Thursday 22 March 2012

Lost in Translation

"69 year old male, chest pain"

There is a lot of inter-service banter between ambulance and police. We mock them for repeatedly asking us for our call sign and they mock us for requesting police back up because in 1974 someone at the address swore at a crew! We roll our eyes when they call us for the most pathetic of injuries and likewise, they get fed up at our constant requests for help the second the words mental health or assault are mentioned. It is a constant source of amusement and one which will not go away. The problem is, we will never stop asking for help if an address is flagged or there is a hint of danger and similarly, the police will never stop asking for an ambulance when someone is ill or injured. This is simply because no one wants to take the risk! The one time they don't call us, there will be an unexpected death in custody and the time we don't call them, we will get a beating. Things will continue to frustrate and amuse, but what can you do?! This job today had a lot to do with the flagging of addresses. When ambulance or police go to a property if the occupant is violent, abusive, used weapons etc. that information is linked to that address. Through CADLink the information is shared between the services so when either of us are called to an address we know what we could potentially be walking into. 

It was about 11pm when we got the job. On the CAD information was *LOCALITY MATCH*. We phoned in for further details and were told not to approach. This address is known for firearms and we were to wait at the RVP for police. This is was exactly what we did! We waited, and waited, and waited some more. An hour went by and nothing. The police and no units to send. Unless we are in imminent danger police response can be varied. Waiting 2 hours a few hundred yards from a patients address isn't uncommon. I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of time we have to call them. Just like Peter crying Wolf so many times, the response to ambulance requests can often become diluted. I'm not saying we are calling them unnecessarily but we are not a priority if we are sat safely on the side of the road eating a cold McDonalds! After about an hour and a half a car turned. The two officers called in to get more information on the address and the occupant was known to be violent and have a string of firearm offences. I don't blame them for requesting SO19 back up! Eventually one of our officers arrived with ballistic vests. We shoehorned ourselves into them and continued to wait.

"What's your call sign?" one of the coppers asked!

After a little while the whole team was assembled. 2 x cars of firearms officers, 1 x car of police officers, 1 x incident officer, 1 x DSO and 1 x Ambulance. In a glorious convoy of blue lights we headed round to the address. I love moments like this, this is what I live for! We pulled up and the police sprang into action. I was unable to see the entrance to the property but I could here lots of shouting. After about a minute a copper came wondering over. 

"All clear" he said with a look of amusement and dejection.

Loaded up like pack-horses we bundled into the house. Sat in the living was a rather bemused, shocked looking elderly couple. Audrey and William had been enjoying their evening when William got chest pain. 2 hours after calling an ambulance the armed police burst in. Not exactly what they ordered! Luckily he wasn't having a heart attack either. We took him to hospital as a precaution apologising profusely for the mix-up. Needless to say it was our turn to gloat today. There was some head scratching going on amongst the 5-0! Something, somewhere had got lost in translation and never in their 50 years of marriage had either of them been gun toting reprobates! They saw the funny side! We all did!


  1. Wonderful expression of what is a good working relationship!
    Luckily William didnt have a heart attack either....what a story they have to live on for a long time I bet!
    Thank you for the smile:o)

  2. just as well it wasnt an MI, it's all gonna go wrong one day


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!