The Ambiguous “Red 2”

The very first job we went to yesterday was a cardiac arrest.

It came down as Red 2, “fainting” with a post scriptum stating “patient making gurgling sounds”.  That was enough to set off some warning bells at least.

So, we quickly arrived, and along with an FRU, another ambulance crew and a [tippy title=”PRU” URL=””] Physician Response Unit.  We have this in East London where an advanced A&E Doctor goes out with an advanced paramenace in one of the HEMS cars.  They are there as a sort of “nomad GP” if you like.  But with lots of other skills and toys to bring to the ‘party’.  Amongst them is the “auto-pulse” which is an automatic CPR machine.  So, having these guys turn up at a cardiac arrest can significantly improve outcomes. [/tippy], we spent the next hour dragging an old gentleman back from the proverbial “light”.  He’d collapsed half in and out of a bathroom doorway and promptly slipped into cardiac arrest.  Thankfully, we were able to get him back and transfer him to hospital where we last heard he was moved to ITU (Intensive Treatment Unit) where he was reported to be “stable”.

That – was a ‘proper’ job.

The very next job also came down as Red 2.  However, this turned out to be a 22 year old female.  With a headache.  Nothing more.

Our backs were still sore from dealing with the last patient and the sweat hadn’t even dried on my shirt whilst we sat there and listened to the young woman explain about her pain.

“So, can you score your pain out of ten?  Bearing in mind you’ve given birth already,”  I pointed to her child currently being held by a neighbour, “so I would say giving birth to two of these little fellas would be a score of ten where as zero would be no pain . . . with that in mind, what number would you give the pain now?”

Our patient winced and held the back of her hand to her forehead, “Oooooh, its never been like this before though, so definately a ten” She then set about finishing a text to one of her friends.

I stared at her for a short while whilst she toyed with her phone and wondered at the absurdity of it all.  Two Red 2’s in as many jobs and two completely different outcomes.  Under any other circumstances I would say this was a one off . . . but it wasn’t.  This sort of madness happens every day, to every crew.  Just with different scenarios.

I finished staring and breathed in sharply through my nose.  I smiled.

“Wow.  Ten, eh”