Callers generally fall into one of a several groups
The Old: pensioners who have seen most of their friends and family stretchered into hospital in a noisy ambulance only to be quietly removed in a box through the back door. The resilience of these people can be amazing; they barely allow a stroke, heart attack or car accident to break their stride fearing if they stop for just a moment they’ll be thrown onto a gurney and taken to hospital and put down like a dribbling dog with a broken hip. Their young families are unlikely to have the same ball tightening fear of backless gowns and the smell of disinfectant so they will try to send these doddering octogenarians to the mortician hospital resulting in often hilarious half heard arguments along the lines of:
- – “I’d like to order an ambulance for my elderly mother” (in background) ‘I don’t need an ambulance!’ ‘Mother you have chest pain and difficulty breathing I’m pretty sure you’re having a heart attack and really want you to go to hospital’. ‘Those bastards aren’t getting me, I’m fine, now pass me another packet of Rothmans’.
Passersby: knowing nothing of the drunkard/pensioner/clumsy idiot trying to free their poor DNA from the over-subscribed gene pool they reach the conclusion that what this person needs, quietly sleeping in the afternoon sun with nothing but an empty bottle of K as a pillow, is an ambulance. There are obviously instances when people suffer strokes/heart attacks etc in public and passersby save lives but there are far more instances of morons. For example:
There’s a man passed out in the bushes at the corner of my road
- -…Do you think he needs an ambulance? Is he covered in blood? Did he say he wants one?
- -No he looks fine, but I just thought you should send an ambulance
- -(Quiet sigh)Can you wake him up and ask him if he wants an ambulance?
- – No I don’t want to touch him or go near him.
- So, because we can’t be sure if this guy is awake and breaking it gets a really high code and an ambulance (costing abut £260 a time) gets to waste about 30 minutes when that time could be far better used strapping the infuriating busy-body who placed the original call to the front and driving recklessly around town with the sirens blazing until they wet themselves.
Gangsters: intellectual midgets who believe that the entire Ambulance service has been doing nothing more for the last 50 years than wait for them to call up with a finger dislocated by weight of bling. I know it’s a pain in the arse but we’ve got loads of questions to go through in order to assess how important your injury is (it’s called ‘triaging’ and something I’ll talk about again and again). These gold clad Eminem fuelled wastes of space will scream ‘send an ambulance!’ at you then hang up without even suggesting why I should care or where they are and then react indignantly and with great aggression when I’m forced to call them back to get some kind of detail.
As a sub-genre of idiot I must also point out the (almost always) chav who wants “an ambulance to the Kebab shop in Brixton. You know, the one with a yellow door”. Then will follow a long period of subdued anger on both sides as this nike clad fool works out where he or she is when I could be doing something useful like hitting them with a pool cue.
The Whingers: anyone who has ever been stuck behind a fat man standing in the middle of an escalator or walk-way knows that people are prone to being infuriatingly self-centred and unaware; we all are at times, although some are more prone to it that others. Therefore, some of the most annoying people to deal with are those who believe that their issue must surely be the most important thing going on in London and who simply can’t believe they are not being seen to immediately.
I once suffered from one of the 13 calls a woman, living 5 minutes walk away from Mayday Hospital, made in 45 minutes to find out where her ambulance was. She had closed her finger in a door and wanted it to be checked over. Also
- -Where’s my ambulance?
- – We’re organising it for you now, we’ll get an ambulance to you as soon as possible.
- – But when I called up 10 minutes ago you said one would be with me soon. It’s still not here.
- – [pause for research] I’m sorry ma’am but that ambulance got diverted to go to a heart attack patient, we’re organising another for you now
- – We’ll that’s not good enough.
Words fail me sometimes.