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Ambulance: A Bad Habit

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
"50 year old female, back pain, #111"

I pulled up outside the house, grabbed my bags and a full PRF and headed in. On the car, we use mini-PRFs as we normally hand over to the crew. If we leave someone at home then a full size PRF is completed enabling you to go into further detail. This patient was not going to be going to hospital! A one week history of back pain in the middle of the night was not an emergency, nor did it need to waste the time of a busy A & E, a heaving walk in centre or a snowed under out of hours GP. 

I listened careful to every word about the back pain and followed up with a long list of probing questions. Sometimes it only requires a few, others it requires an very in depth history. This was somewhere in the middle. I assessed her pain, her mobility and decided she, as predicted, had non-traumatic back pain with no relation to the heart. I did an ECG, and all her observations. All were absolutely fine. She hadn't taken pain killers or anti-inflamatories so I gave her both and left her with advice for now and future. She was a...

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Ambulance: Kids, Buses, Bikes and Helmets

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
"RTC, bus vs child, age unknown, ? trapped, screaming"

I'd just left the house of a 35 year old man with a temperature. I was his second 999 call of the day and to be quite honest, I was fed up. Fed up with the constant stream of time wasters who abuse the right to have a 'free at point of contact' service. I gave suitable advise for his temperature and suitable advise on appropriate use of the service. I sat back in my car, slumped back into my seat and closed my eyes in sheer frustration. This kind of annoyance I was feeling has been becoming a daily feature and to be brutally honest, has made me consider my career options of late. Sure, some of the people we go to need us, but as the weeks, months and years pass, it seems the percentage of unwell people decreases. There doesn't seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, nor any feasible solutions to stop the rot.

"General broadcast, all mobiles, currently have an uncovered RTC, child vs bus, possible entrapment, no units assigned, please make yourself available or come up...

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Ambulance: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
"66 year old institution, near collapse."

I don't really know where to start on this one. Usually I am ready to commentate on all things ambulance, especially when we are in the news, being thrown under the bus or maligned. A few months back The Spectator published the first of two articles regarding the current crisis within the ambulance service. It touches upon the amount of frontline staff leaving in their droves, and asks the very simple question, why? Fast forward a month and a second article was published, in what was a hard hitting, painful accurate portrayal of the crisis facing Londoners and all the ambulance services up and down the country. The official line, was that everyone was leaving because of pay and cost of living. Sadly, this couldn't be further from the truth. Whilst the article had some inaccuracies and was biased in some areas, the theme and overall mood of the piece was spot on. 

As I sat doing paperwork after dealing with a total time waster I listened to an urgent request for a vehicle, for a child vs a...

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Ambulance: The Students Guide To Blogging

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
This post is the result of various requests and emails I have had over the last few months, mainly from student paramedics. Being 2014 and very much an online world, prospective students and current students, and indeed anyone else, turns to the Internet to find out what the job is like from the people doing the jobs. Many, it appears have stumbled across my blog as a point of reference! In a number of cases, it has led them to want to start their own blog of their experiences from training, all the way through to qualifying! I've been asked the same questions on a number of occasions so thought I'd stick my answers into a post for them, and anyone else, whatever level, who was considering starting an ambulance blog or similar. These are my views from my experiences and by no means are a strict set of rules! However, they have kept me out of trouble and generally well received! 

For The Love Of God, Why?!

Why are you blogging? Seems a stupid question to ask, but the answer will impact on how successful you are and how much you enjoy...

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Ambulance: The X Factor

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
“45 year old male, bleeding penis”

Yes, I’m a 6 year old. When the word ‘penis’ appears on the screen in front of me I laugh, every time! Actually it’s more of a snigger, but still, I’ll admit I’m a child! Unsurprisingly, neither my crew mate or myself wanted to have to examine a bleeding penis. We don’t even need to see it. There is nothing we are likely to do other than get the patient to apply pressure themselves. I certainly won’t be applying any direct or indirect pressure to a strangers penis (unless utterly necessary) ! The amazing thing about a bleeding penis, or any penis injury for that matter is the fact that the patients are always desperate to show us! FYI, unless it’s been cut off, or severed, we don’t want to see it! We have absolutely no training on penis injuries and therefor all we would be doing is looking and agreeing with you that it is indeed bleeding / weeping / swollen or erect, none of which I want to see! 

Anyway, what made this particular bleeding penis all the more ridiculous was the other...

