It’s true, money can tell you a lot about a person. I said this many times during my career – it didn’t matter if you were a multi-millionaire or a homeless alcoholic, everyone got the same treatment in my ambulance. Ambulance crews can’t afford to differentiate. Yes, there are annoying patients, “regular offenders”, those who obviously don’t need to be there, people who are clearly abusing the system, but in these situations you must put your personal feelings aside and remember why you are there.
After a slow start to the shift, around 20:00 we got a call to an RTC on one of the local country roads. It was a well known corner, a hotspot for accidents. I say “accidents”, but it was nearly always bad driving that caused the incidents.
Sure enough, as we pulled up the cause became apparent. The incident involved an older small car and a large, white, 4×4 that had clearly never been off-road in it’s life. The small car was a bit of a mess and the driver was still in it, the 4×4 was damaged at the front but still drivable, and empty.
We approached carefully and assumed the “fend off” position in the road, completely closing it to traffic from behind. The fend-off position is when an ambulance, or other vehicle, parks diagonally across a carriageway with full emergency lighting on, effectively blocking one or more lanes in an attempt to protect the scene and the people working at it.
I was driving, so my partner quickly got out of the ambulance and went to assess the driver of the small car. I got out and began to look for the driver of the 4×4. I quickly found them! They were strutting round, most upset that their vehicle had been damaged and, quite arrogantly, demanding that their “whiplash” be assessed. I explained that the driver of the other vehicle was trapped and therefore was our priority.
This seemed to be the wrong response. The 4×4 driver was clearly a person of wealth, their vehicle a top of the range model with a private registration. A tirade of disgust and accusations of “******* useless NHS paramedics!” bounced off my back as I turned away and went to get an update from my partner so I could update Control.
The disgruntled 4×4 driver was not finished – they continued to rant at us as the first fire unit arrived and we discussed with the crew how best to get the young driver out of the badly damaged car. The roof and doors were removed by the, ever obliging, fire crews. A second fire unit had arrived by this time and assumed the fend-off on the other side of the incident, completely closing the road.
As we extracted the injured driver of the small car, the 4×4 driver was still determined to be examined. We took the injured driver into the ambulance for a full examination and left the fire crews to make the remains of the car safe.
At this point the police had not arrived.
My partner began to assess the young driver. They had some bad injuries, but none were life threatning. Then the rear doors of the ambulance opened…
“I’m in agony here! I demand you examine me. Whiplash needs to be assessed early!!”
The mist descended and I made my way to the back doors. Barely holding on to my composure, I did my best to politely explain that whiplash was not a priority at this point, and the other driver was. “Call me another ambulance then!!”. I offered to call them a taxi. “My car is also in a terrible condition too. Who’s going to take responsibility for that?!”
Luckily for them, the police arrived at that, potentially explosive, point.
A local traffic unit pulled up rapidly and stopped behind the ambulance. The local officers, known well to my partner and myself (an ambulance messroom is a good source of cups of tea for police officers during slow shifts), jumped out. “Sir! Step away from the ambulance and let the crew do their job!” said one of them, surprisingly forecefully. The 4×4 driver was as taken aback as myself. Then they began their tirade on the police officers. Bad move!
Both police officers made a quick assessment of the scene. “what direction were you travelling in sir?” they asked the 4×4 driver. He indicated his side of the road, then began to complain about the other driver. The small car was a very sporty japanese vehicle, driven by a youngster.
“He came screaming round the corner on the wrong side of the road!” the 4×4 driver ranted. “Hmm…….” said the first traffic officer. “did you move the vehicles after the impact?” The 4×4 driver looked surprised. “Its just that there are very long skid tracks on your side of the road before the corner, that cross to the other side of the road on the corner, and stop under the tyres of your car….Sir”. The 4×4 driver went silent. “That implies that you were speeding, and took the corner far too fast…on the wrong side of the road….Sir”. The 4×4 driver retorted “But….but…he was driving ridiculously fast!”. “Not according to the marks on the road from his car….Sir. Would you mind stepping into the back of our car?” . I’m sure I spotted a wink from one of the officers before they disappeared into the car with the driver.
I returned to the rear of the ambulance where my partner was chatting with the other driver. They were talking about the small car. Aparently it was a vintage, collectable sports car. One of the poice officers knocked on the rear doors so I let them in. They had come to take a statement from the young driver. “I’m sorry this has happened. The road markings are already showing you did nothing wrong, but the official investigation will easily prove it”, The young driver was more concerned about their car. “There are only 250 of them in the UK” they said. “249 now” the officer said remorsefully. “But the other driver won’t drive again for a long time when we’re finished. He’s currently on the phone to his expensive lawyer , trying to explain he’s in big trouble. I don’t think any amount of money will get him out of this one!”
There were many other incidents during my career where money said something about people. Mostly it said about them”I’m arrogant and I intend to use my money to attempt to buy me out of this situation I’ve gotten myself into”. This may sound like some kind of inverse-snob attitude but, unfortunately, nothing on this blog site is made up. It is all based on actual situations and experiences.
So yes, money does talk. But it can’t hide the truth or, in this case, the convicting road makings. And it wil never pull the wool over experienced traffic police officers’ eyes.