3:41 AM and your tummy hurts. You’re 23, it happens. And when you call from a street corner, it usually means your usual residence is no longer available or no longer anywhere close to you. Oh and no, you can’t take my picture.
23 year old male caller states he is experiencing abdominal pain.
We’re sent no lights and sirens for the clearly appropriately coded call. As we arrived at the street corner a bit before 4 AM we see 2 men, one of them on a cell phone, the other waving good bye to the first one.
I roll down the window and this is what transpires:
Happy Medic “Did you report a medical emergency?”
Weird Guy “Yes, my stomach is about to explode.”
HM “Can you repeat that please?”
WG “My stomach feels like it’s going to explode” he’s speaking very quickly and looking up nad down the street as he talks to avoid eye contact. “I have a heart condition, I’ve had like a lot of heart attacks so I’d like to goto Saint Farthest if they’re accepting ambulances.”
Bingo, he knows the lingo. Which means he’s been with us more than once before.
HM “Where did your friend go?”
WG “Oh that’s my roommate, we came up here to party because our house counselor said we should go out and dance.”
HM “Dance? Now I’m confused. Does your stomach hurt or are you just stuck here with no ride?”
WG “What is your name and badge number? Why are you not wearing a name tag?”
HM “This is called a sweatshirt, I wear it when I’m cold. My badge is on my uniform shirt next to my bed at the fire station.”
Out comes the camera.
HM “You do not have my permission to take my picture or capture video of me.”
WG “Haven’t you heard of the first amendment? the photographer’s first amendment? It says I can take your picture whenever I want and you can’t stop me.”
HM’s partner giggles.
HM “Have you ever heard of HIPPA?”
WG “That privacy law, yes have you?”
HM “I might be wrong but I think you need written permission to videotape a patient encounter. Do you have written permission to be taping this?”
WG “I’m so going to sue you and your department and your city, I’m suing you all I have an attorney you know.”
HM “Do you think your attorney can come and give you a ride, it seems as though your abdominal pain has passed.
WG “Can you take me to the hospital or let me charge my phone?”
HM now notices in the reflection of the ambulance mirror, the camera menu on the screen. He may not actually be taking video. I put the ambulance in gear.
WG “Can you at least tell me where a pay phone is? My phone is dead.”
The first honest thing all night.
HM “Go back a few blocks to the gas station, they have a pay phone.”
WG “Thank you, that’s all I wanted. You should be nicer to people.”
HM “Be safe and please don’t use 911 as your personal taxi service. Have a wonderful day.”
And we drove away. We had a call not a few blocks away less than an hour later and hoped it would be him so when he saw us coming again he’d run away.
Now I’ll be scouring YouTube looking for the angry Paramedics who wouldn’t let a poor man charge his cellphone in the ambulance at 3:41 AM.