“Two things struck me whilst on shift last night.
The first was a timely reminder of the sheer professionalism and dedication of our colleagues in green from the Ambulance Service. I arrived just moments after paramedics, at the scene of a person who had hanged themselves.
Straight to work. There was no panic, no confusion, no shouting. I watched as they each carried out tasks well known to them, with speed and accuracy. We helped where we could, freeing hands for other vital tasks. Police delivering breaths, Paramedics delivering compressions.
Rigging up fluids, adrenaline, getting an airway in, prepping the De-fib. 6 of us now.
Here they were, life savers. Relentless in their efforts waiting for the HEMS team. Trying desperately, using every ounce of strength, knowledge, skill. Maintaining their composure even when the incredibly distraught family arrived at the scene.
Sadly, and despite every effort, he didn’t make it.
You try to comfort the family as best you can. But what do you say…….what can you say. An arm around the shoulder.
We get back into our vehicle in silence. A big exhale.
No sooner have we left the street, the radio is reporting a large drunken fight not far away. And that is the second thing…..
As my colleague put it “How do you change hats so quickly from the last incident to the next one”. I guess you just have to. What choice is there? It’s the same for the paramedics, going to deal with the next drunk, injured in a fight, throwing abuse. I feel fine in myself, as does my colleague, but my mind is still back there, spinning away, trying to process it i suppose.
Thankfully (amazingly!) there are multiple units nearer the fight and pulling up on scene saying it’s “calmed down for now”.
We take 5 minutes, and pull into a lay-by out the way from the noise and hustle. Just 5 quiet minutes. Until the next job….
Police, Paramedics, all the emergency services.
We’re not machines. We’re just people.