Whatever you’re views on Michael Jackson, he had a point. It really doesn’t matter the colour of your skin or, for that matter, your gender orientation, religion, belief in unicorns….. We are who we are, and that’s an amazing thing.
Nowhere is this more important than in the back of an ambulance. Every person will bleed the same colour, no matter what the colour of their skin. Everyones’ heart works the same, beats the same, no matter what their religious beliefs. To an ambulance crew, you are first and very foremost, a patient, and all the same rules apply.
Granted, people with certain sexual orientation and drug users sometimes require extra infection control measures, but not because of who they are. People with certain religious beliefs require certain parts of their beliefs to be respected in their treatment too.
The bottom line is that there is, and there will never be, any place or time for racism, homophobia or any other form of bias in an ambulance!
It was a Friday or Saturday night, an alcohol fueled altercation in the city centre. My partner that night was a veteran paramedic, quite large, not to be argued with. We arrived to find two males had been involved. One was in a police car being interviewed, the other in a shop doorway also being interviewed by the police. I went to the police car to check on the person in there, my partner went to the person in the doorway. My “patient” had red knuckles, from the impact with the other person’s face, but no other injuries. My partner’s “patient” had a cut lip, also a result of the fist/face impact. This person also had darker skin……
The police were surprised when we appeared, but it transpired the victim had called us. We examined both people and determined no loss of consciousness, blurred vision, broken bones etc, therefore no requirement for hospitalisation. This didn’t go down well with the victim. As we walked away the victim shouted “You’re all just ****ing racists!”.
My partner stopped in their tracks. It felt like the whole world stopped for a moment, everything went silent. The police officers tensed up.
They slowly turned, walked back to the patient, looked him in the eye and slowly and clearly said “Don’t ever repeat that in my hearing! Man up, sort yourself out and get on with your life. I am following ambulance service protocols, protocols that apply to everyone. Now if you wish to discuss racism, let’s get one of these police officers across.”. The patient, now speechless, raised his hands by way of a stunned apology. My partner turned and walked back to the ambulance. I too was speechless as I drove away from the scene.
Then my partner turned to me “Coffee?”. We refuelled the ambulance and picked up a couple of strong brews. “That went surprisingly well” they said, and we both let out a sigh of relief.
I already wrote about affluent types, now colour, country of origin, religion, sexual persuasion….there is nothing in this world, other than your attitude, that will cause you to be treated differently to anyone else when you are a patient in an ambulance. Please bear this in mind should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself there. Ambulance crews are very unbiased, they have to be. Their job is to save or maintain “life”, not “certain lives”.
And they don’t appreciate malicious accusations.