February 17th, 2008

Hands Tied

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

What I don’t get is why ambulance crews never break into someone’s house to save their life.

The amount of times we get a call from ambo control to say they’re attending the report of a "collapse behind locked doors" (describing any time they can’t get in to treat someone) is unbelievable.

As these things go it’s usually OK if there is a police unit available at the time our services are required by the paramedics; we can attend & if we’ve got suitable MOE (method of entry) equipment to gain access without causing damage we will, if not we’ll just smash a window or kick the door in. However, things being more akin to reality we often don’t have anyone free to send. Yes, surprisingly, there are occasions when I can’t even get a free unit to take an immediate report of a 23-year-old naked blonde female running up the High Street shouting ‘take me, take me’.

I often wonder how many dead people whose houses we break into wouldn’t have died if the ambo crew had just smashed a window.

I know of at least one. A guy rang 999 & said he was lying on his living room floor, he thought he was having a heart attack. This went, naturally enough, through to ambo control who despatched an ambulance. When they got there they couldn’t get a reply so called us to break in. We didn’t have a free unit in the town so I got called to attend from another division. In the meantime the guy rang 999 again to say he’d called an ambulance, nobody had come & he was feeling pretty bad. We told the ambulance control who said that their crew was sitting outside but they wouldn’t break in without police. The man called a third time some minutes later.

By the time we got there & broke a window the guy was dead. The paramedics did all they could to revive him but it was to no avail.

I don’t know the reasons why ambo crews don’t break in, no doubt it has something to do with one policy or another, insurance or health & safety (although it sure ain’t for the health & safety of the person inside the house  who is dying).

Wouldn’t it be good sometimes if common sense ruled instead of policies. sadly there are people employed to say thigs like "yes, saved a life, but did you know you broke rule 3 sub-section b?"

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