The call taker had typed “CHOPPED FINGER OFF” as the diagnosis, which seemed like more than enough reason for me to send an ambulance. Off one sped. The problem was that the call taker then didn’t type anything else, which made me suspicious. Why wasn’t she triaging the call and what had happened at midnight at a residential address to cause an amputated finger?
Picking up the phone to listen in, I soon discovered why the call wasn’t progressing. The poor call taker couldn’t get a word in edgeways as the injured man ranted and raved. For a change, he wasn’t ranting and raving about the ambulance service, he was ranting and raving about his girlfriend and how awful she was. Now, we are taught various techniques for taking control of the call and getting information out of a caller, and I happen to know the call taker in question is usually very good at that, but on this occasion even she was having no luck whatsoever.
I asked the radio operator to warn the ambulance crew not to enter until we said so as there seemed to be a little more to this call than met the eye.
Some minutes later, I pieced together the rants and worked it out. Finger Man had come home from the pub and his girlfriend had (his words) “started give him lip” and “getting on his nerves”. So he had picked up her widescreen TV in an attempt to throw it out the window to teach her a lesson. Unfortunately, widescreen TVs are rather too cumbersome to be easily thrown out of windows by one person and he’d dropped it squarely on his finger. It wasn’t amputated at all but it did sound rather broken. Broken fingers are of course not a good reason for having an ambulance, sent the crew to someone else and left CTA to deal. CTA no doubt recommended a taxi to the hospital and a session of marriage counselling.