Originally posted on November 20th, 2010
Today was my second day in Newcastle, UK but the first on the streets with Mark. It is indeed a different world here. the video from the end of today is linked at the end of this post.
We started early this morning and grabbed a coffee at the McDonald’s, then off to standby in a local neighborhood where we pulled out the laptops and discussed the day.
I was able to have a quick interaction with some of the Firefighters assigned to the station with Mark and the Ambulance crews, nothing more than a quick introduction between calls, but it was later in the morning when I learned I don’t have it nearly as good as I thought.
While heading out to the pouring rain, I bumped into the station cleaning crew mopping the floors. The fireman don’t do the big housework. No wonder mark was so surprised when I gloved up and cleaned toilets back home.
Later in the morning still, I met the Station’s French Chef. They don’t cook their own food either. These are two things I think identify the firehouse as a home. It seemed more like a school than a fire house.
But, I have yet to see it through the eyes of one of the firefighters, that comes next week.
As far as impressions on the ambulance, I can say that some of my expectations were met while others missed completely.
For example, Mark can honestly tell people when they don’t need to go, then leave them at home to recover. He can not only let them drink water, but take pain meds. He can cancel the ambulance and drive patients into the clinic.
He also has to wait in the middle of the highway for a second ambulance when he has 2 patients in C-spine precautions. You see, the European style ambulance is abundant on space on the inside, but so much of it is unused. There are two chairs and a cot in the back of these rigs, no room for a second patient. When we had 2, almost 3 patients to board, we had to wait, when most US services have the bench seat that can be used for that second patient.
He also gets to watch the fire brigade going the other way on that highway just looking. They did not respond to the traffic collision. Had I not been there he would have been alone, but I’m sure done fine. The police and highway department arrived and had a cool hand with the traffic, no safety issues or requests to reopen the highway sooner. In fact, where some of the agencies I have worked with would open the lane next to the accident, these folks kept it closed since we were close to it.
It is hard to draw any conclusions from a 12 hour shift in one station, but at first glance I want to have Mark’s training and options when encountering patients who don’t need an ambulance and I think he needs my ambulances to offer a better service to his community.
Deploying rapid response cars within the SFFD may not work after all without the clinical routing options he has at his disposal, not to mention an ENTIRELY different view of what it means to call an ambulance. Each and every person I encountered today listened to Mark explain their situation, condition and options whereas most of my clients demand transport regardless of their condition.
The internet here in my hotel is not included, like their website would like you to believe so I am using Mark’s mobile USB adapter which uploads a single photo in 8 minutes, so the updates from here will be mostly in text, but I’ll film my video and give it to mark to upload at home each night.
And for those of you who think I’m in the bag for socialized care, I favor it because it makes more sense but I will be honest about what I see here. Believe that.