Friday 24 May 2013

24 - Season 2: Episode 2


The following takes place between the hours of 8:41am and 12:18pm


"27 year old female, 24/40 pregnant, feeling faint"

So, second breakfast will have to wait! Never mind! It was turning out to be surprisingly busy for the car! Normally there is some down time between jobs because on the car you only go to the higher priority of calls and are generally kept in your area. Today, everyone in my area seemed to be falling ill on an all to regular basis!

Again, I found myself at a supermarket. This time I was on scene within 90 seconds of the call coming in, so when I arrived at the cheese aisle, the patient, surrounded by store staff, was still on the phone to the call taker. I always enjoy the looks of amazement that I'd been able to drive 200 meters so fast! What they don't know, is that the very second they dial 999 the nearest available unit is dispatched by a computer. If its a mobile phone, you are dispatched towards the co-ordinates of the phone mast where the call originated and are then redirected when the address is confirmed. In this case, the mobile phone mast was on top of the supermarket, so when I got the address I simply turned off the engine and got out the car!

The patient was a really sweet young woman who was expecting her first baby. It had been an uneventful pregnancy up until now, but today she was experiencing some profound dizziness in spells. Dizziness in pregnancy isn't uncommon at all and she would need a check up, but really, she was fine. I checked her over, shared my war stories of parenting and generally talked babies, surrounded by cheese, whilst waiting for the ambulance. Mmmm cheese! Those second breakfast gremlins are coming back! 

Eventually the crew arrived, we said our goodbyes and once I'd put by bags back in the car I returned to the cheese aisle with a basket! 


"General broadcast, all mobile, holding a cardiac arrest, 1 month old baby, limp and floppy, gone blue, please go green or come up on priority if you can assist"

"Red base, I'm green, happy to run on it." I said as I dropped the basket and RAN back to the car." 

As I opened the door the job appeared on my screen. I accepted it, looked at the address and shot off. 6.6 miles to go, through the city, that's 9-10 minutes on a good run. I hope to god another vehicle is coming from closer than me. 

I could feel the adrenaline kicking in, I was driving at mine and the cars limit and fixated on the road ahead of me. I could hear the job updating repeatedly on the screen, but I daren't look at it whilst driving at speed, never worth the risk. As the miles were ticking down, I started to go through a vague plan in my head. I was recalling the resus guidelines for a 1 month old in my head just so I didn't flap when I arrived. I'm not going to lie, I am new to the car, new to this 'lone working' thing, and the thought of being solely responsible for this kids life scared the living daylights out of me. 3.1 miles to go......

I was weaving through the traffic at a rate of knots. Fast acceleration and rapid breaking, to take into account other drivers unpredictable actions. No doubt someone will say I shouldn't need to if I'm driving properly but sod em'. As far as I'm concerned a baby is dead, and they will stay dead until I get there and I will drive as fast as I can do so, safely. The end. 1.8 miles to go.....

I had just over a mile to go, the cars still parting like Moses and the tide, eyes still wide open taking in everything ahe.....

'CANCELLED: No longer required'

WHAT?! Aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh! Now I'm 6 miles out of area, my heart is pumping stupidly fast, my palms are sweating and I have no frickin' cheese! I pulled over to calm down for a few minutes! I HATE cancellations.....with a passion!


I sat in car, stereo on (Cheers Mr Buble), seat declined slightly and just laid there. I was hungry but wasn't near any shops and had no real idea where I was so took the opportunity to just chill out! It had been a pretty relentless start to the shift, so until I was told to do otherwise, this is where I would be!

After having my slumber rudely interrupted by a pedestrian wanting directions to a building 25 feet away, I decided that the urge for food was now too strong to ignore! I started heading back towards civilisation in the hope that shops would appear.


"51 year old male, unconscious, ? Low blood sugars"

And there we have law of the sod! I should have gone as soon as the opportunity presented itself but procrastination has always been my thing! 

I recognised the address when it appeared. If memory served, he wasn't a regular caller per say but someone I've met a few times, controls his diabetes well, but occasionally makes a mistake and has a hypo. It happens! At least it was back in area though, so I wasn't going to moan about the 7 mile run! 

Sure enough, when I pulled up outside, I recognised the house and once inside, recognised the unconscious patient on the bed! He was snoring away, pouring with sweat and showing all the signs that it was indeed a hypo! A quick check of his blood sugar confirmed it. It was 'Low' which means its too low to give a reading on our kit. I set about cannulating him, drew up some glucose fluids and set the drip going. Then it was a case of waiting for him to wake up, act confused for a few minutes and then start apologising for having wasted my time!

10 minutes later, having started a discussion about rabbits playing tennis, he froze, then said:

"I've done it again haven't I?!"

"Indeed you have!"

"I'm so sorry for getting you out, I don't know what happened, I had my insulin this morning!"

"No worries, hospital?!"

"I think you know the answer!" and I did!

"Red Base, cancel the ambulance if you have one assigned, the patient is declining hospital so I will discharge him to his own care, over"

"Rog, thank you."

After checking his sugars, I gave him some more glucose, then while I started on the paperwork, he got changed! During a hypo, people can sweat profusely and his clothes were saturated. Whilst he was upstairs I got his wife to make him some jam sandwiches and a sugary tea. We all sat chatting whilst I dotted the I's and crossed the T's. I even got a coffee for my troubles which was very much needed as I was starting to lag! I'd been up for 7 hours or so and was yet to have more than half a bowl of cereal! 

Have you noticed how much I'm thinking and talking about food! It's a problem. I need help! Anyway, I got him to sign to say he was happy to stay at home, referred him onto his GP and left them to go about their day! I was in my 'break window' now so I made myself available and for once, relished a chance to stop for 45 minutes and eat some hot food! It really is a novelty!

To be continued.....


  1. You'll have the 'is that all you did and who said you could eat' brigade on your back if you're not careful!
    Seriously though, good to see a 24hr in life of an'ambulance driver' ;-)

  2. Loving these posts Ella. Thinking of doing something similar but from a students point of view! Looking forward to the next episode! Have to Sky + it at this rate!

  3. Nothing relevant to add but I couldn't find an alternative way to say how much I enjoy your blog! I'm about to start Paramedic training and your stories are fantastic, makes me want to get out on the road ASAP (I know, weird, isn't it). Anyway, I'm slightly appalled at how wet it sounds, but I absolutely love the blog. Thank you :-)

  4. So, I have noticed one thing.. I take it you are in europe.. here in the states. If we went to the hypo call (btw we don't have response cars yet). And wanted to do a treat and release, we would need medical control approval... Which in a case like this where you know the pt wouldn't be a problem.... and what is this 45 min break you speak of?

    1. Yeah, in the UK. We can act autonomously and don't need permission to discharge. It's the break we are supposed to get! I've had 3 in the last 16 months!

    2. I'm a medic in the States and we are able to treat and release without medical control approval at the service I work for. Only though if the patient refuses transport. Then again every state is different as well.


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