We watched from the warmth of the cab; sipping our hot drinks, as the drama unfolded.
“Do you know what would go great with this?” My crewmate said.
“What’s that?” I asked, intrigued.
He switched to Classic FM.
We surveyed the scene unfolding in front of us. There; in time with the dramatic chorus of string instruments on the radio, was a hail of bricks coming down from above onto the street below.
It was around 2 in the morning. We had been sent to support the police with one of their customers. A 19 year old male who was currently involved in a stand off with them. He wasn’t pleased that he had breached a restraining order by visiting his girlfriend; whom, he had recently placed into surgery for facial reconstruction.
When the police arrived they had been spotted quickly. The patient had then chosen to climb out on some scaffolding and unleash all sorts of building materials down on anyone; or anything, that was close enough to be within firing range.
We watched; as the orchestra reached its crescendo, the patient flung more rubble at the officers underneath. It struck one of the shields as the officer underneath braced himself.
Two hours later, we were still there. It was now beginning to turn into dawn.
“This has to be over soon” My crewmate sighed. An hour and a half before that we had turned Classic FM off. It wasn’t helping us stay awake.
We both watched as the police seemed to be moving around a lot more. I thought that they were probably getting into position.
Suddenly there seemed to be a bit more action. I could see a group of officers on the roof with the gentleman. Slowly, they moved in formation. Shield raised. I could see one of the officers arms sticking out of the side with a yellow object in hand. A taser. The patient was stood in the middle of the roof, no where near any danger if they decided to taser him. I saw him reach for a slate to throw.
“TASER, TASER, TASER” I heard.
I watched as the male stiffened. Body rigid, he fell forward.
“Kind of like a tree in a forest” My crewmate remarked. I had to agree.
There was a knock on the window on my crewmates side. He wound it down. A police officer stood there.
“Any chance you can take the probes out please?” He said, grinning. We agreed. We both got out of the cab and into the back – getting the equipment ready for this task – some gauze, a dressing pad and some micropore tape.
We could hear the patient before we could see him.
“I cant believe you tasered me!” He was shouting. I could believe it.
He walked towards us. Arms behind his back, cuffed. On his rubble covered t-shirt there were two probes. Towards the end of them was some blood where they were embedded.
“You can cut it off mate” The patient grumbled, he was talking about his t-shirt.
I grabbed my shears and made light work of it. Exposing the patients chest I could see the barb embedded just below his left nipple and slightly above his belly button. I quickly explained that the tasers had barbed ends. The only way to get this out was a quick pull – and that it may hurt but I would be as quick as I can. The patient nodded and clenched his teeth.
I went for the one near the nipple first. Taking my left hand I made a V around the barb to anchor the patient down. Grabbed it with my right – the patient flinched.
“Ok, on the count of three..” I said.
“One” and I pulled. There was an audible pop as the barb came out intact. The patient squealed. I dressed the wound, and then moved onto the next.
“Two” I said, and did the same again.
We then thoroughly assessed the patient. He had fallen hard so had some bruising and abrasions. However, otherwise had got off lightly. The patient and police left and we started to tidy the back of the ambulance.
Just as we were about to leave there was another knock on my crewmates window. It was the same officer who had knocked the first time. This time, he was stony faced.
“He has got chest pain” He said and pointed to his body worn camera – which was flashing. Recording. He then mouthed “Incarceritis”
Incarceritis is a term used by police and some medical staff. Essentially it means a condition that has suddenly started when the patient is presented with the prospect of time in a police or prison cell. Usually, their symptoms would spontaneously resolve just before a blood test or diagnostic procedure was carried out.
The patient was brought back in. We reassessed him. When we got to the stage where we wanted to do an ECG he refused.
“No way mate, not after pulling those out my chest. Those sticky dots are going nowhere near me” He barked at me.
I explained that we needed to do an ECG to see if there was anything going on with his heart. Again, he refused.
I treated him for cardiac chest pain. Gave him Aspirin, GTN spray and paracetamol to relieve the pain. We all sat in silence the rest of the way.
When we arrived at the hospital I handed over to the doctor in charge of ambulance streaming – the triage area where ambulance crews hand over. I explained the situation. The doctor looked less than impressed.
The last I heard the patient had managed to spend the night in hospital under “observation” as he was refusing to allow an ECG or repeat bloods to be done. He was discharged the next day after his pain resolved.
I couldn’t help but think that the police that initially tasered him were probably now regretting this, as they had spent the night with the patient as he was still in custody. In essence, the patient had won.