Thursday 27 June 2013

Sync Complete

I should probably start this post with an announcement. I HAVE A NEW LAPTOP! How amazing is that! I've been wanting / needing one a long time! My old one was bought in 2007 and can no longer cope with the simplest of tasks! 2007! It's amazing when you think back THAT far! My son hadn't been born, I was married, I was working Monday to Friday in a tragically dead end job! It is amazing what can change in just six years! Anyway, yesterday when I finished work I wandering into the Apple store and bought my new MacBook Air and totally abused my 'old' student card to blag the discount! I was pretty damn chuffed as I walked out, new toy in hand! I drove home, opened the box and started syncing! What a day!

Then I thought, 'yeah, what a day'. My mood descended somewhat into one of reflection. It's easy to get caught up in a moment. Like I said, it is amazing how much can happen in six years. It's also amazing what can happen in 12 hours. It is also amazing what I'd managed to forget over 12 hours. Maybe not forget, but certainly the prospect of indulging in a new laptop had become top priority in recent hours. So much so, that it wasn't until now, starring at the words 'Sync in progress' that I realized that there were other people, people who I had seen today who weren't enjoying their evenings. 

"09:05 - 57 year old female, cardiac arrest"

I shot off up the road, dropped into 'sport' and started tackling the remains of the rush hour. I knew the road well having walked down it twice a day, to and from school for many years. I knew I would be the first to arrive and wanted to get there as quick as I could. 

Four minutes after someone had dialed 999 I pulled into the street. I screeched to a halt, grabbed all my stuff and rushed inside. I was beckoned up the stairs by the distraught looking husband. Lying on the floor of the bedroom was my patient. There was nothing I could do. She was dead and had been dead for quite a while. Rigor mortis had set in and there was post mortem staining present. I exited the room and closed the door behind me. 

"I'm so sorry, but there is nothing I can do. I'm afraid your wife has passed away."

The man fell forward, wrapping his arms around me and began sobbing. As he cried, their son appeared on the landing in his dressing gown, also sobbing. I managed to escape his grasp and let them cry together. I went and put the kettle on to make some tea and I cancelled all other resources. In situations like this, tea always seems sensible. They came downstairs and sat on the sofa crying. They looked totally lost. No idea where to turn, no idea how they will move forward. 

I waited with them, comforted them as best I could until the police arrived. I left them to deal with their unmeasurable loss. A very tragic start to the day for all involved.

"12:09 - 33 year old male, ? slurred speech, ? stroke"

My initial thoughts on being sent this were skeptical. Come on! 33 years old! Having a stroke! Not likely! It only took me 3 minutes to get on scene and my patient was sat at the roadside waiting for me! He staggered towards me like someone who's been drinking! I kept him at arms distance whilst I spoke to him. Within about 10 seconds it was clear he wasn't drunk. He was having a stroke.....

His speech was slurred and he couldn't find his words. He was limping and had very little power on his left side, hardly any grip at all and he was drooling slightly. He had no risk factors which made it all the more bizarre. I called control to tell them it WAS as given and I needed an ambulance ASAP. 

33! Unbelievable. He was a successful guy, had a lovely house in a lovely area. He was very confused and had been found staggering around the front garden by a neighbor. He was due to get married in a few weeks time to the woman pregnant with his child. Surely his life can't be ruined at 33? Surely he will get a chance to do all the little things with his baby? Surely he can still get married to his childhood sweetheart? So much was suddenly unknown. So much had changed. 

The ambulance arrived and rushed him off to the stroke centre. I phoned his fiancée to give her the news......

"16:01 - 26 year old male, RTC, Car Vs Motorbike, ? unconscious"

Again, I knew the road well. It's a busy, fast, duel carriageway. This guy could be in a serious condition. That ominous sense of urgency engulfed me. As I approached the stretch of road, it was clearly serious enough to cause a complete standstill to all lanes of traffic. I managed to get myself into a bus lane and shot down the inside of the traffic to the incident. Lying on the floor, surrounded by people was the motorcyclist. About 100 meters further down the road was his bike. By all accounts he'd been clipped, flown through the air and then hit by a car. 

The guy was unconscious, he had a pulse but his breathing was extremely slow. Under normal circumstances, you need two trained staff to remove a helmet. It was just me and the ambulance would have a nightmare getting through the traffic. Based on my initial findings I immediately called and requested HEMS. Luckily the helicopter was 'on line'. ETA 8 minutes.

I couldn't wait to take his helmet off. I enlisted the help of a by stander and got it off. I got someone to kneel either of his head and hold it still whilst I started cutting of his leathers. His battered, blooded body was fighting to survive but I got the sense he was deteriorating. I attached him up to the machine to get his blood pressure. It was extremely low. I put in an airway and started ventilating him. I was aware of what was being said by people around me but was trying to ignore it. 

"Red base, this patient is about to go into cardiac arrest. Any other resources near by?"

"Rog, we have a car about two minutes away from you."

As she said that, I heard the sirens. What a relief.....

Too late....his pulse had gone and there was now no respiratory effort. I started CPR. The police and FRU arrived together and now the chopper was circling above. We set about running the resus. Airway, chest decompression, IV access and secondary survey. HEMS landed in the road ahead of us and promptly took over. He was given blood infusions, injuries were treated and eventually his heart started beating again. He was taken off in the chopper to the trauma centre by the HEMS team. 

He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at the hospital......

"20:12 - 28 year old female, starring at new laptop"

Not such a great day after all. Whilst I sit here enjoying my new laptop there are three families who's lives have been destroyed today. Three families where I have been a huge part of their day. Telling them their wife and mother have died, telling them their husband to be and father to their unborn child is having a stroke and trying in vein to save a husband, brother, father and son. Two lives over, one changed forever. It is too easy to forget about these people. They aren't my family or friends and I have no obligation to mourn their losses and in all honesty, after today I'll most likely forget about them. That doesn't mean they didn't have an impact on me though. They did. 

'Sync complete'


  1. Brilliant post Ella. Sorry to hear of the sadness you've encountered throughout the day. But I am sure as usual your kindness has helped these people more than you think!

  2. It sounds like a hell of a day!

    I dont think you are at all at "fault" for rushing to get your new laptop.
    We witness tragic things everyday and at times it can be an escape for you to go about daily business. Chances are that you subconsciously were busying yourself so not to think about the daily events.
    Good blog as always.

    P.S. Enjoy the new Mac! ;-)

  3. Shit, I don't know what else to say. What an awful day. :-(

  4. Three jobs like that in a day is a lot of para's dreams! If we get more blogs like that, enjoy your Mac!


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