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to think this was ludicrous abuse of the emergency services

(61 Posts)
LifeIsButtercream Tue 26-Jul-11 13:58:31

Ok, Disclaimer - there may have been underlying medical issues but I personally didn't see any evidence of them in this situation.

I was at the park with DD (2), when another two mothers arrived, each with a child I'm guessing 3ish in age. They park their buggies up at a bench a few metres away from me. DD is running about in shorts, trips up and skins her knee, nothing drastic, I'm cleaning and patching her up and comforting her when this happens:

Child of one of the mothers falls over and grazes her face, I think from what I saw it was her bottom lip, the mother picks her up and literally screams into her face, then brings her over to their bench in a slight flap and says to her friend: "Euergh, I can't deal with blood it makes me feel sick", the other agrees and says she can't either, the childs mother hands a tissue to her bleeding daughter and gets up to make a phone call. I pause in patching DD and come over to see if I can help. The other mother waves me away and says that her friend is 'calling someone'.

She was calling......... an AMBULANCE shock

Meanwhile her daughter had stopped crying (she wasn't very distressed) and was calmly sitting with her tissue on her mouth. The mother finishes on the phone and talks to her friend about how she can't bear to look at her child with blood on them and 'the paramedics will deal with her'. She then has a few fags to calm her nerves.

My DD at this point runs off and I have to go after her, but a lot of me wanted to offer to take a look at their daughter (I'm a first aider) and if needed patch her up incase she doesnt really need an ambulance (can you cancel an ambulance?) but I have to catch up with DD.

A few minutes later an ambulance arrives and ferries both mothers and their children away.

AIBU in thinking this wasn't really an ambulance-requiring situation? I've never had to call one so I don't know, and for all I know there could be medical conditions that would make a small cut into a dangerous situation, but it didn't seem that way!

Oh, and yes, I know I should mind my own business......

CombineArvester Tue 26-Jul-11 14:02:56

I find it very difficult to believe that an ambulance took them away if there was no need for further treatment...they would normally just clean a superficial injury up at the scene unless there was a need for a doc e.g. for tetanus jab, if child had been concussed, if there was a need for a stitch...could there have been a massive hole in the lip that you couldn't see? Honestly they hardly ever take you into hospital unless there is a need to be seen by a doc.

They wouldn't normally have taken both mums and children ime either, just the parent of the injured child, it sounds very unusual.

LifeIsButtercream Tue 26-Jul-11 14:06:08

It does sound unusual, I mean I don't have much experience with ambulance protocol but it did seem a little unusual. According to my mum (ex-nurse manager) if an ambulance is called then they are obliged to take the injured person to hospital provided they consent to going, thats all I know.

From what I could see when I approached them it was a tiny pin-prick of a cut, and was not bleeding heavily.

Cheria Tue 26-Jul-11 14:09:56

YANBU - not only for the abuse of services and badly needed resources, but I would also be hmm at the result of her actions on her child. Panicking over a little cut is damaging in the long term and her fears will transfer on to her child etc etc etc.

altinkum Tue 26-Jul-11 14:13:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlpinePony Tue 26-Jul-11 14:14:54


Absolutely pathetic, but then hardly surprising given the number of people who scream "CALL NHS DIRECT" when someone's run out of tampons. hmm

Talk about lack of brain cells.

benne81 Tue 26-Jul-11 14:15:00

The most blatant abuse of ambulance service story that I heard (I used to work in A&E so we had alot of these stories) was a couple who called an ambulance because a condom got stuck during intercourse and they called an ambulance!! to make it worse the boyfriend then drove in the car all the way behind the ambulance to the hospital and then couldn't understand why the ambulance team was annoyed with them!! People have no understanding about the abuse of the ambulance/ A&E services and often just use it as a taxi service despite it costing £400 per ambulance call out. In australia if it isn't deemed an emergency they are charged - not that I'm particularly advocating that option though.

octopusinabox Tue 26-Jul-11 14:15:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whatsallthehullaballoo Tue 26-Jul-11 14:15:29

YANBU - but surely the operator on the 999 call would have asked about the injury and ascertained if it warranted an ambulance.

I cannot even think this is plausible but unfortunately that doesn't mean it wouldn't happen. angry

octopusinabox Tue 26-Jul-11 14:16:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mum0ftw0 Tue 26-Jul-11 14:17:46

the child might have had an injury that needed stiches that you didn't see.
Paramedics do asses whether hospitalisation is required first, in my exerience.

Other than that; jeez. Were they chavs?

aliceliddell Tue 26-Jul-11 14:19:50

Maybe the paramedics thought a few hours waiting in a busy, overworked A&E unit might be educational? wink

AlpinePony Tue 26-Jul-11 14:20:12

"given the number of people who scream "CALL NHS DIRECT" when someone's run out of tampons"
who does that? What are they hoping to achieve by calling them? How odd."

I'd like to say it's a metaphor. I actually meant the number of idiots on MN who scream "call nhs direct" for the most imbecilic problems.

