Sunday, 16 December 2007

Non-ambulance chasing

I like to read Random Acts of Reality on a regular basis. It's a blog by a London Ambo, and I have his book Blood, Sweat & Tea on my Amazon wish list.

I am dumbfounded at least once a week by the sorts of jobs that he gets called out on in his big white truck. I've been in an ambulance once in my life (I think) and that was when I was about 10, and had been involved in a car crash that just about put four grannies in the morgue. I didn't need to go to hospital, since I was barely bruised, but they took us in anyway for a once over since the four grannies were in such a bad way.

Since then, I've had various visits to the emergency department of a hospital, and have had to take others there, but I have never, ever called an ambulance. To my way of thinking, you need to have blood spurting from several places, or bones broken in such a way that you can't sit in the back seat of a car before you get an ambulance.

I have been driven in for treatment with blood spurting from me by the way. I slipped on a tin roof whilst installing a long sheet of corrugated iron and sliced my knee open quite badly, and made the trip in the back of a station wagon with an icepack and bandage on my knee. It worked quite well. Ambulance not required.

I had to take J in last year when she had a kidney stone and was in total agony. We didn't know what the problem was, but I didn't see how taking her to emergency in an ambulance would have made the trip any easier or faster. I had to go in with her, and that meant taking the kids, so one way or another, our car was going to the hospital, so she might as well have been in it with us. Ambulance not required.

Then we've had to take the monkey in at midnight a few times with scares over a high fever. Not much that an ambulance can do in those circumstances, given that the hospital is only 10 minutes away. If he's had a fever all night, taking 2 extra minutes to get to the hospital is not going to help, particularly when it usually takes 15 minutes or more to get seen by someone and checked in, and another 2-3 hours to get seen by a doctor.

I also partook in taking a boozed mate to hospital many years ago to get his stomach pumped. Horrible process, but taking him there in a ute, as opposed to an ambulance, made no difference.

Frankly, the 000 operators should ask a few simple questions like:

"Is the victim lying in a pool of blood?"

"Can you see shards of bone sticking out through the skin?"

"Does he have a neck/head injury?"

If you don't make the cut on one of those questions, get a taxi.

I think part of my reasoning comes from the way we got medical treatment at school. You had to be able to walk to sickbay in order to see the nurse. Didn't matter if you'd just stuck your arm through a window and needed 30 stitches - you walked to her, leaving a trail of blood. If you fainted, it was up to a couple of your mates to carry you in. Ambulances are for pussies.

1 comment:

TomReynolds said...

We need to have a few more people thinking like you - then I could perhaps grab a cup of tea once in a while.