Real Life stories of the London ambulance service

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Pielover, Dec 20, 2006.

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  1. Found a nice downloadable book, the author is an Ambulance Tech in London and the book is made up of Blog entries from the last 3 years. Well worth a read - it makes you realise that it isn't just the Armed Forces that can get the shitty end of the stick.

    Exerpt from Blood, Sweat and Tea:

    Essential, Not Emergency

    One of the bizarre things about the Ambulance Service is that, in the eyes of the government, we are an ‘essential’ service but not an ‘emergency’ service. We are ‘essential’ because the emergency services (Police, Fire Brigade and Coastguard) are run by the Home office but Ambulance services across the country are run by NHS trusts, and as such do not have access to the same resources as the true ‘emergency’ services. The distinction is often slight, but can sometimes have quite important considerations for our safety.
    Last night was a case in point. We were called to a patient with abdominal pain; however, further information was given that the patient could be violent. There was something in this information that triggered my ‘danger-sense’, so I was happy to wait for police assistance to arrive before approaching the house.
    Four police officers turned up - normally only two are sent to assist us - and they told us that their computer system, and their personal experience with the householder showed him as a nasty piece of work. We followed the police to the patient and they told him that they were going to search him, and that they wanted to put him in handcuffs first. The patient had obviously been involved with the police before, as once he was handcuffed they checked to see if he had any new warrants out for his arrest...
    Searching him they found a large stick, and a rather worrying looking (5-inch) knife on his person.
    All through this the ‘lady’ of the house was shouting abuse, mainly at the patient, but occasionally at the police officers present. One quick examination showed nothing life-threatening, so we offered a trip to hospital, which the patient accepted. However, as we left the house the woman shouted a few final obscenities at the patient and he then told us he couldn’t be bothered to go to hospital and stalked off into the night. (This was not a problem for either my crewmate or myself.)
    Police computers had information that he was dangerous (a number of rather vicious assaults) but our computers are not allowed to have such data. A police dispatcher has told us that they have all sorts of information on addresses, from animal liberation protesters to members of Parliament. Again, our computers don’t have any information of that sort unless we enter it manually after an ambulance crew has been threatened/assaulted.
    Needless to say, one such report has been sent to central office.
    I later found out that the patient was addicted to crack cocaine - which explains a lot.

    Linky thang to the book: