Monday 6 January 2014

24 - Season 3: Episode 2

The following takes place between 22:12pm and 00:00am


Partially caffeinated and well snacked we green’d up for the next one. We had to wait the all of 5 seconds!

“? drunk, ? at a bus stop, ? fall. NFDA”

Call me a cynic but this sounds like a drunk at a bus stop. I know, I know, you mustn't pre-judge a call before you get there, blah blah blah. Sure, it could be a confused diabetic patient having a hypo, who has collapsed to the ground by a bus stop and hit his head. The resultant head injury could have caused him to have a seizure and due to him being crunched up against the bus stop, the resultant positional asphyxia and subsequent hypoxia has caused him to go into cardiac arrest. At this point a member of the public has seen him, phoned 999 and started resuscitation.

Anyway, we were on our way to a drunk at a bus stop! If it wasn’t, I’d eat my hat!

We pulled up and I was disappointed that there was no one lying on the floor. Had I been wrong?! The disappointment did not last long when we were suddenly treated to the member of the public that had phoned us! And believe me when I say ‘treat’! Picture Dr. Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown, Ph.D, from back to the future barring down on us walking like John Wayne! Now, keep the hair and facial expressions of the Doc but add the glasses of Garth from Wayne’s World. Now dress him in a Christmas jumper, a Columbo trench coat and some rather fetching white leather snake belly cowboy boots! Across the top of the boots, drawn in marker pen was his name! Nige! It was a sight to behold! My cremate almost choked on the dried mango she was chewing. I just starred in amazement and wound the window down! 

“Good evening ladies!” he said with a letchy grin!

“Good evening, is it you who has called us?!”

“It sure is!”

“What’s the problem tonight?!”

“Well, I think someone needs your help. There was a homeless Polish man who fell over. I think he was drunk. I chatted to him and gave him £5. He seemed very cold so I offered to go and fetch him the spare duvet from my house. Can you believe it, he didn’t want it?!”


“I’m not! He just got up and walked off! He’s going to get so cold!”

“How long ago did we wonder off?!

“About an hour ago maybe.”

“So what would you like us to do tonight?”

“Well I’ve invited you here, and the police too, so we can have a group discussion of how best to proceed. It’s not normal behaviour to refuse a duvet when it’s this cold.”

“So you want us to wait here for the police arrive, so we can discuss with them, and your good self, how best to provide assistance to a drunk, homeless, Polish man, who doesn’t want any help and who we have no idea where he is?”

“Yep, I think it’s important, especially as it is so cold.”

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I know I moan about being sent to utter nonsense with worrying regularity, but jobs like this make a night shift thoroughly enjoyable! I could happily have played along with Nige for hours and hours. Unfortunately, they were holding calls so I had to gently let Nige down and tell him that the multi-agency conference would not be happening and that we would be leaving! I wished him a merry Christmas and complimented him on his taste in footwear! 

What a great experience that was! Now, back to the mango!


“50 year old male, chest pain”

Why can’t we ever just be left alone for 10 minutes to enjoy exotic fruits in peace! It’s as if they think we are an emergency service and patients come before dried mango! Anyway, we had to travel a bit of a silly distance to this one so I had time to eat on the run!

We pulled up outside a block of flats and my crew mate instantly recognised it. She didn’t know why, or who but recognised the flats, which was ominous to say the least! We got to the front door and just as I was about to knock the door swung open! Standing there was our patient, dressed like he was about to brave the arctic circle and very much ready to go! He looked a bit like Stanley Hudson from The Office US! As we ushered him towards the ambulance my crew mate lent over to me and said:

“Have fun with this one!”


Once on the back of the truck, the rigmarole of removed the 847 layers of clothing begun. Conversation wasn’t forthcoming despite my best efforts and the history was rather vague! He was also rather drunk and a tad creepy! 

“What’s the main problem tonight?”

“I have this funny old pain in my chest.”

“And how long have you had that for?”

“About two years or so.”

“Two year?! What’s different tonight?!”

“Nothing new.”


I did all his OBs and everything was fine. He was keen to go to hospital but I convinced him that A & E probably wasn’t in his best interest. I started filling in all his personal details and realised I have completely forgotten his name! This often happens despite my concerted effort to always remember so rather than go through the embarrassment of asking their name again, I ask how to spell it. Obviously, more often than not I can get away with it, but names like Bill make me look stupid! 

“How do I spell your name?”

“K as in Kevin, E as in Evin, V as in….Vin, I as in Ivin and E as in Evin.”

“So Kevin then?”


Well, that was suitably bizarre way to dictate the spelling of a name, but then again, he called an ambulance for a two year history of chest pains. I won’t get him to phonetically spell EMERGENCY! If I did I have no doubt the joke would be lost on him! 

Eventually the paperwork was done, referral was made and all 847 layers were in position for the 10 meter walk back to his house! 

“Good night Kevin”

“Thank you.”

Another life well and truly saved! It's too early in the morning to rant about NHS111 and patients with 2 year histories of anything! He wasn't rude, provided some entertainment and didn't need carrying. I can assure you, that is all anyone ever wants on a night shift!

To be continued…….


  1. As a telephone triage nurse I can can completely sympathise with your frustrations. I regularly need to recommend a client go go to AE or worse dial 999 even though in my heart of hearts I know that if they actually told the truth about their symptoms they coikd be managed more effectively. Whats even more souk destroying is when you have someone who really does need blues and twos to AE you almost have to fight with tgem to get them to follow advice - their reluctance to go in via 999 is because they will be there for possibly up on15 hrs before tgey are seen because of these other nitwits!

  2. With 5 years in NHSD & 111, but 12 years ED prior, I had my eyes opened by a parent of a child who said they had given the kid 16 paracetamol in 24 hrs for dental pain.
    After being told that they needed to attend A&E with in 1 hour, the story changes to less than 6 in 24hrs. Great no OD, but trying to explain that the calls are recorded, and going off the initial assessment they need ED for bloods the father said...'So what your telling me is, you believe everything I say to you'
    Telephone triage is difficult, very difficult and unfortunately we do have to believe whats said even if you csn smell the smoke from their pants being on fire


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