Thursday, 7 February 2013


I often talk about not judging a job based on the information given to us. Ideally we walk into every job with an open mind, without bias and taking what we see at face value. Sometimes however it is hard not to presume. A ’21 year old, unconscious’ on a saturday night in a trendy part of town I will presume is ’21 year old, completely wasted, must show self restraint, will probably vom’. There will be the very odd occasion that I am wrong, but normally it will be exactly that. A ’17 year old female, DIB, chest pain, pins and needles’ to me, will be ’17 year old female, panic attack after argument with boyfriend, will be crying’. Again, most of the time it will be exactly that, or at least a variation on that! Bearing that in mind, when this job appeared on my mind I suspected exactly the same as what you are all thinking.....

“39 year old female, chest pain, bailiff on scene, patient is being evicted”

I read it as:

“39 year old female, saying she has chest pain to delay being evicted”

OK, OK. Best keep an open mind!

We pulled up outside the high-rise block of flats, got in the lift with it’s urine perfume and headed on up to the 17th floor. The views were amazing, the clientele.....not so much! Inside the flat were 2 bailiffs and our patient. One of them was changing the lock, the other looking frustrated. 

“Hi guys, sorry to call you out, I know you probably have better things to do but we had no choice. We have to cover our backs!”

“No problem, what going on?”

“We are here to serve an eviction notice on behalf of the council. This lady is living here illegally, she was staying here with a friend apparently, that friend has since left the country and she has been living here rent free for 5 months, she doesn’t qualify for a 2 bedroom flat, or any flat for that matter and despite numerous notices she won’t leave. When we arrived she refused to leave, when we explained the police would be called if she didn’t vacate the premises she said she had chest pain. That’s where we are at. I’ve tried to explain that regardless of the pain, the locks have been changed and minute she leaves she won’t be getting back in but she insisted she wanted an ambulance.”

“Okey dokey, no worries, we’ll have a chat with her.”

Call me cynical, but this sounded exactly as I predicted. Similar to chest pains in police custody suits, people time and time again, abuse the system in a vain attempt to delay the inevitable. 

“Hello my dear, do you still have the chest pain?”


“You do know that we will have to take you to hospital don’t you?”


“And if we do so, when you are discharged in 4-6 hours time you won’t be able to get back into this flat to get all your stuff.”

“What do you mean?”

“The locks have been changed, you won’t be able to get back in.”

“But it’s my stuff, they can’t do that.”

“I think they can, you have a chance now to pack your stuff up and take it with you, but if we take you to hospital you won’t.”

“I want the police, they can’t do this.”

“OK, well I believe they are on their way, but we need to take you to the ambulance to check your heart out.”

“No, i’m not going anywhere.”

“I thought you had chest pain?”

“Fuck off”

Charming! Great use of an ambulance! It is hard not to judge calls when you repeatedly go to things like this. I don’t think there is anyone who works for the police or ambulance service who don’t make presumptions based on information given. I’m sure i’ll get some people who will lie until they are blue in the face saying that they don’t......but they do! It’s human nature.

As for the lady suffering acute avoidevictionitis we waited in the corridor outside chatting to the bailiff (who was actually a really nice guy) until the police arrived. They dragged her out kicking and screaming within a few minutes.

“You can’t do this, I ‘av rights, I have chest pain.”


1 comment:

  1. When I worked for the ambulance service I have to agree that I did make presumptions, but after having a pacemaker fitted at the age of 21 I do *try* not to. Try being the operative word, as most 21 year old chest pains are usually overexaggerated or faked!


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