From Ella Shaw and her fantastic blog http://www.tryingmypatients.com/.
A special relationship……
“22 year old male. Unconscious and bleeding heavily”
A weekend in the city wouldn’t be the same without drink, drugs, violence, vomit, blood and blue lights. More often than not, all the above are on the first job of the night. Today was no different. We were on station but our shift hadn’t started yet. In a garage that holds 8 ambulances and 8 cars, our truck sat alone & being a Sunday night there was no management around and no admin staff. It was just us doing our VDI when the phone rang. We had already spoken to control to give our fleet number and skill level so they knew we were there so we had to answer! It was a begging phone call pleading for us to start early as there was a Cat A call and no other resources to send. Obviously we obliged, so not really knowing if we were missing anything we shot out the garage. It was only 3 miles we had to travel but doing that at 18:00 on the day of a Spurs vs Arsenal match and heading to Tottenham causes bit of a tricky drive. That aside, we arrived about 15 minutes later to a sea of blue lights. In the road was a guy lying on his back surrounded by police. As I stepped out the vehicle I could see a considerable amount of blood on the WPC’s hands. The closer I got, the more blood I could see on all of their hands. What a mess!
The guy had been stabbed numerous times in the leg and once in the stomach and he wasn’t in good way. He was pale, sweating and very drowsy. The police were applying fantastic pressure to the wounds so I took a moment to come up with a plan whilst listening to a vague handover. No one was exactly sure of what happened but what they did know was that a large crowd of ‘anti emergency service’ youths was gathering and were shouting abuse at us and the police. I called for HEMS back up or an FRU. In fact I believe I actually said “send me anything”. If ever there was a reply which summed up David Cameron’s reign of terror on front line services this was it:
“Sorry, we are spread thin. HEMS are tied up and there is nothing else available at the moment. We’ve got A & E support running from 13 miles away but until then you’ll have to make do. As soon as something comes up I’ll send them. Sorry guys”
Still think cuts to emergency services is wise? Hmmm! I wanted someone who could assist in major trauma. No disrespect to A & E support but they are not even allowed to do an ECG or give Calpol. They would be as useful as a chocolate teapot. It was us and the police. I started cutting the guys clothes off. He was panicking but we were far to pre-occupied with his life threatening injuries to be able to talk to him. Cue the police. Not only are their 12 officers trying to keep the crowd back, trying to protect us from some missiles that were being thrown but were applying pressure to wounds, opening dressing, passing us kit and constantly re-assuring our patient. No instructions needed. They just did it. The main source of bleeding was his groin. It was an arterial bleed and was taking all of my energy to apply the pressure needed to slow it down. My crew mate was placing orange cannulas (wide bore cannulas for trauma) in both his arms and drawing up fluids. It was a real mess.
I was aware of two things. Firstly, the crowd was becoming angrier by the minute and things were getting rather volatile between them and the officers who were now almost making a cordon around us. Secondly, our patient may well die where he lay if we didn’t move soon. Again, without prompting the trolley bed appeared. The police knew we had no hands to do it our self. Normally we’d use a scoop or sheet to lift someone but with the number of bodies we had at our disposal it was just a case of lift and run. We got him on board and put in the blue call to the trauma centre. As we were about to leave an FRU turned up. He dumped his car and at our request, drove the ambulance. In the back was me and my crew mate and three cops. The three who had saved our patients life. We arrived at hospital and bundled into resus. The guy was transferred and hospital staff took over from us. Off we went to the blood bath that was our truck. There was blood everywhere, everyone was saturated but it was a good job done by all.
This job itself would have stood up well as a blog in it’s own right but for me it was a great example of the special relationship between the ambulance service and the second best emergency service; the police! (sorry guys, couldn’t miss out on the banter). No matter what the job is, there is a respect and admiration between the two of us. We wave as we pass each other on the road (take note fire brigade) and there is always a welcoming look of relief when one of us arrives at the others scene. This was a perfect example of two public services working well together for one purpose. The police come under a lot of stick and put up with much more abuse and violence than we do and normally shrug it off as being part of the job but that isn’t good enough. They are a fantastic bunch of people who do the toughest job in the most difficult of circumstances. This country is lucky to have such an outstanding force and the sooner that is recognised by the mindless minority the better.
This guy WOULD have died, I have no doubt, if the police hadn’t done what they did but it won’t gain them any respect or thanks from the idiots who abuse them. It wasn’t their job. It was ours but they did what they had to do. I wrote a letter of thanks to their police station, only knowing their shoulder number. I hope it got to them. That’s the funny thing. There are so money different police and so many different ambulance crews, most of the time we are working along side officers we have never met yet the respect and professionalism never wavers. Time after time, we call them when there is even a hint of danger and they come running. I’ll always be in their debt and as such will always be more than willing to give my call sign, even on the ninth time of asking.
THANK you AMBO! We love you!