Unless you have been out of the country recently, you can’t have failed to notice the news about just how busy the ambulance service has been lately. It’s a variety of factors that are impacting on our resources as well as those of the hospital and GP services.
Firstly the ‘Norovirus’ which causes diarrhoea and vomiting is ripping through communities like a forest fire. There is also a particularly nasty winter flu virus doing the rounds (although it is believed the worst of it is over) and of course we can’t forget the usual increase of alcohol consumption brought on by the Christmas Party season and all the associated joys that brings! All this on top of our usual business means that our poor little feet are barely touching the ground nowadays.
Recently I have been working on an ambulance for the majority of my shifts rather than on my own on the car. It’s been extremely busy and there have been some memorable cases that I have attended in amongst the rather less memorable vomiting and coughing cases.
We were called to help a guy who had fallen from his chair. On arrival we discovered that he weighed approximately 42 Stone. We get used to lifting heavy people in our job, you have no choice, but this was more than Tina and I could hope to manage despite having had our two Weetabix that morning.
The guy was very poorly and definitely needed to go in to hospital so we donned disposable white overalls to protect our uniforms from the various body fluids that were present. We then enlisted the help of another ambulance crew and the fire brigade to assist us with the manoeuvre. Ten of us used all our strength to pull the man on the rescue sheet to the floor of the ambulance. Our equipment isn’t really designed to deal with patients of this size and in particular the trolley bed can’t take that sort of weight; therefore he had to remain on the floor for the duration of the journey. We made him as comfortable as possible with pillows and blankets and lotsof reassurance, but unfortunately for him it was still a rather undignified procedure. Our choices however, were very limited on this particular occasion but we did our best under the circumstances. At the hospital they also had to get a special bed for him to be transferred on to and I have heard that he is making a good recovery following treatment for an infection.
I’ll post again soon about some of the other calls I have been on recently.