After a few hours of nothing, an 80 year-old Australian lady tripped on a raised pavement slab and fell on her face, cutting her head just above the eye. She also had a numb face on the same side and some mild shoulder pain, probably caused by her attempt to stop the fall. Her family was with her and I took her and her son in the car, while the others followed on by taxi. Easy and sensible.
Shoppers, far too busy with bargains, delayed me from getting to an 18-month old girl who’d fallen onto her face in a large store. There was nobody to meet me and a MOP had to tell me where I was going; thankfully there was no serious injury to deal with. The little girl was wailing in distress – she had a cut and swollen lip and a bruised nose and cheek. There were a few loose teeth too, so I took her and mum (who is a GP) to children’s A&E for treatment and reassurance.
I had a quiet word with the manager of the store on the way out with the patient ( I had just cleared the lift of able-bodied people who were unwilling to give me the space at first) when he asked what was going on. I suggested that he speak to his staff about communication and receiving emergency service personnel.
Later in the day a 48 year-old French woman fell awkwardly whilst shopping with her family. I found her in the changing room, lying on the floor in agony after (probably) fracturing her clavicle at the extremity where it meets the upper arm bone (humerus). It also looked dislocated so I understood why she was reticent to have it moved in any way.
There was a translator on scene (a member of staff), which was fortunate because my limited French and her limited English were getting us nowhere. She told me she worked as a nurse and so this made things easier in terms of treatment (entonox) and description of the injury.
I had almost set off to hospital with her in the car and prepared to return for the rest of her family when the ambulance showed up, even though I wasn’t hopeful of getting one. It was a blessing because it meant we could take the patient and her three family members to hospital together. So, I travelled behind the ambulance with two family members, neither of which could speak English. I had to entertain myself by people-watching as I trundled along Tottenham Court Road. That’s when I saw a man dressed as a bed, with a full mattress over him, walking along the street advertising a bedding store. He was preceded by a shivering, fed-up looking woman who was dressed in an old-fashioned night gown and hat and carrying a candle. I couldn’t think of a useful French phrase for this, so I let my guests work it out themselves as they followed the line of my gaze with their mouths open.
The injured woman and her family were due to travel home a few hours later but I told her that this was very unlikely.
Confusion after a headache can mean a TIA has occurred and so the visiting friends of an 87 year-old man decided to call 999 when he lost the ability to speak properly and became vague. When I arrived he’d started to improve but he knew himself that something wasn’t right. The crew was on scene soon after me so I didn’t get too far into the history and obs on this one but he would have been taken to hospital for sure.
I have to say I’m finding it more and more difficult to make judgment calls about individuals with possible neurological problems when I am subjected to walking human beds in the middle of the afternoon.