I remember reading a list of reasons people called an ambulance, one of them was in fact because they'd run out of tampons, another was because they couldn't find the key to the medicine cabinet (medication not actually required).

Is that odd enough for you?

Sirzy Tue 26-Jul-11 14:21:52

They can just treat on site without taking to a and e

If there is no more that is madness and it is no wonder the system is so stretched. I recently had to wait 15 mins with a 20 month old struggling to breath because they were so busy. Yet people feel the need to call for a bump in the park!


activate Tue 26-Jul-11 14:22:17

the problem is if a child falls over they can't rule out head injury and I wouldn't put it past some idiots to say they bumped their head

woman should be charged

CombineArvester Tue 26-Jul-11 14:22:43

No they aren't obliged to take the injured person to hospital at all. And I really can't believe they took the other mum and child, are you sure they got in too?

I can only think that there must've been some injury not visible to you or the mum lied to them and said child had injured head, they are very careful with head injuries.

There are unfortunately many idiots who misuse the ambulance service. I suspect they are the same idiots who, when the ambulance was called for me when I was in very premature labour and had a partial placental abruption, came in to have a go at the ambulance driver for blocking the road.

Mandy2003 Tue 26-Jul-11 14:23:20

I was once at A&E with my toddler DS who had fallen in the park (tooth had gone through his lip so probably justified).

This was in the days before a paramedic in a car or on a motorbike attends first BTW, and I observed a doctor trying to move on a family that was there, saying over and over again (no interpreter available) "Your child has a COLD. No, you cannot have an ambulance to go home in. Yes I know you got one to come here..."

This is the sort of abuse we need to stamp out IMO.

Solo Tue 26-Jul-11 14:24:14

Blimey! I felt guilty waiting in the minor injuries unit for an ambulance to take Ds and his appendicitis to an A&E hospital. They wouldn't let me take him by car and we had to wait about 31/2 hours for one.

Some people need to get a grip IMO. What a waste of money. It costs huge amounts of money for each ambulance call out.

Sarsaparilllla Tue 26-Jul-11 14:35:10

I've seen paramedics treat at the scene and then leave as well, they definitely don't have to take someone in

And I also find it hard to believe they took the other parent and child too - I had to travel behind an ambulance in a car once because only one person plus the injoured person can travel in the ambulance (no more seats so wouldn't be strapped in so no more people allowed)

Seems very odd to me

gallicgirl Tue 26-Jul-11 14:48:03

Do you think rather than calling 999, she may have called a mate who happened to be a paramedic and gave them a lift home?

Sounds a bit weird and definitely an abuse of emergency services unless, like you say there was some underlying cause. I'd have expected the paramedic to patch up the child and then leave. Wonder if they said the child had bumped her head too?

Sidge Tue 26-Jul-11 14:48:08

Many people abuse all services, including the ambulance service, A&E and primary care.

They have no common sense whatsoever.

this is a great blog and well worth a read! Blog of a London Ambulance Service paramedic

A1980 Tue 26-Jul-11 23:33:06


The best indicator was the childs behaviour. She had stopped crying and was not distressed. I would have looked at her myself (had I been the mum) and if i'd been concerned I may have taken her to a minor injuires unit or called my GP surgery to see if the practice nurse can clean it up and have a look. But an ambulance or A&E is taking the piss.

A few days ago I got off my train to see a person collpase and start having (what looked like) an epileptic fit. Thankfully a couple of people with medical training had been on the train and rushed over. I think one of them was a doctor on his way to work. He put the person on her side and supported her head. That poor person had fallen on to baggage trolleys on the way down and had blood running from her mouth as I think she may have bitten her tongue. That's the sort of situation I would call an ambulance in. Could have a head injury from hitting the trolleys or the ground, utter stranger so don't know what's wrong with her. But your own child falling over and grazing her face.....she ought to have been charged for that ambulance.

SiamoFottuti Tue 26-Jul-11 23:40:13

Here you have to pay 110€ to go to A&E. Surprisingly enough people tend not to go when there isn't anything actually wrong with them.
Perhaps you should try that.

Poweredbypepsi Tue 26-Jul-11 23:41:33

Well I feel a bit better having called an ambulance last week for my 11 month old. Choked on her food, after the normal across your lap back slapping etc still nothing she was going blue dh called ambulance. Of course a couple of minutes before the ambulance got there she managed to cough up a load of blood and the offending food so by the time they arrived was upset and covered in sick but otherwise actually breathing again. I keep expecting a letter telling us how stupid we are. They did take us to hospital but this was because she was dribbling so much I think (she refused to swallow for quite a while afterwards I think she had hurt her throat). I was pretty red faced about the ambulance even though I actually thought she was dying at the time.

Having said that I have never called an ambulance before and certainly wouldn't about a graze on the face.

bubblesincoffee Tue 26-Jul-11 23:50:29

I agree that they wouldn't normally take someone to the hospital for something like this, but you don't know what they said to the paramedics. She was over dramatic with you, she was bound to be over dramatic with them.

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