Three times a month I do a pilgrimage to a rural station to do overtime, this shift was one of those. I found my Rapid Response Vehicle or RRV (A fast response car utilised to rapidly attend incidents to provide initial treatment until a Double Crewed Ambulance or DCA could turn up, or to assess a patient that may not require an ambulance and update control with the clinical situation) and placed my kit in the back, including my iPad in case I could sit on standby and watch a bit of Netflix….
Once my vehicle was checked and I was logged on I returned to the crew room. I was immediately sent on standby. Yes!. I happily drove to my allocated standby point, pulled out my iPad and settled down for the latest episode of The Crown.
Three hours later, the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) blinked to life. “Return to Base”. Now this I didn’t want. My reheat-able curry was not ideal at 10am. I walked into the crew room, and found a seat. The other day crew were here with their student having their meal break (most had ready meals that you wouldn’t usually have at this time in the morning).
Suddenly, my radio blared to life. I answered. “RRV1”.
“RRV1, we are dispatching you to a 26 year old male in cardiac arrest. Found hanging from a tree. Police are on scene and CPR is in progress. We have another crew running but your closest”.
The other crew looked over. The Paramedic then offered me his student to take to this job – another pair of hands would be useful.
Whilst driving to the job I was asking the student questions about cardiac arrest management and advanced life support. This is what I love about mentoring, through preparing the student I also get a chance to recap it myself. We arrived on scene and the student and I felt prepared.
We quickly unloaded all of our kit and went to the patient. As we walked through the wooded path I couldn’t help but think about how lucky this patient was to have been found so quickly. Then we saw them.
The patient was laying face up with under a tree with a police community support officer trying her hardest to stay composed whilst doing CPR. I made her continue. Afterwards, we sat together whilst she cried and told me how her son was the same age.
We tried our hardest, HEMS attended and the doctor decided that it was not a viable arrest.
I couldn’t help but notice an unsent message on his phone that was still lit up on the floor next to him.
“I’m waiting in the tree for you, I need you to come and find me. I need help.”
The message was unsent. The branch he was standing on had snapped.
He’d committed suicide. Accidentally.
He wanted help.