Day shift: Five calls; one false alarm, two assisted-only and two by ambulance.
Stats: 1 Abdo pain; 1 Asleep; 1 Fall with no injury; 1 Back pain and 1 Faint.
A 30 year-old Japanese man was sitting in a McDonald’s having breakfast when he began to experience what he perceived to be chest pain. He had abdominal pain in fact and I barely completed my obs before the ambulance crew arrived. He had no medical history of any significance and his McD breakfast meal was half eaten. I wondered if he’d wolfed it down too quickly or it had simply disagreed with him.
I sat in the car in Soho with a cup of coffee (purchased for a mere quid at the place where all the local solo’s gather) when I got a call from Control telling me to move away from the area because one of the MRU paramedics’ dosimeter had just gone off, indicating a possible chemical threat. I headed in the direction given but got stopped half way when another call from Control came through. I was travelling directly towards the incident apparently – based on the instructions I was given in the first place. I had to about-turn and go off in the opposite direction to clear the ‘danger zone’.
After an hour or so in which our HART team investigated the incident, I was told that all was clear and I found out later that the battery on my colleague’s meter was faulty, thus the continuous beeping that had alerted him. I decided to get new batteries for my own meter – I had been running around for two weeks without a functioning device. By the time the thing beeps it’s probably too late for the person hearing it anyway.
If you fall asleep on a tube train and the staff can’t wake you up an ambulance will be called and a whole world of fuss will be created around you. An embarrassed Russian man refused to go to hospital because he didn’t need to (but I had to ask) after he had been found slumbering deeply at the end of the line. He wasn’t drunk and he hadn’t been unconscious – he was just one of those difficult-to-rouse types and he didn’t appreciate the over-the-top reaction of the underground staff. To be fair, they had tried all they could to wake him up and they would never risk a mistake with a potentially unwell customer but the man was made to sit on a bench by the platform until I arrived and asked him if he needed to go to hospital. The same question could have been asked by them when he’d told them (repeatedly) that he’d just been asleep.
On stand-by at Leicester Square later on and a cab driver slows to tell me that a woman has fallen on the pavement just a few metres down the road. I drive to the area and she’s surrounded by friends. She’s very embarrassed and admits to being a little clumsy when walking near the kerb. She slipped and twisted her ankle a little. There’s no sign of swelling or bruising and she insists that she can recover with the help of her friends, so I wait in the car until I’m sure she can walk properly.
Acute back pain in a 19 year-old female next. She works in a West End theatre and she’d suffered this kind of thing before but hadn’t bothered to get it checked by a doctor. Now she has a severe ‘stabbing’ pain which is debilitating for her. After ruling out other possibilities I was left with kidney problems or pleurisy as likely culprits but until she gets a proper in-hospital examination carried out, she will never know. The crew take her off and I roll round the corner to complete my paperwork.
I spend twenty minutes writing and restoring my vehicle to a ‘green’ status before I’m called back to the same street as before for a 22 year-old pregnant woman who’s collapsed outside a McDonald’s. She’s had a near-faint and is recovering well by the time I arrive, all of two minutes later. The security guys were worried about her, so an ambulance was called. It still amazes me that pregnancy, regardless of age, provokes such a nervous response from men. I think we are instinctively protective of all pregnant women…or too scared of the possibility of having to deliver the baby.