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Ambulance: The Generation Gap

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
"28 year old male, fall, hip injury"

One of my greatest frustrations about this job is how the elderly don't want to be a burden on us when they need us most, mirrored by young people seemingly being unable to cope without us. The sheer volume of people aged between 16 - 40 who call 999 with a worrying frequency is putting a huge strain on the NHS. People in this age group with coughs and colds, minor injuries and other such benign ailments seem intent to call us out as a first port of call. On the other side of the coin, you have an 80 year old woman who has been lying on the floor, unable to get up for two hours but didn't ask for help through fear of causing us too much work. The amount of young people who spend their days lounging on the sofa is really quite startling. People really need to get a grip! 

This job was a case in point. The location was at the gym, in the shower rooms. I refused to believe that a 28 year old could have broken his hip and if I was correct, there was absolutely no reason an ambulance was needed. We were met by...

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Ambulance: Hakuna Matata

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
"2 year old male, vomiting"

Blue lights, fast cars, sirens, life threatening emergencies, death, destruction, trauma, helicopters, police cars, fire engines and hi-vis jackets. This is what the ambulance service is often seen to be. On rare occasions it is. The reality however, is much closer to this job! A vomiting child! 

In almost 7 years, I have never called an ambulance because my child is vomiting. In fact, I have never called an ambulance for him, despite the temperatures, tantrums, chicken pox and uncoordinated dancing. It's never crossed my mind! That said, this might be a real emergency, you never know! What I do know, is that if it this was a life threatening emergency, I would be incredibly surprised!

We arrived at the mansion in question, and carefully made our way past the 7 cars on the driveway. Yes, 7! We were greeted at the door and ushered inside where my eyes were drawn to the huge split staircase. Up we went, following the sound of the crying child! Some of the artwork en route was quite amazing! Inside the 'nursery' (bigger than...

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Ambulance: Choices

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
There is a recurring conversation that I have with people when talking about my job. It normally starts with a "I couldn't do your job..." with infills of "I don't know how you do it..." and "don't you get scared..." or "how do you sleep at night?" etc etc. My stock answer is something like "Ha! It's fine, things don't really effect me..." with side notes of "I disassociate myself from the patients..." and "I get into a zone and don't really think about it..." etc etc. You see the pattern!

The fact is, most of what I say is true. At the end of most shifts I've completely forgotten about the patients at the start. If someone has a horrific injury, a do what I have to do to it, cover it and move on. If I'm faced with a combustible situation where I might be vulnerable I tend not to think about the what ifs. Instead I focus keeping everything calm. These situations are no place for fear. That said I am by no means immune to feelings of fear, dread, guilt and nausea! We all are, everyone who works for the ambulance service has those jobs which have effected...

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Ambulance: Afro Circus

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
"3 year old female, crying"

Crying. The child is crying. It doesn't exactly fulfil the 'THIS is an emergency' campaign that's plastered on the side of most ambulances but hey, I'm not there. She might be crying for any number of reasons! All will be revealed!

To the chorus of sirens and the lighting extravaganza of blue lights, we rushed through the busy traffic on route to this seemingly life threatening call. I do often wonder, as the cars dive out of our way, what these drivers would think if they knew we were on our way to a crying child! Hardly the guts and glory Holby City would have you believe! Just before we arrived it updated to say that the child wasn't fully alert. Hmmmmmm!

We pulled up in the car park of the flats and unceremoniously abandoned our ambulance, blocking in all and sundry in the process. It is an emergency after all! We were greeted at the door my the patients mum. She rolled her eyes and kind of laughed as she led the way to the little girl. There was no sign of any crying so that was a good sign....

Sure enough, standing in...

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Ambulance: Blue Coats

Written by RSS Poster Trying My Patients
From time to time I get opportunities to work at sporting and music events. I have worked for a few private companies over the years but now limit myself to just the one! It's the only company, other than my main employer that I will work for, and that is simply down to the people that run it, the people that work for them and the working atmosphere that's created by the above combination! It's a far cry from the endless decreasing morale and target driven pressures of every NHS ambulance service! For that reason, every opportunity that presents itself, I grab with both hands! 

I recently did a weekends work at sporting event for children. It was a great opportunity to have a nice change of scenery and also to learn! It's not often you get to have an abundance of paediatric patients with minor injuries and I think it's important to get this exposure from time to time! I had a great weekend and for the first time in a while, thoroughly enjoyed being at work, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of all of my patients! For two nights, we stayed at the...

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Latest Trying My Patients Stories

A Bad Habit
Kids, Buses, Bikes and Helmets
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
The Students Guide To Blogging
The X Factor

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Emergency Shorts:
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