Two police officers on the beat around 2AM, five minutes walk from where I live, saw a gang of youths running away from a bus station. Running to the bus station, they found a eighteen year old boy lying on the ground with serious stab wounds. The ticket the police sent us requested an ambulance “on the extreme hurry up”. Fortunately, one of my vehicle had just finished up at the hospital, about a mile away, as the call came in. It only took them a couple of minutes to reach the bus station, but it was too late. The boy’s injuries were too severe, and although they blued him into hospital, he died.

Six hours later, at the end of my shift, I passed the bus station on my way home. I could see the blue and white police tape, a couple of patrol cars, and that people had already started to lay flowers at the scene. Though this was exactly what I expected to see, it was still a disquieting sight. Sometimes, working in the control room, where you can see nothing and only hear of events second hand, it almost feels like the incidents we deal with aren’t real – like an elaborate training exercise set up to challenge us. Seeing the aftermath, something as simple as an empty crime scene, brings home that every single patient is a real person with a real life to lose.

Published Aug 25, 2008 - 5 Comments and counting

5 Comments on “A genuine call, for once…”
  1. Corrvin Says:

    It’s hard to do your best and fail, but that’s the best you can do sometimes.

    At least he had a better chance.

    I’m sorry.

  2. Dave M Says:

    even with everything in his favour, its sad.

  3. Petrolhead Says:

    I completely agree. Even our regular callers are real people, just desperate for some human contact. It can seem quite hard to accept that when they phone for the 30th time in 12 hours, but they’re human too.

    Sorry about your guy though.

  4. Caroline Says:

    He didn’t die alone though did he? He died in the care of gentle, trained professionals and with someone to hold his hand and that was down to your service…
    Can’t win ‘em all but you can make a difference..

  5. Sean Says:

    This, wouldn’t be by any chance in Walthamstow, would it?
    Wouldn’t, be, by any chance the 26th teenager in London to die, and also the best friend of a friend of mine?

    Nee Naw
    Nee Naw was a blog about life in the London Ambulance Service control room. It was written by Suzi Brent from 2005 to 2010. The blog is no longer being updated, but the archives will remain here.
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