This is the third in a series of articles of some memorable calls I have been on recently whilst working on an ambulance – not a usual occurrence for me these days as I usually work on my own on a response car.
While working with David recently we got the call ‘Man has set fire to himself’. David tried to blame me – ‘This is working with you, you always get calls like this’ he directed at me. In fact I rarely do and tried to blame his karma for bringing this upon us during an otherwise uneventful day. ‘I bet he has burnt his finger nail striking a match’ I joked.
Anyway, we whizzed up there top speed making lots of noise and were greeted by the sight of the still smouldering clothing on the doorstep. The family were very sensible and had put out most of the fire and popped the man in the shower to cool him down. On our ambulances carry some wonderful Waterjel ™ burns dressings and we applied them promptly to the burned areas to cool him down and ease his pain. David gave him some morphine as well to make sure that he was really comfortable and we wrapped him in warm blankets to prevent him getting too cold. The fire brigade turned up at the location too, but weren’t really required, save for pouring a bucket of water over the smouldering clothes (I knew I should have stamped on them).
Apparently the poor man was feeling very upset because after having enjoyed a lovely Christmas break with his family, he was now due to return to a psychiatric hospital. He told us that he felt so sad that he actually wanted to die. Luckily he hadn’t used any accelerants and his burns although very nasty were unlikely to be life threatening. We took him directly to a specialist burns centre where he will be receiving the best care and thankfully should make a full recovery from his injuries.