The patient’s phone, lying on the ambulance floor, began to ring again. It was an intensely annoying ring tone by Rhianna.
I glanced down to see who it was calling. The screen said “Mum” . . . again. I paused before picking it up. Then, sitting down, I took a deep breath and pressed the green button to receive the call. The voice that tore into my ear drums was desperate.
“Tess!* Tess! Oh God! Please tell me you’re OK!”
“Hello, this is the Ambulance Service here -” I tried to sound as calm as I could.
” . . . . Oh god no! Please! No! Please say she’s OK! Please!!?” her voice was full of tears.
Less than half an hour earlier our patient had been talking with her mum on her mobile phone about what to get her brother for his birthday. Whilst talking she’d stepped out into the road. Straight into the path of an oncoming double-decker bus.
When we arrived there was a scene of chaos. Police and firemen seemed to be everywhere. As I approached the first thing I noticed was the distinct “bulls eye” smash where the patient’s head had connected with the windscreen.
She’d been knocked straight down and dragged under the bus before it was able to stop. Looking down I could see our patient lying on her back by the front wheel. An FRU was knelt down beside her holding her head trying to ask questions.
A motor cycle medic also arrived and together we were able to do all our initial assessments before collar and boarding her and getting her onto our ambulance. And, after our secondary survey it appeared that our patient had come away from this unscathed. Barely a scratch. She had been unbelievably lucky. But according to our patient, this was nothing, as her head was ‘most probably made of stone’.
So, here I sat, in the back of the ambulance with the patient’s phone to my ear.
“. . . is she OK!?” her Mother’s voice repeated almost hysterically. I caught the eye of the patient and smiled.
“Under the circumstances ‘mum’ and at this moment in time, she appears to be fine . . . in fact we can’t shut her up! Here, talk to her yourself . . .”
I put the phone on loud speaker and let them have a long tearful reunion whilst my crew mate put in the blue call and took us off to hospital.
Not all bad jobs end badly.
NB We later found out that her scan showed no internal head injuries . . . however, I think they wanted to keep her in, just to see what rock her head was actually made from.
*not her real name of course.