Saturday 15 October 2011


"Unknown sex or age, Cardiac Arrest, CPR in progress, access OK"

Well that was enough to get the blood flowing and adrenaline pumping. Blues and Twos blaring we winded our way through the traffic, we weren't far away so there was a good chance we would be first on scene. Secretly most crews have their fingers crossed that they are second but today we were indeed first.

We screeched up to the house, grabbed all the kit we need and made a brisk walk to the front door (with the exception of the occasional university student we never run!). The door was ajar so with a courtesy knock we headed in.

"Hello, ambulance service"

A panicked, distraught voice shouted back...

"In here, quickly, I'm in here"

We made our way along the hallway and into the poorly lit room at the end. As we entered the room there was a man in his 50's doing CPR. He had scraggly grey hair, week old stubble, dirty clothes and tears running down his face.

"Please help, he's died, he won't talk to me"

No amount of training can prepare you for the scene that we were witnessing. We are trained in black and white and the grey areas are often skipped over. And this was indeed a grey area. 

The man was doing CPR on his armchair. Not CPR on someone in an armchair.....actual CPR on his armchair.

The squeak of the springs were audible with every compression. Despite it being an innocuous piece of furniture the man was distraught. How do you deal with this? What do you say? What do you tell him?

We muddled our way through those questions, and discovered a 20 year history of extensive mental health problems. It transpires that since April 1993 he has had to fend for himself, minimal help, just left to cope with his delusions on his own. Margaret Thatcher's Care in the Community simply dumped these people on the streets. The communities didn't care because people fear mental health. Like us they don't know how to react, what to say, where to look. And to be honest, there isn't much we can do either, a trip up to A & E is the best we could offer and as he came voluntarily there is a good chance he will self discharge. Something has to be done about mental health in this country but what, i don't know. 


  1. Poor guy. This, oddly enough, is the kind of call that would stay with me for awhile. We talk about the golden hour and the chain of care, but this chain just dangles...I'm glad you posted this. We have similar stuff here in the US. There's got to be an answer somewhere...

  2. Had a similar incident years ago. Paged for a stabbing. Arrived to find a man with a similar description rocking back and forth in the apartment, saying "I just had to do it. I just had to kill him. He's out back, I just had to stab him." What we found 'out back' was a dinner fork lodged in a tree. Unfortunately, as in your situation, there was very little we could do.

  3. Almost as good as the one with the blow up doll. Can tell this was an early one as you don't elaborate so much but still love it. You weren't so rude (funny) about the surroundings either which is what I find so funny in your latest ones. Yes I know it pisses people off but who cares, it's what we like!

  4. It could well be that this person has been assessed by MH team and refused services, it happens quite often with people who in common parlance may be considered "Mad". Then you are left with a "something must be done" but what if they don't meet the criteria for detention as in they are not a risk to themselves or others. Then what can we do? Seriously what do people think we should do force them to accept help ?


I love comments! All bloggers do! If you have something to say, agree or disagree I would love to hear it! I will reply to all! (or try my very best!) If however, you're a troll, save your breath!

Due to an increase in spam I moderate comments but ALL genuine comments will be posted. See above exclusions!