Friday 3 May 2013

Making Plans

There is an unwritten rule in all ambulance services. It is a rule we all know well. It is a rule that our friends and families know. It is a simple rule.
Simple. Why? Because if you make plans you WILL finish late and you WILL let people down. Again and again. Do we all follow this rule? In general, yes! Do we ever disregard the rule and think that just this once it will be OK?! Yes! 

On this particular Saturday I had a short shift. I was due to finish at 3pm so despite the obvious rule, I felt it was pretty safe to make some plans. My reason for this was a friend was visiting. A friend I haven't seen for a very very long time. They don't live anywhere near me but on this particular day they were free to see me for a few hours. In fact, they were free from 3pm until 8:30pm to see me! I was pretty dam excited, just a little shift to get through first!

12:03:  I got a text. "I'M HERE!"

The shift was ticking along nicely, I hadn't had a break so at 14:30 I was off into town for some catch up, coffee, cocktails and cake! Winning! I even gloated about it on a number of occasions!

13:35: "Hurry up! I'm bored!"

We finished up with our patient at hospital and made ourselves available for our last job. It was busy on the road, we had been going from job to job to job all day as per usual. I pressed the 'Green' button and waited for the job to appear......

And I waited......

And waited some more......

Nothing! As the minutes ticked by I began to get more and more annoyed! 13:45 came and went as did 14:00. 



14:25..... *crosses fingers*



"RTC Car vs Ped, 34 year old female unconscious"

ARE.....YOU.....SERIOUS?! Off we went, I had just enough time to send a message saying 'Late job, sorry!" We made our way through the now solid traffic. After about 5 minutes we arrived on scene. A crowd had already formed in a well formed semi-circle, 3 people deep all staring in fear and anticipation. Lying in the road surrounded, by a group of 5-6 people rendering aid was our patient. She wasn't unconscious but she wasn't far off it. Just a quick look at her told me that we needed HEMS and we needed them 5 minutes ago. 

The three of us on scene went about the routine. We utilised the public to fetch stuff while clothes were being cut off, primary survey was being completed and an assessment of her injuries was being done. This lady was big big sick. Major head injury, long bone fractures, likely spinal injury and who knows what internally. She had a collapsed lung and based on her blood pressure she was losing a lot of blood from somewhere. I decompressed her chest while my crew mate got IV access. So much was happening, it all seems a bit of a blur even now. Her leg fracture was pulled straight, to which she let out a gut wrenching moan. The police were had arrived and were doing everything that we couldn't manage with the 6 hands we had! 

I couldn't tell you how much time had elapsed but just as the patient started to have a convulsion there noise of the helicopter could be heard. Now there's a sound that filled me with joy! By now the patient was on a scoop, the injuries were being dealt with and the student was ventilating her. His eyes were so wide open, concentrating so hard on his task and he was doing it bloody well. This was his first trauma, first HEMS job and first really sick patient. I remember what an adrenaline filled gibbering wreck I was after my first! 

With HEMS on scene we got the patient onto the bed, still in the road, still with somewhat of a crowd! They decided to RSI (Rapid Sequence Induction) her which means to put her to sleep and take over her breathing. This was done, blood transfusions were given and we were off to hospital. The decision was made to convey the patient in our ambulance with HEMS on board. Off we went! Through the traffic, complete with police escort. We burst through the door of the resus and HEMS handed over to the waiting trauma team. The patient was transferred and we returned to the vehicle.

It looked like a bomb had gone off. The student was like a 5 year old on Christmas day, bouncing off walls with excitement! The truck took a while to clean and then there was a HEMS debrief and then all the paperwork!

16:39: Left hospital. 

Being a trauma centre, we were now no where near our station and had to sit on the Saturday afternoon traffic to go 13 miles across the city. I had a plethora of messages on my phone asking what was going on! Awkward......

18:03: Arrived back on station

18:20: Signed out and left work to cycle the fastest I could to get to the station to make the 18:44 train.

18:43: Arrive at train station. Lock up bike. Watch train pull out of station.

The next train was at 19:14. I was a 1 hour journey to get to the part of the city where my friend was waiting for me. Time for a phone call.

"I'm so sorry, I won't get there until about 20:15."

"Not much point is there!"

"I guess not."

It happens every single time. It has led to many an argument and many a tear. I'm still waiting to see my friend!

That'll teach me to think I can defy the ambulance gods. Gutted! Thou shalt not make plans on a work day. I won't be making that mistake again......until the next time anyway. :-(


  1. Yay! You're back!

  2. As ever, a great read! Did you ever find out how she's doing?

    - Will

  3. Great to see you blogging again. You've been missed Ella.

    1. Thanks Big Fash! I wrote a ranty blog about why I was absent and had a list of rules and code of conduct but it was full of venom so I deleted it and decided to let it lie! x

  4. Glad to see you back. Really missed your posts.

  5. Yet another well written blog Ella really good to see you blogging again!

  6. Good to see you're back. Feel your pain at missing fun through work. I have a much more mediocre job and have had to stay late and miss things so many times. It makes you want to scream! Hope you and your friend can catch up soon!

  7. Great to have you back ella! KEep it up. PLease. :) b.

  8. Love your blogs! How did this person do? Stay safe, x

  9. Yup.. I've learned this lesson many times over. Not so much because I'm late, but more so because I just want to go home and sleep.

  10. Another rule, never say ....... "this looks like the perfect off job"


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