Tuesday, May 22, 2007


A few days ago a crew was notified by the police that it was safe to enter a scene:

It turns out that decision was perhaps a little "premature" and now there are quite a few people on both sides of the fence having a look at what happened. This kind of thing has happened many times before with varying degrees of seriousness. These scenes are often chaotic, always difficult and I'm sure it's easy for human error to occur in the heat of the moment. I'm glad this time none of the people (police and ambos) who responded to this scene got injured while trying to help this patient, but I also hope this issue gets sorted out.

Friday, May 11, 2007


After all this talk of prison last week I thought I tell you of a recent jailbreak. We found 87 year old Enid sitting outside the bakery in Glenroy. She’d somehow come to the attention of the staff who’d called an ambulance because they thought she must have been unwell. Enid was immaculately dressed, with her hair perfectly done, an ornate brooch, a pressed blouse and a simple handbag in her lap. My partner was astute (awake) enough to notice our Enid was wearing only one earring – women are definitely more attuned to that stuff - I have to look down and check that I’m wearing pants some days after nightshift, let alone notice what nanna is wearing. Anyway, despite being slightly miffed I hadn’t spotted it, I had to concede it was a good pickup. The missing earring said right away that something wasn’t right. And someone as well dressed as Enid was not leaving the house til everything was just right.

Enid clearly had some dementia. She would answer our questions to the best of her ability but then when she didn’t know the answer, would ignore us, lean forward and look down the street like she was expecting a bus to come along, or perhaps somebody she knew. If you smiled at her, she would return the most genuine smile and say “Hello dear” like she’d just met you all over again. She was beautiful old nanna and my partner and I were both ready to take her home. Sadly our service frowns upon you keeping patients as pets, so we set about trying to find where Enid was from. A few phone calls later and I spoke to the nursing home a few streets away – It turns out yes, as a matter-of-fact they do normally have a resident called Enid, but today they couldn’t seem to find her. Would they like her back? Why yes they would!

We made one last call to our Duty Manager to notify our intention to return Enid and her earring to the nursing home and then we loaded her up, checked her out and drove round the corner to the home. I rang the buzzer and chuckled as I said “are you missing an Enid?” into the intercom. I let the staff know about her missing earring and they promised to look for it. Apparently that morning Enid had got all dressed up as she always does and “headed off to church”. Usually she is apprehended at the door before she gets far, but today she’d somehow made it past 2 key coded security doors, out of the grounds and down to the local shops. Not a bad escape for an 87 year old in broad daylight. We waved goodbye and then headed off to our next job.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Do not pass 'Go'

Well I finally got sent to jail. I knew they'd eventually catch up with me one of these days. Actually, I got sent to jail (or Gaol if you prefer) 3 times in two days!

First it was to Juvee (juvenile) jail, the children's 'prison' for a chest pain. I could tell the medical staff there thought the young man was "putting it on". I thought so too. But everyone was erring on the side of caution so we took him to hospital along with a carload of minders who would have to sit with him until the doctors decided he was clear to head on back.

Next day it was off to one of the city Police Stations for a prisoner who was having a seizure. This guy was doing a pretty good job of it too - except he was opening his eyes every now and then and looking around to see who was watching. I have found a lot of people in police custody think that if they get taken away in an ambulance, whatever charges the police have laid are suddenly going to disappear. It rarely works. People invent all sorts of medical complaints and an ambulance has to come down and check them out. Often we all know its crap - the prisoner knows its crap, the prisoner knows that we know its crap and the hospital staff give us 'the look' because they know its crap too. Everyone is busy covering their butt.

Last thing before we knocked off for the day, it was off to the Remand Centre in the city. This inner city prison is the full deal and security is tight. Our patient was 'generally unwell' and although he was simply complaining of stomach pain and nausea, he was a bit agitated and twitchy. He kept yelling out to someone who was obviously held somewhere near enough that he figured he could be heard yelling his obscenities through the walls. The staff kept telling him to pull his head in and answer our questions. There was clearly a lot more going on than we were party to. After checking him out, we saw that he wasn't dying and the medical staff had him well under control.

We got out of prison for good behaviour and felt very grateful to be going home.