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Sixth Sense

Posted Mar 26 2009 12:00am
On our local high street there are several pubs, one of which used to have a somewhat unfavourable reputation, but has totally cleaned up its act and is now even family-friendly.
It's about 9 in the evening and I'm just driving home (stupidly in uniform, as I've just come off shift) past said pub, when out the corner of my eye I see a figure lying on the pavement, just between a bus shelter and the pub. My instant, work-experienced reaction is one of "another binge-drinking session gone wrong". So I drive on.
However, something tells me to turn round and go back again. Some sixth sense kicks in and my professional instincts take over. I get to a mini-roundabout and do an about-face, park in the bus-stop, put on my hazards, and grab my little bag-of-tricks out the boot. There's not a great deal in it, but just enough to be a helpful first-aider.
I crouch down to find a 20ish year old young lady, the smell of alcohol on her breath almost overwhelming, but something isn't right. I've seen enough drunk people to last me a lifetime, and this lady wasn't just drunk. The pub's landlady comes over to me and says that she's already called an ambulance, and that they were on their way. I thanked her, and she left to go back to her customers.
The patient didn't respond to any voice, and only made a vague noise when I applied some pain to her nail-bed, a tried and tested method to elicit a response from those who are pseudo-unconscious. Her GCS was probably about 8/15. In the distance I can hear a siren. I can also hear the paramedics muttering to themselves the same thing I was thinking when I first drove past. The siren that I could hear turned out to be an FRU who I think was pleased to see that there was another green person there. As she got out of the car, I gave a brief handover of the patient's observations, told her about my sixth sense which she instantly accepted.
It was at that exact point that the patient stopped breathing. She still had a pulse, but was in respiratory arrest. Although I had never met this paramedic before, there was an instant co-operation and we worked together as if we'd been crew mates for years. We were able to resuscitate this patient to the stage that when the ambulance turned up she was regaining some level of consciousness and by the time she was actually in the ambulance she was even telling us her name.
Just before I left the crew, Ellen, the FRU lady, turned to me and with a wry smile thanked me and said "Next time you have another Sixth Sense moment, please check that I'm off duty..."
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