Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Why the long face?

"15 year old female, fallen off horse, still on floor, to be met at gate"

Certain jobs are like London buses. You wait ages for and 3 come along at once. I had never done a 'fallen off horse' since I started the job. I chuckled with disbelief when this job appeared on the MDT as this was the second horse related job in the shift and the third in two day! We headed to the location but had huge problems finding it. Our Sat Nav takes us to a finishing post, normally within a few meters of an address. The problem today was that the location needed was the entrance to a bridle path yet the location we were taken to was the middle of a village. A number of calls went back and forth between us and control, and control and the caller. Eventually we were painstakingly navigated by radio to the location (a mile away)!

A woman met us at the gate, but the gate was locked. Apparently the key holder was being tracked down. The problem was the patient was at least a mile down the 5 miles path. I got out, grabbed all the kit I could carry and began walking, leaving my crew mate behind to wait for the key. About 20 minutes later and absolutely caked in mud I got to the patient albeit panting, hot, sweaty and aching! She was lying on her back also caked in mud and in good spirits, the horse had bolted when the farmers gun had gone off and she'd landed head first. She was complaining of neck pain and tingling in her legs. I knelt down and placed a knee either side of her head to immobilise her spine until my crew mate arrived. I fitted a collar to her and took what basic OBs I could from where I was kneeling. Other than the pain, she was stable. After about 10 minutes my crew mate arrived with the truck. Thank god! Carrying her out would be a nightmare! 

We went through the immobilisation procedure, carefully log-rolling her onto the scoop, securing her head with head blocks and fully strapping her to the board. We got her loaded onto the truck and her friend headed back where we had come from with the two horses. She had obviously phoned our patients mother as moments later she arrived having run a mile along the path. My crew mate warned that the path was extremely uneven and difficult to drive along. There wasn't anywhere to turn the truck around so rather than reverse a mile we decided to drive forward 4. There were lots of overhanging trees so going backwards could have been problem. The patients mother assured us there wasn't a gate at the other end and in actual fact it brought us out on the road we needed for the hospital. Win win! Of we went!

Due to the nature of the possible injuries we had to take it very slowly due to the state of the path. In the back of the ambulance every bump, dip and undulation is exaggerated which make even the smoothest of rides potentially uncomfortable in the back. We went round every bend,  up and down every slope, through every puddle and successfully avoided every over hanging tree. It took us about 35 minutes to get to the exit, and like the mother had said the was indeed no gate..........however, there was a width restriction! There were no signs at the start warning of this potential problem or if there were we didn't see them! We were driving one of the new vehicles which are wider than the old ones. We inched up to the restriction, each with our heads out the window shouting the clearance. It wasn't going to happen. We were 2 inches too wide. F%@k s%&t bol&!cks! 

We called up control to see if there were any cunning suggestions we hadn't thought of like the HEMS helicopter. Nope! HEMS was offline! Reverse it was. It's ok, there is a reversing camera on ambulances so you can see what is right behind you. Nope! It wasn't working! So, with the back door open, some shouting and a mish-mash of hand signals we began painstakingly reversing along the 5 miles of bridle path with me walking behind the ambulance pointing out potholes and trees. Almost 2 hours later in near darkness, we reached the gate and were able to head off to hospital. I was filthy, covered head to toe in mud, my uniform brown, face spattered and chilled to the bone. 4 hours after dispatch we were on our way to the hospital on an actual road. It is now I will tell you we were sent this job at 14:45. We were suposed to finish work at 15:00. We got back on station at 19:35. Cest la vie!

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