Every now and then, in amongst all the abuse and jobs the ambulance service really shouldn’t have anything to do with, you have a call which brings you right back to the day you joined and reminds you why you’re still here. A call which makes you genuinely feel like you’ve helped to save someone’s life, and there is no better feeling in the world!
After many many years in this job and having been on a bit of a downer recently (hence the lack of tweets), I was on duty for one of these calls last week. It feels that ever since, the passion I once had in abundance for my job has returned with a vengeance!
To give you an idea what happened, here are the (slightly amended) opening and closing lines of the 999 call -
OPENING(female screaming) “help me, f**king help me!!! My child has stopped breathing”
CLOSING(female calm but tearful) “they’re here they’re here! Oh my god thank you SO much”
LUCKILY (and I hugely emphasise that point) there was an available ambulance less than 4 minutes away from the address. It’s quite amazing that frequently you can look at the dispatch computer screens and see that we are 100% committed and know that the next 999 call that comes in will have to wait, but in all my years that has never happened (to me anyway) when a genuinely immediately life threatening call is made!
After the ambulance crew who attended this call finished at hospital they phoned the control room to inform us that without the early & effective CPR given by mum with our guidance, this child would now be en route to the hospital mortuary. As it was the child was happily feeding from it’s mother in the resuscitation room at A&E.
The atmosphere within the control room throughout this job was tangible and the emotional swing from being very low to as high as a kite was felt by everyone on duty. Unfortunately successful paediatric resuscitation is quite rare and is obviously one of the worst possible 999 calls you could take, so a positive outcome is hugely celebrated.
It’s difficult to describe how it feels walking out to your car and driving home after a shift like this. Your head full of excitement and pride but at the same time that mother’s desperate screams still ringing in your ears. Still, as I said earlier, these calls remind you why you applied for this job so you head home, iron your uniform and set your alarm for the next shift.