Ambulance stories (20)

There was mention of tattoos in a recent post, and that reminded me of this Ambulance Story, from 2012. A couple of you will remember it, but most readers have never seen it.


The expansive tattoo

People may be forgiven for believing that having tattoos is a fairly recent thing. It seems that all young people have at least one these days, and most pop stars, and famous actors, are covered in them, to different degrees. This is not the case of course; they have been around for thousands of years.

One afternoon, we were called to a local old peoples’ home, to transport an elderly lady into hospital. She was suffering with arthritis, and needed to go for x-rays, and possible admission, due to her general lack of mobility. On arrival, we were shown to her room, where we met a very friendly and chatty old lady, with an outgoing personality, and a ready wit. We were handed a doctor’s letter, and helped her from her bed, onto our ambulance trolley, making her as comfortable as possible, in the circumstances. Once in…

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Ambulance stories (14)

More from 2012, behind the scenes at a murder. This contains some graphic details of injuries.


Is he dead?

Depending on where you work, a job in the London Ambulance Service will put you into contact with violent crime, and scenes of such crime; this may involve serious assault, rape, and murder. In a city of such size and diversity, crimes like these are sadly more common than you may suspect. Many are never reported in the media, as the culprit is quickly found, admits guilt, and only a cursory trial is deemed necessary. Despite living all my life in London, even I was surprised how frequently people are murdered, and how often I would come into contact with this crime during my time as an ambulanceman.

Unlike other incidents, people killed as a result of a crime, whether obvious, or suspected, are not removed by ambulance crews. The scene of the death will be secured by the Police, the local area canvassed for potential witnesses…

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Ambulance stories (23)

Another EMT story, from 2012. If you are going to parachute from a tall building, choose carefully…


Urban parachuting

Trellick Tower, in West London, is one of the tallest residential housing blocks in the UK. It is 31 stories high, and has 217 flats, some on two levels. It is a local landmark, a listed building, and is visible from great distances across London. Love it or hate it, this concrete monolith cannot fail to inspire opinion, one way, or another. As it was at the end of a local street market, less than a mile from the ambulance station where I was based, it was a regular venue for us to attend, and the large number of residents generated many calls to the emergency services. However, on this particular occasion, it was not a resident that we were called to.

Almost 30 years ago, I had never heard of ‘base jumping’, and I was not alone. Security in housing developments was almost unknown as well, and…

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Ambulance stories (10)

A more amusing tale from my EMT days, hopefully providing some light relief. I don’t think any of you have ever seen this one. 🙂


The enormous tit

One of the much-publicised advances in Ambulance equipment, was the advent of the Cardiac Monitor, and combined de-fibrillator. Although this two-lead machine did not give a full ECG readout, it did give some indication of heart rhythm. As a result, it became protocol to attach these leads to any patient with chest pains, or with a known heart condition. This would be done when the patient was settled in the vehicle, and before moving off, as the movement of the vehicle could cause inaccurate readings. One lead was stuck to the upper right side of the chest, and the other lower down, on the left side. In the case of a female patient, this would mean that there was a need to put this just under the left breast.

One of the first things that you are taught in training, is the maxim ‘No sex in first…

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Ambulance stories (39)

Another true-life incident, from my days as an EMT. This post is from 2013, and from current followers, only Eddy has seen it. It seems to just be about uniform, but read on…


The new green overalls.

Not long after the National Ambulance Strike, the London Ambulance Service decided to introduce a new style of uniform for all operational staff. Despite protests from most of us, they settled on a one-piece overall, in a lime green colour. To an outsider, this may have seemed a sensible idea, driven by practicality. To the staff who had to wear it, it just seemed cheap, demeaning, and uncomfortable. This dislike was not helped by the fact that in London, many dustcart operatives and street cleaners, wore the exact same item of clothing, sourced from the same manufacturer. It was also synthetic, making it exceptionally cold to wear in winter, and unbearably hot in the summer. The one piece design, with a full-length zip, made going to the toilet tricky; and for female staff, this also necessitated complete removal of the overall, which was very inconvenient.


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Ambulance stories (17)

Another Ambulance Story post, from 2012. You will see why I have never forgotten this incident, which happened in 1981.


The leg on a buffer

There is little in life that can prepare you for having to carry a severed head. No amount of training or experience can make you ready for that moment when you have to throw a blanket over the detached item, and actually pick it up.

I had not been on front line duties very long, when we received a call to go to Paddington Station. An Inter-City train had arrived at this large London terminus, and the driver had discovered the remains of a human leg, wrapped tightly around the buffer at the front of the engine. As we were making our way, it was decided to divert us to another station, where it was possible that we might find more substantial parts of whoever had come into contact with this high-speed train, as it sped into London from the West Country.

We went to…

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Ambulance stories (5)

Another true-life event from my time in the Ambulance Service. I think only Wilma has see this one previously, so it should be new to most of you.


The missing leg

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you can still miss something. At the time referred to in this job, I had around 15 years experience working in emergency ambulances, and my colleague that night was also no new boy, having been in the job for about 10 years. So, with 25 years service between us, you think that we could get it all right, without schoolboy errors.

That night had been busy. Weekends usually were busier, especially in Central London. We found ourselves at the Accident and Emergency Department of St. Thomas’s Hospital, just south of Westminster Bridge, opposite the Houses of Parliament. This was not one of our usual haunts, but the level of work that night had pushed us across from West London, and we had finally ended up here. As soon as we became available, we received a call . It sounded…

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