"45 year old male, unconscious, breathing unknown, life status unknown"
Public transport. We all use it at some point. Personally, I avoid it where I can. The price does not match the experience. If it's a train you have to pay an obscene amount of money to go minimal distances. For that money you get to stand up in a hot sardine tin, armpits in your face, rubbish on the floor, chewing gum on the seat, shoehorned in like battery hens and you are taken from A to B where you may or may not get pick pocketed. It's all part of the fun. Then you have the bus. It's still at least £2 just to go 1 stop up the road; again you have to stand, chavs aplenty line the aisle having conversations across the bus: 'yes bruvs', 'no bruvs', 'trust me bruvs', almost in three part harmony. The baby at the front is crying, the diva behind you is on her mobile phone and you sit there tediously moving through the traffic slower than walking pace. Then you have 33 sweaty school boys bundle on, block the exit and spend their entire journey throwing balled up paper at each other. On top of all of that you have the drivers. They have a warped sense of power and never smile. They think they own the road and I'm pretty sure they get their driving licence free with a Fisher Price 'My First Car' kit. And yes, we have to pay for these experiences.
My feelings about public transport aside, it is my dealing with bus drivers at work which sends me into a blind rage. It's not the fact that they pull out on me without indicating, block the road when my sirens are blaring so they can continue their drop off and picks, or even flip me the bird because I cause them to have to move out the way for me. It's none of that. It's there bone idle, lazy abuse of the ambulance service every single day.
6am starts are wrong; when you leave the house it is too early for breakfast and I generally ignore the alarm for so long that coffee isn't even an option. We checked over our vehicle, made a coffee and I put my toast in the toaster. JOB! Typical. About half a mile away the update came through:
"Patient on 84 bus in bus station"
I looked frantically around for something to throw in frustration. There was nothing. I suddenly developed fluent 'French' and filled the cab with all sorts of expletives. God knows what my blood pressure raised to but apparently my face was bright red. Admittedly I was pre-judging the job, but having done the same thing countless times I was fully prepared for what was about to happen.
We pulled into the bus station and headed for the bus with its hazard lights on. In the cab was the driver, feet up on the dashboard, newspaper in hand and a COFFEE on the dashboard. As I approached, the door was opened for me. The moron behind the glass pointed upstairs and said:
"Can you take us too him then? Who's up there with our unconscious patient?"
The driver looked extremely put out but I didn't move an inch until he got out of his cab. I gestured for him to go ahead of us. As he started to go up the stairs the (not so fast) response car arrived. A patient unconscious and possibly not breathing gets a full works and highest category of call. The two vehicles have just cost the tax payer £1500. We followed the driver up and sure enough, at the back of the bus in the corner, was our patient, asleep.....
"When you called you said the patient was unconscious, he isn't"
"I thought he was"
The driver just shrugged his shoulders.
"HELLO, wakey wakey, rise and shine!!" I shouted whilst shaking his leg.
His eyes burst open with shock. What a rude awakening! He didn't have a clue what was going on! He had simply fallen asleep on the bus. He had been up all night and had waited for the first bus and had nodded off. Now he needed to go back in the other direction. He hadn't even been drinking! He was very apologetic for 'wasting our time' and headed off on his merry way.
"Don't worry fella, we all get tired, and it wasn't you who called us, apparently it takes an ambulance to say 'wakey wakey'!"
He laughed, I felt smug, my crew mate cringed and the bus driver frowned.
"It's not my job to wake people up, it's not my problem if they fall asleep"
"But it is the ambulances job to get your passenger off your bus?! Such a waste of resources"
"We are not allowed to, for health and safety"
"What?! You're not allowed to talk to people, say 'Hello' or 'Wake up'?!"
"No, they might be violent"
"True, best get a couple of girls to come and do it. Do me a favour; don't say unconscious and not breathing unless they are both of them. If they are unconscious and not breathing you should be looking after them, not reading your paper. Unbelievable"
With that, I grabbed my bag and stomped off.
Every single day these people are wasting time and money through sheer laziness and blatant lying. They don't even try. They look in their mirror and see someone still on the bus and call us. What if someone was actually dying? What if they were having a stroke, a hypo or worse, had gone into cardiac arrest and needed CPR?! Does health and safety mean they cannot help a member of the public, the paying public, when in need? This is not what an 'Emergency Ambulance' is for, this is not how the taxpayer's money should be spent, and most importantly, this is not a reason for me to miss breakfast and go without coffee. Now where in God's name is the nearest Costa?!!!