risk. The ones that call an ambulance because they have a severe hangover or are suffering strange after effects from legal highs…..those are the true time (and money) wasters. I once travelled 20 miles one Sunday morning, under lights & sirens, to a patient with a severe headache. This can sometimes be a symptom of a stroke, so we treat the job as such until we know better. But some things didn’t ring true. The patient was too young, there was no history, no overweight warning…

We arrived and he was walking about, looking rough. It took as a while to extract it from the pt, but the signs were all around us – empty cans and bottles, and a strong smell of alcohol. Eventually, once his friend had arrived and laughed at him, he admitted a huge bender the night before. My partner explained the concept of a hangover to him, then asked him if he wanted to go to hospital. His response was “No thanks, can you not just give me an aspirin or something”. Wrong answer! My partner calmly explained that we had come some distance, at speed therefore putting us and everyone around us at risk. We didn’t give out aspirin, but a well known pharmacy did and it was now open. Then they told the patient, in no uncertain terms, to man up and left the room. I shook my head at the stunned young man and followed.

Other time wasting jobs can be slightly amusing. One bizarre call I had was quite a distance, cross country. It came in as an emergency so we responded as such. The job claimed that our young patient had been bitten, some hours before, by their pet hamster… We went mobile and I radioed control to ask was this for real? Yes, it was! I stated that I had no intention of taking this patient to A&E as I’d be laughed out by the staff, and that instead I’d be referring them to the local out of hours gp. 2 minutes later we were stood down.

It’s unfortunate, but there are people who think the Ambulance service is also a taxi service. The clue is on the side of every vehicle – “Emergency Ambulance”. While that vehicle is attending hangovers, or small rodent bites, it is unavailable to save heart attack or stroke victims, or rescue people from car crashes.

Yes, the jobs I mentioned are amusing, and no one died (that I’m aware of) because of them. I suppose the point of this post is please use your emergency services appropriately. Think about how you might feel watching a loved one suffer because there are no ambulances available, because they are all………..”busy”.

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