Sunday, May 01, 2005


There isn't a great deal of pleasure left in the ambulance game but it's still there to be had in small doses on rare occasions. Some of it comes from a sense of relief when things turn out to be not as bad as one had feared, such as when the suspended patient is actually a cold and stiff corpse, thus freeing us from all those tiresome and pointlessly time-consuming attempts at resuscitation. Job satisfaction, too, is sometimes a source of pleasure; for instance, that special warm feeling derived from watching the police take a patient away kicking and screaming in handcuffs. Also, the news that one of his regular, drunken, foul-smelling irritants has met a sticky end will always bring a smile to the lips of an ambulanceman. So it's not all gloom.

My current favourite pleasure, though, is getting the fire brigade to cut up a police car. This is especially pleasing as the cops have been warned in writing by their superiors about allowing this to happen, so it's getting harder to achieve, but there's always that one who forgets and invites a car crash victim to sit in the front seat of his patrol car while he takes a statement. And then along comes the ambulance crew and, after some gentle and subtle prompting, that person answers in the affirmative to the neck pain question and before you know it, half a dozen big lads with hydraulic shears are merrily snipping away and thirty thousand pounds' worth of motor car is swiftly reduced to a worthless heap of junk.

To see the looks on the faces of those poor policemen as they realise the trouble they're in, with the twisted remnants of their car and a bunch of sniggering firemen in the background - now that is a pleasure about which most people can only dream.