Since the weather is warm, I thought a story from winter might help cool things down a bit.
Alcohol – many enjoy it, many abstain, many consume too much. Alcohol related incidents are regular events for ambulance crews, the majority of jobs involve its cusumption somewhere in their creation.
I often wondered why, after dealing with drunk people during a shift, I wasn’t completely put off the thought of drinking alcohol myself, but that may be to do with the ability we develop whereby we are able to compartmentalise and, as a result, disassociate with certain things.
It was winter. Icy pavements, festive revelers. Myself and someone else had travelled to a different city to meet with a friend I had trained with. We had a few drinks and were walking to a different establishment for more. Ahead of us we saw a but of a fuss going on. As we got closer, we noticed someone on the ground. Instantly my training friend and I switched into serious mode. The person on the ground had slipped on the icy pavement and fallen backwards. They had hit their head on the ground an were slightly dazed when we arrived. My friend was from the area, it was their turf, so I let them take the lead. They went straight to the “patient” and began to examine them. Without any medical equipment, this didn’t take long. As I asked the “patient’s” friends what had happened my, now partner, was helping the patient to their feet. As they straightened up we both had the same thought – they were tall, therefore the distance their head had travelled before impact with the pavement was significant. As they were still dazed, we became concerned. We both agreed this person had to go to hospital but, being the festive period, we saw no need to call an ambulance. We suggested to their friends that one of them drove the patient there, but this was met with blank faces. No one was sober enough, the patient was their designated driver that night. Eventually we convinced them to flag down one of thd many taxis and they all bundled in, off to the nearest A&E department.
While this was all happening, unbeknown to us, our other friend had been talking with some surprisingly impressed onlookers. There were comments around our obvious medical knowledge. One person asked if we were doctors, or medical students. On hearing we were ambulance crew they exclaimed “Wow, they got here fast!!”.
The job never ends. Even when you leave the service, people want your medical opinions and advice. I still find myself diagnosing ailments. Thankfully, I manage to be correct in most situations.
It’s humbling to have people ask for help, although I recently had to undergo a first aid course to officially be able to assist in my current workplace. That was an….interesting experience.
I joined the Ambulance Service partly because I was a rubbish onlooker. Now I sometimes wish I could just blend into the crowd!